Thermal Camera for Insects: How to Detect the Advance of an Invisible Army with Science?

A thermal camera can be your greatest ally in thwarting the sneaky advance of insects. No doubt these creatures are diminutive but when they amass an army, it’s totally a different story. They’d wreak havoc on your precious abode. Or if you’re a business, your strategic plans — however, well thought out. 


Before you start crying foul, a little perspective should bid you well. Know that the first step to putting a solution on the table is defining the nature of the problem right. 


It’s easy to sweep aside an insect problem seeing how puny a lonesome insect is. You can easily step on a single ant, right? But, to tell you, insects are a major headache in America. In fact, statistics show they carve $120 billion worth of damage each and every year. 


Now, this is exactly the reason why an infrared camera comes in handy. The smart device can detect the steadily growing numbers of an insect army that could have been lured in by the bits and pieces of food that you throw away — not to mention multiplied by the droves in the small niches and crevices that your personal space offers. Here’s how you can make their advance, however strong-willed, come to a screeching halt using a thermal camera. Without resorting to uncalled-for measures. Read on.

 

Small but Horrible: The Destructive Nature of an Invisible Army

Small but Horrible: The Destructive Nature of an Invisible Army 

Indeed, as minute and as sly as these creepy crawlies are, you can easily be blindsided by insects. But as Stephen Covey (7 Habits of Effective Leaders) repeats so very often, we need a paradigm shift. How you see the problem is a central part of the problem. 

 

The Right Solution Matters

A quick look at honeybees should bid us well. While honeybees (Apis mellifera) are considered for the most part a most beneficial insect due to their unique ability to pollinate and provide honey, these arthropods can swarm and sting you. Yet, you don’t have to exterminate them should they bother you. 

 

You can actually handle a honeybee army invading your space the right way. A glorious example is using non-lethal methods of removal (e.g., thermography) and donating the “evicted” army to local beekeepers. By doing so, you shoot two birds with one stone: do away with an infestation while at the same time help Mother Nature. 

 

By definition, insects refer to any member of the phylum Arthropoda that are characterized by their:

  •  segmented bodies
  •  jointed legs 
  •  external skeletons (exoskeletons)

 

Never underestimate their strength though. Compared to any living breathing organism on the planet, insects not only have the most in terms of the number of species (over 1 million species) but also have the most in terms of the number of individual organisms. Ants alone number 10 to 100 trillion individuals worldwide. And that’s a conservative estimate. 

 

The Destructive Power of Bugs

To give you a more intense look at how insects can inflict harm to your home, we’re sharing a study done recently at the heart of North America. Specifically, the research was undertaken by North Carolina State University researchers. They found in various homes in the state 579 different species of insects from 304 different families. 

 

It’s no accident that insects have found so much success in invading our homes.  As aforementioned, arthropods have adapted best to the planet more than any breathing organism perhaps. Chances are, many have been fed by humans, unknowingly, for the most part, vai our cast-off treasures.  Yet, we find ourselves sorely lacking in our knowledge about them. 


Here’s a quick look at how insects can pester your personal space — often with wanton abandon.

 

Table 1 Insects and How They Damage Personal Spaces.

Table 1: Insects and How They Damage Personal Spaces


Now, if you put in the picture of how insects can damage crops directly and indirectly, then you’ll realize that they can constitute a substantial threat to a nation’s survival. And by extrapolation, the planet.

 

How Thermal Camera can Stop an Insect Armys Advanc

How Thermal Camera can Stop an Insect Army’s Advance

When you talk about thermal cameras, what must be remembered is the aspect of heat. A thermal camera is a heat detector. The device is based on the work done by Sir William Herschel (1728 - 1832), the astronomer who in his study on the start stumbled upon infrared light. To note, he was doing the prism experiment as popularized by Sir Isaac Newton. 

 

Using special sensors, a thermal camera can detect varying degrees of heat or thermal energy and turn it into visible light. To note, insects are cold-blooded but as they absorb heat from their surroundings they emit heat and are therefore visible via a thermal camera. Know that an infrared detector will function even in total darkness. 

 

Below are 5 things to keep in mind to make the most of infrared technology when dealing with insects the right way: 

 

1.) Identify Points of Entry

Identifying their path to your precious abode can cut your time in half when containing insects. To do this, you can use a blower door. 

 

Blower doors make it a lot easier for you to identify thermal anomalies as they are designed to depressurize the abode. By doing so, they expose all those unwanted leaky spots by drawing cold air. To a large degree, it’s an auditor’s best friend.

 

You might be wondering how blower doors expose points of entry of insects and other unwanted visitors to your personal space. When unwanted visitors get in (e.g., termites, bats, rodents), they do so by hook or by crook. In short, they’re bound to punch a hole in your wall. Once this happens, air from the outside flows into the abode creating a thermal imbalance which can then be reflected in your infrared reading. 

 

By pointing out thermal anomalies quickly, you can zero in on possible areas of entry from where an army of insects launches a surprise attack. 

 

2.) Detect an Army of Insects Behind a Wall 

Chances are, an army of insects could stay hidden, behind a wall. You could be caught unawares till it’s too late. And that’s a very unfortunate thing. 

 

Termites, for one, can operate in secret. To a large degree, they are small insects that can give you a major headache. Why? Simply because their favorite food is wood. To a large degree, they’re natural lovers of precious wood. 

