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Can Infrared Cameras Be Used To Identify Termites?

Posted by Mr. Hachis | On: Aug 25 2010

There is an exciting new technology that has come about in the world of termite infestation that involves infrared cameras and termite identification. The invention currently has a patent pending, but it is causing a real buzz in the world of pest control. It’s amazing that a connection was not made earlier between using infrared cameras and termite identification. Infrared cameras have been around for quite some time, so when this new invention was brought onto the market, many pest control companies began embracing the technology as a legitimate way to find termite infestation and combat the problem before it gets out of control.

Termites are extremely destructive to wood material. Termites attack and destroy wood almost everywhere in the world, with the exception of climate zones that experience hard freezing. There are close to fifty species of termites in the United States, the majority of losses to wood material being caused by subterranean species. It is difficult to put a dollar amount estimate on termite damage. However, renowned termite scientist Dr. Nan Yao Su at the University of Florida has estimated that the total annual cost of termite control and damage repair for the United States alone was $11 billion in 1999.

When trying to determine if there is a termite infestation in a structure, it can be a bit difficult. Only about thirty percent of wood in a structure is visible. Since termites like dark, damp places, they are likely lurking is parts of the structure that are not easily seen. Therefore, there needs to be another method of detection which involves tapping the surface of the wood while listening for a characteristic sound indicative of an underlying gallery void. When a suspected area is located, the inspector applies a sharp probe, such as a screwdriver, to break the wood surface and locate wood galleries and live termites.

This method has significant disadvantages. The confirmation of an active infestation requires some localized damage to the wood. Also, when termites are exposed in this manner, the destruction induces termites to retreat from the disturbed area and may reduce the effectiveness of a subsequent localized treatment. For quite some time now, pest control experts have been longing for a less invasive way to find termites in a structure which is why it only makes sense to connect infrared cameras and termite identification.

Infrared cameras seek out areas of heat to identify the presence of various objects making termite identification easier and more effective. Since termites are living, breathing organisms, they do have a certain amount of heat within their bodies. You will never have just one termite in one area; you will have hundreds, so the heat they generate as a group is easily visible with an infrared camera. The inspector simply inserts a small tube with a camera on the end of it into any small area to see if they can detect excessive areas of heat thus indicating a termite infestation.

Infrared cameras and termite identification have taken the pest control field to new heights and have opened up all sorts of new doors in the field of termite treatments.

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