New Orleans Pest Control Professionals Were The First To Use Thermal Imaging Cameras To Detect Termites In Homes

A large number of pest control products are available to consumers in retail stores, but the efficacy of many of these products is often called into question. Some of the most dubious pest control products include devices that repel insect pests with high frequency sounds, devices that emit toxic “fog,” citronella candles, and bug zappers. Ambitious efforts have been made to develop termite detection devices that use X-ray, ultrasound and thermal imaging to view termite activity through walls, but visual inspections conducted by trained pest control professionals remain the norm. However, during the late 1990s, a former employee of the New Orleans Termite and Pest Control Board, Jack Leonard, introduced infrared thermography as a method of termite-detection in structures.

While using an infrared camera to take images in buildings in New Orleans, Leonard noticed certain indoor areas were significantly cooler than all other areas. As it turned out, these cool areas were areas of high moisture, and when anomalous high moisture exists in a certain area within a New Orleans building, there is a good chance that the area is infested with termites. In addition to detecting anomalous moisture, the infrared cameras also picked up on anomalies within wood that usually turn out to be subsurface termite damage. Due to Leonard’s success with termite detection, infrared technology was promptly employed for use in Operation Full Stop, which was the 15 year government led effort to control Formosan subterranean termites in New Orleans. Today, pest control professionals working for the New Orleans Termite and Pest Control Board use infrared imaging devices when inspecting structures in the city. Infrared imaging technology is also gaining popularity outside of New Orleans, and not just for termite detection, but for the detection of several insect pests that are known for establishing harborages in wall voids and other inaccessible areas.

Do you think that more sophisticated termite detection methods will be introduced within the next decade?




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