DTY Termite Management
See The Heat To Ensure Pest Defeat
How to use infrared technology to boost your termite business


Infrared (in Latin, infra means below) is beyond the visible wavelengths of light at the red end of the spectrum. Pest management professionals (PMPs) are experts at identifying pest species and their requirements for water, food, shelter, and space. Another critical biological need of all pest species can be exceptionally helpful pursuant to inspection-based structural location and precision treatment of an infestation.

PMPs employ a number of tools to practice the first two essential steps of the integrated pest management (IPM) cycle, inspection and pest identification. A few of these tools include the conventional bright flashlight, probing/tapping device, binoculars, and a moisture meter. In recent years, more advanced applied technologies have become available, including:

  • listening devices of various sensitivities,
  • gas sniffers of various sensitivities,
  • hygrometers,
  • microwave devices,
  • scopes with lighting mechanisms (even fiber optics) to investigate inaccessible areas,
  • video cameras with scopes to investigate inaccessible areas, and
  • termite sniffing canines.

To see the heat, rapid advances in infrared technology have provided increasingly smaller, more sensitive and less expensive infrared cameras. Infrared cameras can now be attached to a smartphone and utilized via an app. Infrared technology is used to see the heat or detect and precisely locate subterranean termite colonies within structures.

High humidity levels and temperatures of 75°F to 95°F are required by colonial subterranean termites. Along with solar radiation, subterranean termites translocate moisture, which absorbs and re-emits heat. They also generate heat through the metabolic activity of thousands of individual termites and fungi. Differential temperatures between the termite colony and the external structural environment allow thermal cameras to contrast termite colony locations.

Infrared cameras are engineered based on the fact that all objects emit infrared radiation or heat. Infrared cameras produce images and video based on the heat emitted by an object, wheras ordinary cameras produce images based on light reflected off objects. Infrared cameras detect radiation within roughly 7,000 to 14,000 nm.

Similar to visible light, infrared radiation can be collected by an optical device and converted into an electronic signal. The signal can be converted into a video signal on a camera screen with a particular contrasting gray scale or color pallet to differentiate temperature levels. Thermal cameras generate images based on temperature differences or emissivity of the viewed area.

Emissivity is a measure of a material’s ability to absorb and emit infrared radiation. Emissivity, or the amount of infrared radiation emitted by an object, is proportional to the temperature of the object and the material properties of the object.

Like any advanced, applied technology, training is essential to properly operate an infrared camera. Diagnostic image interpretation is needed for report documentation. Misinterpretation of images may result in liability exposure. There are numerous sources for infrared camera training.

PMPs now integrate conventional wood-destroying insects and organisms (WDI /WDO) inspection techniques with thermal imaging; a non-invasive means to precisely locate termite colonies within structures. Seeing the heat location allows for the precise application of professional termiticide product formulations, precision deployment of monitoring systems, and ensures the effectiveness of ongoing treatment interventions.

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