Termites in a kitchen wall

The Q. has been ask if we can see termites in the walls. The answser is yes you can find termite in the walls.

With the help of a small space heater we can adjust the Delta T of the wall paper. The paper will heat up before the wall board and give you the out line of the area the termites have been working in. this window is only open for a few seconds then heat will wash out the wall and you need to start over.

Infestation of Sub-termites.

See the PDF.



Thanks Ron. Here it is resized and formatted for easy viewing.


How long will it take and what would be the charge to check all the walls in a 1500 sq ft bungalow?


Were you searching that area specificlly or were you doing a general scan? IE did you know to look there.

I have only found termites once with IR, but I do a lot of newer homes and don’t really “try” to find termites because of state licensing laws here. But I am interested in your procedure.

As with most Termite inspection we take the complete home into the inspection. As a LIC. Termite inspection in Calif. I look for the areas that are going to have the best chance for an infestation. and work out from there. This home had a specific infestation in the kitchen walls that was extending from the sub-structure so i had an idea of possible condition in this area. TA…DAAAAA…

The process i use is to fan a wall area with a low heat space heater at the same time I’m viewing the wall area. I look for images to come to the surface.

The window can be short A few seconds or just abit longer 8 to 10 seconds. Have your finger on the triger! This will depend on the moisture content of the Sheetrock or the wall materials you are working with. With sheetrock keep im mind you are heating up the paper not the wall. I use a FLIR B2 160x120. Res.

Kevin i find Sub-termites in new homes all the time. slabs homes i look at plumbing pipe block out or small cracks in the concrete. They like the paper and the Glue.

Brian. I would IR Image a home just as you would be looking for moisture and be inspecting for other condition at the same time and if you come to areas you think may have an infestation stop and go over it a few time then hit it with a space heater. see what come into view.



Hey Ron May I use your Image I will give you credit as I am putting together a slide presentation to be given to a group of AMBUCS in Jan and one is a pest control guy He actually invited me to speak

That would definately have to be an added cost service for me, if the state licensing laws would even let me legally offer it. I would certainly note and refer any suspicious areas that show up, as I did the one time I found some; but as of now I am not going to incorporate a special procedure for it. I am kind of glad to hear that your procedure requires special prep work, the heater. So it is not expected in every scan.

With all the possible uses for this technology it is probab;y a good thing to distinguish between some of the uses and make clear that not everything shows up in the same way to the same technique. It is our responsibility to educate our clients to this as well.

Yes Charley. you may use them as you see fit.

Kevin to get the images to come clean thats what i do…

However to image this wall area was only about 5Min. No big deal.



termite evidence.jpg

With higher end cameras it does become a little easier to find these critters.
I generally look for moisture signatures that resemble the tubes and of course verify, verify, verify…:wink:

WIth some of the claims being made in IR ads and some statements being made in magazine articles,* as the use of this technology expands the public will come to expect it can do all that is claimed “all of the time”!!! I would claim only water leakage, missed insulation and air leakage (in conjuction with blower door use). Others such as insects, rodents, mould and electrical faults** are usually accidental byproducts of the main scan.

  • “a thermal audit can not only discover where energy is wasted, but also pinpoint mold as well as termite or water damage behind walls.” (my comment- only if the water damage is recent and still wet/damp)

** There is no standard procedure developed for checking all breakers/fuses/panels, receptacles, switches & junctions in residential occupancies.


You make a good point about the advertising. False advertising is hurting the industry little by little. In northern Nova Scotia IR is still fairly “new” technology in the residential side of things. People sometimes expect more than the amera can offer(sometimes through false ads, others through lack of knowledge about IR) and it makes for an unhappy customer at first sometimes. I’ve been seeing companies advertising for IR, only having an IR thermometer(not that they are telling the customer this before hand). However, what goes around comes around. These guys won’t be around for too long I expect. Like the old saying goes: “practice what you preach”…

How did you know that the anomaly was termites? Did invasive testing confirm this conclusion?

Hi David I Have been a Calif State LIC BRANCH # 3 Termite and Building inspector for going on 20 years now. the evidence was first exposed from the sub-structure then we get into the interior from there. as with almost all termite infestation they will expose there workings if you known what and where to look for. The IR. Helps an inspector to see whats going with wall…

Hope this Helps.


Ron Bibler

Ron, what type of space heater are you using? Is that it in the photo?

Yes that it. I can look up a link for you. its a fan with a heater add on that way i can cool a wall or add the heat as i need.

It was about $ 60.00 or so. for the heater and the fan.



Please do, thanks. :smiley:

This is the unit.




Many thanks Ron!

I use the same set up. Works quite well.

I’m heading to Harbor Freight first thing in the morning! :smiley: