Termite Detection Dogs
Yes this might sound very funny termite detection dogs, but I have been using detection dogs in Wollongong and Sydney since 2010 and we now service Newcastle and Mid Coast Council regions. Dogs have been used for many years to detect many different things. Australian Quarantine use them in the airports, the police use them to find drugs and money in some cases and they have even been used in the medical industry to try and find cancer. So to train a dog to detect termites does not sound that silly, it is just unusual.
So why use a detection dog in a termite inspection?
A properly trained detection dog and handler are the best tools in our opinion to try and detect termites. A termite detection dog may work as high as 98% in detecting termites, this is extraordinarily high in comparison to someone doing a visual termite inspection. On a concrete slab home a visual inspection may only be 30% accurate as they need to see the termites where a termite detection dog only needs to smell them. The odour emitted from termites will pass through the walls were the termites are feeding and sent can be detected by the dog.
How does a termite detection sniffer dog work?
Termite detection dogs are trained on a reward system and when they detect the odour of termites at the strongest point they will give an indication and therefore be rewarded, some dogs are rewarded with food and some with a toy. Everything has an odour even termites, and dogs have an incredible noses.
You can see Darcy at work doing a termite inspection in Sydney, this kitchen was only installed 3 months prior and we removed the kick boards to find mudding and active termites. This termite activity would have been missed with a normal visual termite inspection.
Where is a detection dog used?
At Bugs Or Us Pest Control we use our dog inside the house and sometimes around the yard we do not send our dog into roof voids or under a subfloor. The reason being that these two areas quite often contain poisons like rat bait, electrical wires or even snakes that may create a problem and a safe working environment for the dog. As you can appreciate we need to look after them and it is not something we can just go into a shop and replace. They take months of training before we use them and that is after you have hopefully selected the right pup to train as not every pup will make the grade.
As termites normally come from the ground it is not as essential to use the dog in the roof as they will detect the odour in the wall. If you do have a subfloor the dog will detect odour through the floor and if access permits we still have to visually inspect these areas, or if an indication is given we will recommend an access point be made.
What do I have to do if having a termite inspection with a termite sniffer dog?
When working inside the house we request that the house is to be closed up and air conditioning or fans are turned off in order to try and keep the odour located to the particular areas where the termites are. Dogs and cats should be placed outside or in cages and any food and water bowls removed from the inspection area. The house should be generally clean and make as much area accessible for the dog. By following these simple rules it will help us give you a better more accurate termite inspection.
When should a termite detection dog be used?
We will recommend the use of a the dog when there have been hard to access areas particularly some sub floor areas or your house is built on a concrete slab, as this is where a standard visual termite inspection loses its accuracy and the termite detection dog steps into a league of its own. Our dog will only be recommended if we feel it will benefit you and us in doing the inspection.
What happens if the termite detection dog indicates to the possibility of termites?
If our dog indicates to the possibility of termites we will then try and confirm this indication with other tools that we have at our disposal like the Termatrac t3i. If these tools also indicate that there is a possibility of termites we will then recommend an invasive inspection and also discuss treatment options and costs that may be involved. As when an invasive inspection is done it can be imperative that a termite treatment is started at the same time. If we do not get any indications from other tools we may recommend an invasive inspection or a secondary inspection within a shorter period of time which if confirmed on the second inspection and invasive inspection would then be carried out.
What areas do we service?
As there are very few pest control companies that have a termite detection dog Bugs Or Us Pest Control service a very large area. We carry out termite inspections and pre-purchase timber pest inspections with our termite detection dog in the Mid Coast, Newcastle, Central Coast, Sydney and Wollongong, other areas can be serviced on request. While this does sound like a large area to cover due to Commercial contracts and affiliations with other companies we set up specific days where we will do termite inspections this helps us keep our costs very reasonable considering the cost of the additional tools we have and the accuracy of the inspection.
If you would like more information or to find out when we may be in your area please send us an email or give us a call.