The risk of termite infestations in new Minnesota homes has been so slight that builders are exempt from federal rules requiring inspections and treatment. But that’s about to change.
New guidelines from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the first time has deemed the southern half of the state at “slight to moderate risk” for subterranean termites, one of the most damaging species.
The designation means new homes built after September will have to follow HUD rules for protecting them against termite infestation. Acceptable methods include treating soil and wood or installing baiting systems.
Buyers of unprotected homes will be unable to qualify for government-backed mortgages, so despite builder protests that the wood-eating bugs are not an issue in Minnesota, they will have to comply with the code.
One Twin Cities exterminator called the new requirement “ridiculous overkill,” telling Star Tribune he is “a little embarrassed… tak[ing] someone’s money for preventing a pest that isn’t there.”
Until now, Minnesota builders had no termite inspection requirement unless they encountered a problem with the pests.