Termite Treatment using Temperature

Termites use temperature to find food

Subterranean Termites (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) have a number of senses which interact to determine the individual and colony behaviour. It has been shown in a number of studies that the overall most important environmental signal for subterranean termites is temperature and many of the other behavior signals are dependent on temperature being within an optimal range. Many studies have shown the importance of temperature in subterranean termites finding food. Subterranean termites will aggregate and move to an area of appropriate temperature. Termite Treatment using temperature as a key behavioural factor has been highlighted by entomologists for many years without much manufacturer interest.

Thermal Shadows

Objects on the ground surface create thermal shadows in the substrate beneath them when the heat capacity of the object (ability to absorb and store heat energy generated by the sun) is different from the heat capacity of the surrounding soil.

Subterranean termites are able to detect objects on the soil surface by sensing such thermal shadows (Ettershank, 1980). If subterranean termites are able to detect a cooler change in their normal foraging route, it will create a stimulus to cause investigation and a change from their normal route.

Lois Elizabeth Swoboda 2004, was able to show that it was possible to direct subterranean termites foraging behavior by creating a “spot” of differing temperature within a homogenous substrate (5 degrees Celsius). Swoboda showed that subterranean termites are not just attracted to these cooler shadows but will leave an area of species specific optimum temperature and travel to a cooler area in a non-optimum temperature area.

Traditionally a termite monitor picks up subterranean termites by accidentally installing within the foraging pathway OR after a number of months the timber within absorbs enough moisture (and unattractive moulds and fungi) which creates a temperature differential but also an environment that is quickly abandoned by foraging termites.

Termite Treatment using temperature

The design of the Termite Mansion has always been concerned with optimising it’s thermal properties. The Termite Mansion Version 6 via various insulations and an internal sealed chamber is able to trap and hold cooler night air and heat up slower than the surrounding environment. This produces a thermal differential matching that of traditional food sources. The dual walled container with a combination of insulation layers has an inner air tight lid and is buried into top 15cm of ground.

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