Tools of Detection

Acoustic Emission Detector
Picks up the sound of termites ripping apart wood fibers. The detector must be placed within a foot or two of where termites are feeding.

Gas Detector
Sniffs for methane and also carbon dioxide. Tests show mixed results for accuracy.

Moisture Meter
Pinpoints areas with high moisture levels — 15 percent or above — which are more likely to harbor some types of termites.

Ice Pick or Screwdriver
The most common tool. Used to probe for soft or hollow spots.

Infrared Imaging
Scans and detects elevated moisture levels inside intact walls. When used in combination with a heater, can also make termite galleries visible.

Microwaves
Works like radar to detect termites moving through wood and under drywall or tile.

Borescope
With its flexible shaft and fiber-optic light, this instrument allows inspectors to peer through a small hole into hollow walls.

Trained Dog
Useful in houses with inaccessible crawl spaces or slab foundations, where termites can sneak up through cracks into interior walls. Most any breed can be trained to sniff out the methane termites emit as they digest wood.
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