A termite inspection device that is growing increasingly popular these days is the listening device, which his used to detect both termites and carpenter ants within the walls. Termites and carpenter ants both attack the wood in homes or human structures to feed on the cellulose, and when they take apart wood for consumption, they do it bit by bit, fibre by fibre. While these insects are so small that we cannot hear the sounds they produce during their feeding, audio enhancement devices such as the ones used by termite control companies can help to magnify or enhance the sound coming from the insects’ feeding, enough for human ears to hear the sound through a pair of headphones or earphones.

The sound of termites feasting on wood has been described by termite inspectors as being akin to the sound of popcorn in a microwave a metre or two away from the listener. This is the sound of termites chewing into wood, cracking into it with their powerful jaws and destructive appetites. When the specialist performing the termite inspection hears that sound, he usually follows up with a deeper probe to confirm that termites are indeed inside the pinpointed location.

Most termite control companies, specifically the smaller, independent ones, make use of non-industry-specific listening devices for their inspections. An example would be a stethoscope of the type used by medical professionals. A lot of termite inspectors make do with this tool for their listening device and allege that the device is actually quite accurate despite the fact that it was not crafted for the purpose of termite detection.

Another example of a device made for another industry and purpose but also used as a termite listening device would be the listening device used often by people in the automotive repair and parts industry to test the sound of a vehicle’s inner workings. A fair number of termite extermination technicians use such gadgets and even swear on their efficacy and sensitivity in noise detection.

There are more specific tools, however. One example would be the instruments produced by Acoustic Emission Consulting, which is a company that specializes in audio magnification and enhancement. These are very sensitive and are said to be “tuned in” to the frequencies most likely to pick up termite and insect noises from behind wood or dry wall, and usually cost a fair bit of money.

Some termite inspection experts insist that proper termite control and detection cannot be achieved with devices that are not actually made especially for the purpose. However, others insist that other devices can serve the same purpose just as well, alleging that the high prices for the more specialised tools are not only unreasonable but unnecessary.

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.