Termite Infestation Probability Zones (TIP Zones) are used to determine whether inspection or prevention is required for protecting homes against termites.
The Termite Infestation Map was developed by the US Forest Service years ago and was updated in the 1980s. The map is a depiction of the US Forest Service scientists’ estimate of various termite zones based upon the scientific studies conducted by the Forest Service. This is for subterranean termites only.
The original map was published as part of the US Government’s efforts to inform homeowners as to the dangers of termites and the signs of infestation. The publication used as called Home and Garden Bulletin 64, originally published in 1960, revised throughout the years with the 1994. The approximate termite hazards were listed as Region I: Very Heavy; Region II: Moderate to Heavy; Region III: Slight to Moderate; and Region IV: None to slight. Early maps did not include Hawaii and Alaska. Currently, Hawaii is in Region I and Alaska is in Region IV.
The map has not only been used in the publication but was used to establish Termite Infestation Probability Zones (TIP Zones). The US Department of Housing and Urban Development uses the TIP Zones to determine the risk and actions necessary as a requirement for guaranteeing mortgages. Conventional mortgage lenders, called mortgagees, also use the TIP Zones as their underwriting standards are usually similar to HUD’s.
The TIP Zones first noted by the US Forest Service have become an important part of determining whether inspection and prevention are underwriting requirements for mortgage loans. Finally, the International Code Council uses TIP Zones to determine building code requirements for termite prevention. The ICC’s International Residential Code (IRC) stipulates that code officials must use the map to determine building code requirements for subterranean termite prevention.