Technology to examine structures for signs of termite activity has evolved tremendously over the past several years. One technology is the use of infrared cameras to find moisture penetration and even termite tubes in hidden areas. While this type of camera imaging is not part of the typical inspection, by regulation, termite inspections are visual only. However, when trying to focus in on a questionable area, infrared cameras can be valuable tool. Infrared cameras can also be used if requested by the homeowner for an additional fee.
Infrared technology has been used for decades. The technology is the same as night vision cameras where heat given off by vehicles or people can be seen. It is also used to find lost people at night by sensing their body heat.
Commercially, infrared cameras detect temperature gradients and these are converted to various colors on an image so that the multi-colored sections depict various temperature ranges. This is particularly helpful when you look at the front of a house, for example, and can see a cooler temperature on the windows which is typical of heat loss due to the glass. But if that temperature gradient drops below the window on the image, there is the possibility of a moisture penetration or even termite tubes which will be cooler due to the moisture. An image will not conclusively denote termite infestation, but it will point to potential issues which require further evaluation.
Infrared cameras are relatively expensive, with many costing over $10,000. If a pest control company uses infrared cameras, they have invested a significant amount of money and may charge additional fees for the use of the camera beyond the normal inspection.
Infrared cameras are excellent tools for specific situations where suspected moisture or even termites must be further evaluated.