Cold Compression Injection
Infrared Thermal Imaging and Dry-wood Termites
By Ron Bibler
Inspecting a home for termites has always been a challenge, even for seasoned veteran inspectors such as myself. Knowing the types of evidence and where to look for it is of utmost importance. The Infrared Thermal Imaging (IR) camera is becoming an important instrument in locating and documenting dry-wood termite evidence.
In my 30 plus years of working in the Pest Control Industry I have never been so excited about a tool like the IR Camera. These cameras are opening new doors in many directions and fields of work. The Pest Control Industry is one of them.
As effective as the IR camera is as a detection tool, is does have its limitations. Termites are most active at room temperature, limiting the Delta T. A limited Delta T along with the location of infestation, become a hindrance in the ability to detect with the IR camera alone. The Delta T becomes both friend and foe to the thermographer.
Our focus here will be on detection, the assessment of damage, and the application of treatment.
An inspector will first look for evidence of dry-wood termites. Once the infestation is found, the size of the infestation, direction of the termites path, and the amount of damage they have done, is determined.
This photo shows termite droppings. You can see how the droppings pile up in a given area, along the wall, baseboard and carpet. This is a key piece of evidence for the verification of termites. This is usually what prompts a phone call to my office from concerned business and homeowners.
Prior to the introduction of the IR Camera inspectors were limited to what they could visually see.
We present 2 images, both taken with the IR Camera.
In Figure 1, at the time of our image, there was no termite activity (no heat) and no change in Delta T. It is obvious to a trained eye, some activity (and damage) has taken place.
Figure 2 shows the result of a Cold Compression Injection which altered the Delta T, thus allowing the IR Camera to capture an image of a path of destruction left by the Dry-wood termites. We can not only see the damage they have done but where they are headed.
Here are a few more images showing the before and after effects from Cold Compression Injections. Prior visual evidence was limited to a small hole and a few termite droppings. With the assistance of the Cold Compression Injection, the IR camera was able to capture the extent of the damage to both wallboard and floor. This is vital information for inspectors in determining their course of action.
The last 2 images show the before and after (using the Cold Compression Injections) effects on an upper decking system. This location Is very important for inspectors to determine the amount of damage for safety reasons. Decking systems have collapsed due to this kind of damage to the load bearing supports of an upper decking.