Locating Wood Boring Insects with Infrared (Thermal) Imaging

Home Inspector with Massachusetts Home Inspections MA. License#566

One very important finding with thermal imaging would be wood boring insect infestations. It's crucial in locating any hidden Termite or Carpenter Ant damage much sooner than later. Colonies can become so catastrophic and cause expensive structural damage to your home without you even knowing it. A small termite colony can form and cause extensive damage to a building in as little as six weeks, so vigilance plays an important role in preventing these types of infestations.

When Termites or Carpenter Ants do invade buildings, the normal heat patterns of concealed structural members (inside walls and floors) are changed causing the damaged areas to be detected with infrared. Basically, the density of the wood changes due to the wood members being destroyed. The damaged wood members will emit a slightly different temperature than the solid wood members. This difference in temperature is quite obvious and visible to the trained eye with thermal imaging.

My thermal imaging camera records this change in heat patterns and will indicate the exact location of the Wood Boring Insect infestation (See images below). The color image will show hot spots as red or yellow and cold spots as blue or purple and these heat patterns can indicate Wood Boring Insect infestations if interpreted correctly. My technology allows for early detection of a termite problem, and eradication could proceed before the damage is too great, thus saving the owner thousands of dollars in repairs at some future date.


Visually, this wall looks great, but infrared detects Termite Activity.


Existing homeowners can also use my thermal imaging services so that they are not over-charged by exterminators who do not accurately identify the Termite or Carpenter Ant problems for subsequent treatment. There are instances where the concealed Wood Boring Insect damage is minor but the exterminator is telling you the opposite or is simply guessing. Infrared imaging can verify the extent of the insect damage.

You may be wondering, "How can a camera detect concealed termite colonies"? Well, let's take Termites for example. When termites do invade buildings, their presence alters the normal heat patterns of the floors and walls. Termites are cold-blooded creatures, but their metabolic processes will produce heat. Termites also work to control their thermal environment by building moist mud tunnels, which appear as cool spots in the wall cavities. These cool spots and any structural damage are quite visible during a typical thermal scan. Thermal imaging is an environmentally friendly, limited chemical and radiation option. Using very specific information about the pests' location, I am able to determine the most effective location for placing the fumigation chemicals. This protects the homeowner and the environment. After the initial fumigation is completed, thermal imaging can be used again to follow-up on eradication efforts, and help to ensure that termite infestation is nothing but a bad memory.

My inspection results will be captured and then documented into a professional report, providing you with tangible proof of all my wood boring insect findings.




Comments (1)

Brent Warner
ESI Property Inspection - Chattanooga, TN

I have just bought a thermal camera and had not thought of this application. thanks

Apr 19, 2011 04:07 AM

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