In the United States, damage inflicted to homes and buildings by subterranean termites cost around 2 billion dollars in repair costs each year, and this is not counting the cost of structural damage inflicted by drywood and dampwood termite species. Research has shown that preventative termite control methods work best to decrease the rate of termite-inflicted damage to structures. The most effective preventative termite control methods are put to use during a house’s construction. These preventative strategies include the application termiticide soil barriers surrounding a home, the installation of physical mesh barriers into the soil surrounding a home and the use of pressure-treated lumber for a home’s construction. When a home does become infested with termites, it can be hard to determine the full extent of the infestation. In some cases, multiple isolated termite infestation sites can exist within a home, and this is especially the case when it comes to drywood and dampwood termite infestations. If preventative termite control measures fail, or were never utilized, then pest control professionals face the challenging task of detecting which areas of a home have been affected by termite activity. In addition to being thoroughly trained to visually locate termite infestation sites within homes and buildings, pest control professionals also rely on a plethora of technological devices to make termite detection relatively less difficult. And of course, they can always rely on the help of well trained dogs.
Multiple studies have shown that dogs can be trained to successfully sniff out the presence of termites within a home. One study found that trained dogs could locate eastern subterranean termites 95 percent of the time. Not only that, but the trained dogs could also discern between termites and other insects, like ants and roaches. This is a significant finding, as the majority of structural termite infestations in the US are caused by eastern subterranean termites. But when dogs were trained to locate western subterranean termites, they performed even better, as the dogs located the termites with 98 percent accuracy. The study’s researchers found that dogs could track termites with a greater degree of accuracy than an electronic odor detector. Research studies on this topic have produced different accuracy rates among termite-detection dogs, but in nearly all studies, it seems that dogs outperform modern termite detection technology by a long-shot.
Do you think that some pest control companies will start advertising the use of termite-detection dogs at some point in the future?