Termite Detection Using Modern Technology


One of the most hated pests around is the termite. No, it doesn’t bite nor does it contaminate food items. Termites, however, can destroy properties and cause damages that require hundreds to thousands of dollars to fix. Because of the devastation that termites can bring about, it’s important to eliminate them once an infestation is detected. But the problem is that termite detection is challenging, and, sometimes, homeowners aren’t even aware that their houses are already being infested by termites until it’s too late.

Termite Detection Using Thermal Imaging Technology

Detecting termites is not easy. In the past, people used drastic measures to determine where termite colonies are located. Some used the common “screwdriver tap” method, which sometimes does not provide adequate information for pest control experts. Hence, many of them resort to drilling holes into walls. There are also some who even yank walls apart just to find out where the termites are. One can only imagine the damage these methods bring.

Luckily, there are now modern gadgets used for termite detection. One technology used is thermal imaging. Thermal sensors, heat sensors or infrared sensors are more or less the same, and they all fall under this category. So, how can thermal imaging devices detect cold-blooded termites? Termites have bacteria or microorganisms in their stomachs that help them to digest cellulose from wood and other organic matter. The organisms in a termite’s gut and the chemical changes that take place during digestion all produce a certain amount of heat, which is what the thermal gadgets detect.

Using thermal technology is really beneficial because it is fairly safe and non-destructive. It’s also quite accurate in locating active termite colonies by spotting and revealing heat patterns. Termites typically create a complex network of tunnels. Some of these are very active, which are the areas known as “hot spots” or “hot regions.” Other tunnel systems are seldom used, if at all. These abandoned tunnels are known as “cold spots.”

Other Modern Termite Detection Tools

Moisture Meters and Radars

In addition to thermal sensors, two other modern tools often used to find termites are: moisture meters and radars. Termites prefer moist environments because this makes wood softer; thus, easier to chew. A moisture meter helps in determining high risk areas because this identifies places inside a structure that has a high level of moisture. As for radars, these are actually pretty handy. Radars can detect termites through dry wall, concrete, timber, plastic, and many other materials. These tools can also easily differentiate between ants and termites. So, this eliminates the need to pull apart walls just to confirm if there really is a termite infestation.

Wireless Smart Probe (WiSPr)

This is a cool new tool that can perceive the sound of termites chewing through wood. The device is a very small acoustic sensor that’s attached to wood. When it “hears” termites, it sends an alert to the central monitoring system. With the use of GPS technology, the alert or notification also contains information regarding the exact location of the termites. The technology is not yet widely available today, but it will be in a year or so.

  • Photo courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti at

Claire Pritchard writes for Admiral Pest Control in Bellflower California. The company specializes in ant, bed bug, termite, roach, as well as rodent control.

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