 

Thus, if you’re home is 100% made of wood, then you’re giving termites a reason to do a buffet every day. Eastern subterranean termite colonies can number up to 60,000 and devour about ⅕ of an ounce of wood daily. 

 

If you have about 2 million termites, then that’s another story altogether. A wooden home can meet its doom in a year or two. Think about the expensive repairs. Luckily, thermal imaging comes to the rescue. Here’s a quick look at how to eradicate termites using infrared

 

Indeed, the good news is the more insects, the easier it is for a thermal camera to find them. Remember this is all about temperature change. So, if you have but one bee behind a wall, its body temperature won’t make a dent in the wall temperature. So a thermal camera won’t take notice. 

 

However, if a beehive is behind a wall, it’s a different story altogether. As the hive has a higher temperature than the wall, that heat will affect said wall and its overall temperature would rise. 

 

3.) Swift Identification of a Swarm in Inaccessible Places

As aforementioned, a thermal camera won’t need the presence of light to operate. It can detect marauding insects even in pitch darkness. 

 

Even better, you can track anomalous heat signatures of a swarm of insects in the most inaccessible places in your personal space. It can be your wall cavities as mentioned above or in stored commodities and ceiling voids.

 

Cameras using infrared technology can quickly scan the premises for insects along with other proofing issues. In short, an in-depth survey can be done. Areas warmer than their surrounding environment appear in lighter colors on the device screen and in reports. Inspection and further investigation can then follow. 

 

Note that moisture is also key. Sometimes, a large heat source such as a  nest won’t be obvious. In this regard, you can deploy sensitive thermal cameras that are capable of detecting irregular heat patterns. 

 

Usually, there are brought about by changes in the moisture and other damage that are great indicators of the presence of an infestation. Concrete signs include holes in walls and missing insulation. This points out an entry point. 

 

The exercise can be tricky though. So zeroing in on what particular pattern to look for requires skills and patients. Without the right expertise, interpreting a thermal image can be an uphill climb. Here’s a quick guide to help you

  

4.) Deepen Your Investigation

Additionally, you should be on the lookout for telltale signs. Finding one can be a timely starting point for your insect-hunting thermal camera journey. While usually, insects operate in silence, they can leave marks that act as evidence of their presence. Below are some of the most common ones showing you’re being surreptitiously attacked by insects and other pests as revealed by no less than the Reader’s Digest:

Table 2 10 Telltale Signs of Insect Infestation

All of these clues can help you determine the presence of home-wrecking insects. However, these are already signs of an ongoing infestation. Then, you can confirm all these with a thermal camera. At this stage, damage may have already been done. 

 

The best way to deal with insects is to prevent them from taking a foothold in your precious space. So, preventive maintenance is the name of the game. This is why thermography saves the day as you need not waste time zeroing in on the trails of an initial advance of the army. 

 

5.) Do Your Due Diligence

A thermal camera is a timely technological tool. It can definitely help you locate aberrations in heat. But like any tool, you need to acquaint yourself with its functions. Thus, doing your due diligence is wise. It can help you make the most of thermography while at the same time rid your home or office of insidious pests. 

 

The good news is doing your due diligence need not be an uphill climb. For instance, here are guides to help you get started: 

 

 

How to Find the Right Thermal Camera to Deter Insects. 

How to Find the Right Thermal Camera to Deter Insects

If you want to do it right, thermal cameras can help you treat an army of insects right. That means you need not use pesticides or other harmful ways to exterminate them. The example provided by a team of nature-loving bee rescuers using an infrared camera and non-lethal means in dealing with a misguided army of bees should come to mind.  

 

No doubt, thermal imagers are technology’s answer to insect habitat anomalies. They are non-intrusive solutions for finding pests in just about every nook and cranny in your personal space. They can be used to deal with a host of insects, from hornets to termites. Plus, using them can help you avoid spreading harmful chemicals (e.g., insecticides) around homes. 

 

Bear in mind though that not all thermal cameras are created equal. Thus, the thermal camera you need depends on your current pest situation. Some of the things you need to consider are: 

 

  • Ease of Use 
  • Data-gathering capabilities
  • Sensitivity and Temperature range 
  • Environmental conditions 
  • Documentation 
  • Resolution

 

Are you exposed to chemicals, dust or extreme weather condition? While in general American homes have similar environments, some could be in extreme weather. So you need to take these into account. If you choose a camera that doesn’t fit your weather, chances are your camera will have a short lifespan. 

 

Another aspect is the ease of use. Is the thermal camera handy? It is ergonomic?  Is it fit for a single-handed operation? Can it be carried from one place to another with ease? These are just some of the aspects you need to look into. 

 

Well, it can certainly look daunting. The good news is that PerfectPrime has a wide range of thermal cameras that offer just about every solution to your pest problem. Even better, not only is the company known for quality service, it’s thermal camera products don’t carry a huge price tag. Ridding you of your insect issue without drilling a huge hole in your wallet. 


Truly, thermal cameras can be a shot in the arm when it comes to containing and preventing your pest problem. What’s more, they are instrumental in solving the problem right without having to utilise pesticides and harmful methods of eradicating pests. Come to think of it, that’s what makes thermal cameras truly special.


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