Our home is over 30 years old and we have never seen any evidence of Powderpost Beetles. We are considering renewing a Powderpost Beetle service contract (covers inspection and retreatment) that we have had for years but wonder if it makes sense to do so. With the information you provide and the products now available, it sounds like we could do this ourselves and save $150 + per year. Could you provide any advice for us? Thank you.
In this day and age, it’s smart to take a close look at recurring contracts and service agreements. I believe the best way to view these costs is to compare them to other forms of “insurance”. For some people, they can’t get enough insurance. It buys them peace of mind and with it a comfort making the cost worth the price. But still the question must be asked: do I really need this extra protection?
When it comes to pest control contracts, the decision making process can get extra cloudy and mired with uncertainty. Just what is the relative risk for any one pest? Wood destroying insects like termites, carpenter ants and powderpost beetles are all capable of doing damage in most any home. This damage can many times go unnoticed enabling it to accumulate in size. For this reason many service companies offer long term contracts. These contracts offer a way to avoid costly repairs should a problem reappear. In theory they should also help to catch problems sooner rather than later since you will have a “fresh” set of eyes inspecting the property from year to year if you keep the contract current. If the inspection is being done by a knowledgeable expert, they can many times identify structural issues which can be fixed before they lead to further problems. Since a good home inspection can cost several hundred dollars, it would seem as though the $150.00 annual renewal you listed above is well worth the cost.
So in summary, a good starting point to this decision can stem from the annual inspection itself. If you feel you are getting a good look over and are comfortable with the “protection” your contract provides, it may be worth keeping it current. This would certainly be true if you plan on selling the house in the coming months or if there is a “history” of powderpost beetle problems in the home. But as explained in our POWDERPOST BEETLE ARTICLE, most treatments will last several years and over this time knock out existing populations making it less likely to have another problem surface. And if the home has been pest free for 5 years or more and you don’t plan on selling it for 3 or more years, clearly the “present value” of the contract will be notably less and maybe not worth the $150.00. Like other forms of insurance, many of us will usually fall on one side of the coverage: either we’ll take full advantage of it getting more than our money’s worth or we’ll pay the premium year after year and never have one bad thing happen. The trick is knowing which policies to keep current and which to let expire without cause for alarm. If you ever figure out how to make this judgement, please let me know! But for now, my advise is to go with your instincts. Think it over and weigh both options carefully. And if you have further questions or concerns, give us a call on our toll free 1-800-877-7290 for some technical assistance.