As with any industry, the termite control trade has developed a specialized set of tools and tricks to assist members of the profession in what they do. For instance, many termite extermination specialists now use listening devices for their termite inspections. These listening devices are intended to amplify sounds within the walls or wooden parts of a structure, revealing the distinctive ticks and “crackling” noises experts usually associate with termites eating away at wooden walls.

Not all examples of termite technology have to come in strictly inorganic/machine form, of course. There are also relatively new developments that have permitted canine trainers to hone their pets’ skills at detecting termites through wood, with the canines sniffing out the scent of as few as two termites inside a wooden column. This is actually a very valuable piece of animal technology that governments, such as the South Korean one, have begun to invest in for purposes of preservation and care for historic monuments and heritage sites that may be at risk from termite infestations. The dogs are trained to point out areas where termites are located to speed up what would otherwise be a very long, painstaking process even for a human with listening devices for termite detection.

There are also moisture meters. These instruments measure how moist or dry a certain piece of wood or material is, and this can help termite control experts determine just how susceptible it is to the specific termites they are looking for. Most termites, for instance, require a degree of moisture in wood and soil to keep their bodies healthy, because they have soft shells. High moisture readings also tend to attract termite workers, who often search for the two primary needs of a colony—water and wood, that is—in tandem. Hence, if you have a wall in your house that happens to be made of wood and is suffering from a plumbing leak’s trickle, moisture meters can help you find out that vulnerable spot even before you notice the leak by yourself.

A more costly version of moisture meters would be infrared imaging. Infrared imaging devices permit a view through opaque structures that describes how moist they are by means of variations in the image colors. Infrared cameras, however, are relatively rare even among bigger companies in the industry. It is not simply that they happen to be quite expensive—it is also that they can be complex and relatively difficult to operate, requiring specialized training and experience for the job. Even so, they are among the most advanced of termite control devices, and are used by some of the bigger, more high-technology companies for their most important, most demanding clients.

Written by Alan Ferguson

Alan Ferguson

Hello! My name is Alan Ferguson and I am an expert on the elimination of termites. He graduated in Harvard Business School, and now I care about people whose homes are attacked by pests.