NPMA-33 form/carpenter ants question

Ok so I have some questions. I did a pest inspection on Monday and found carpenter ants in a stump next to the deck (approx 1ft away from the deck). I’m in PA where we are required to get a pest application license to sign the NPMA-33 (despite it having nothing to do with pesticide application), which I have. I was called today by a pest control guy who told me 1) that I am not supposed to put any pest infestation that is not in the structure itself on the form. I mean after reading the form it does say structure so I guess this makes sense. Is this everyone else’s experience? We don’t put down pests that are not within the structure on the form? If this is the case I want to be doing it right. And do we completely ignore the pests that are outside of the structure? Should I be just telling my clients verbally they are there? Should I be putting it in the home inspection and not the NPMA-33? Or not at all?

Secondly, (and this is why I really question his information) he told me that there was no way there were carpenter ants in that stump because carpenter ants don’t infest wet, rotten, decayed moist wood. Everything that I have read, been taught and experienced is completely contrary to that and says that carpenter ants infest in moist, soft, wood and stumps. And despite me seeing live carpenter ants he would debate that they weren’t actually there, I do have a picture although it is hard to see the ant but larvae and frass can be seen. He is a self-proclaimed “science guy” and kept spouting his years of experience to me and he was just trying to help. I’m so confused right now. If I am wrong fine, I want to be doing it right. But if I’m not wrong I don’t want to question that I am.

I guess my question is two-part. Do we not put down WDI on an NPMA 33 that are not in the structure even though they are on the property? And is the guy completely cracked on the science and habitat of carpenter ants? Thanks everyone.


Carpenter ants are associated with wet or rotting wood.
In Florida they are not defined as a wood destroying organism to report.
Most states are different.
Either way, the “pest” must be in, on, around or underneath the structure.
So… it is your call if you want to include it or not.

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I agree with Marc, My main experience around WDI is in New York where I ran also a full service pest and termite control company for nearly10 years or so. My stance is that if you have an infestation and evidence on the property, then it is relevant for anyone with an interest in the property and will need to be addressed regardless of others that prefer to be ignorant or a blind inspector. The reason for the inspection is to protect someone with an interest in the property and therefore whether it is current owner, lender, future owner, they all have you there so that they can be diligent or as part of their risk assessment. Form NPMA33 has these standard obstructions which certainly imply that exterior grounds are relevant… items in bold can easily and are on the grounds and or exterior of the structure

  1. Fixed ceiling
  2. Suspended ceiling
  3. Fixed wall covering
  4. Floor covering
  5. Insulation
  6. Cabinets or shelving
    7. Stored items
  7. Furnishings
  8. Appliances
  9. No access or entry
    11. Limited access
  10. No access beneath
  11. Only visual access
  12. Cluttered condition
    15. Standing water
    16. Dense vegetation
    17. Exterior siding
    18. Window well covers
    19. Wood pile
    20. Snow
  13. Unsafe conditions
  14. Rigid foam board
  15. Synthetic stucco
  16. Duct work, plumbing,
    and/or wiring

and those are preset options and the inspector can take it further and say; no access beneath deck, no access garage, no access shed… didnt meant to ramble :slight_smile:

**Treatment Recommended

Hello Steve,

I also have the pest application license here in PA. If you remember when taking your core 12 test Carpenter Ants were included on that test. So in my opinion its a WDO. I always include carpenter ants on my report. Yes it may have only been a stump this time. What if it had been on a huge tree near the structure that the ants were infesting? Eventfully that tree will fall if not treated in my opinion. Then what if it falls on the home? I know there are a lot of what ifs in my thinking, but I don’t take any chances and include them there. I usually use a 25 ft rule. If I find any WDO within that length from the structure, I report it.

I wouldn’t let Mr. Science Guy rattle your chain. You saw Carpenter Ants, took pictures for proof, which I always do too, and reported what you saw, and recommended treatment. Now the liability is no longer on you. Now Mr. Science Guy has the liability. If he wants to contradict you so be it.

I had a contractor call me up once and question me on my report. He spewed his “expertise” to me for a good half an hour. Probably 25 minutes longer then it needed to be, but I had time and wanted to have some fun. He wanted to clarify a few things in my report that he felt was not necessary to report. One was a shutoff for a natural gas fired fireplace. There was none to be found except in the basement where the line branched off the main line. Clearly not in sight or even close enough to be considered a proper shut off point. Also there was a natural gas fired furnace in the attic. It did not have a shut off either. He “educated” me that adding fittings would be more ways for leaks to occur. I said that may be true but if done properly leaks shouldn’t occur. I also told him have a contractor sign off that its fine just the way it is. He also wanted to let me know that HI don’t know what they are talking about. His for example was a HI wrote up windows in the basement didn’t open and when he went to check on said windows he had no problem. So right away all HI are stupid. Anyways, I could go on about this guy, but I am sure we all have had a call from someone who feels the need to educate us. He picked the wrong HI to call about these issues. I laughed at him and hung up. He was a friend of the woman who lived there that just happen to be getting divorced. In my head I made up a story that he was probably the reason for it. LOL

You do you and write something up if you feel it needs to be. I have a section in my HI software that I can also report and WDI, I always report it there as well with the pictures I took. Don’t allow Mr. Science guy to ruin your day or even make you second guess yourself. At the end of the day the liability falls on you until you report for it to be evaluated by another professional. I would rather deal with a “Mr. Science Guy” than an angry client.


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So I was told to put in the box what was inspected, so if you put ‘Single family dwelling, detached garage and stump near deck’ you should be good

Thanks fellas. I just needed a little reassurance being the new guy on the block. All of you just reinforced my decisions, exactly what I needed.


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