Termite Thermal Shadow Studies
On a daily basis we are reminded by our customers how quickly the Termite Mansion has visible termites. We still run trials with our competitors but most of our energy goes into trying to improve the already fantastic Termite Mansion.
Recently a customer asked about termite thermal shadow (s) and I discussed some of our recent work to find some precise figures on discovering the exact temperature differential required and detected by termites, and why we are continuing to find ways to improve the thermal properties of the Termite Mansion.
Organic objects on the soil surface like wood and animal carcasses (and mimicked by a properly constructed termite monitor) tend to have high moisture content (Corey and Kemper, 1968). Organic materials have a high heat capacity, and therefore they warm slowly when exposed to solar radiation and cool slowly when no external source of heat is present.
The temperature of the soil below organic features is buffered from changes in the atmospheric temperature (Ettershank et al., 1980; Haywood et al., 1997). Thus, cool termite thermal shadow (s) are likely to indicate the presence of a food resource for subterranean termites.
In contrast, mineral features on the soil surface like rocks (and mimicked by badly designed termite monitors) have low moisture content and low heat capacity and heat rapidly and cool rapidly as well (Danalatos et al., 1995).
When the surface of the soil contains medium sized rocks, rounded particles between 64 and 256 mm in size (Anonymous, 1988), changes in atmospheric temperature are rapidly transmitted to the soil through these rocks (Danalatos et al., 1995). These rocks are rapidly warmed by the sun and create warm termite thermal shadow in the soil directly beneath them. Warm termite thermal shadow are likely to indicate an inedible obstruction on the soil surface.
We believe we are already well passed the repelling potential of a plastic termite monitor but continue to study ways to improve the heat capacity of the Termite Mansion.