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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ACOUSTICS DETECTION OF PESTS IN STRUCTURES, TREES, AND SOILS Project Number: 6435-32000-012-13
Project Type: Specific Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 17, 2007
End Date: Jul 01, 2012

Objective:
The objective of this cooperative research project is to develop an acoustical monitoring tool for detecting subterranean termites. Primary target pest is the Formosan subterranean termite (Coptotermes formosanus) in structures, trees, and soil.

Approach:
Probably the most important factor in termite control is the early detection of new termite infestations. By nature, subterranean termite infestations are usually hidden behind walls and under floors such that they are hard to detect non-invasively. Acoustic detection offers the opportunity to detect infestations non-invasively by relying on the detection of termite activity such as eating, movement, nest construction or head banging by termite soldiers. Unfortunately, these acoustic and vibratory signals are weak and the attenuation of the signals through the wall or floor material is significant putting these signals at the limit of detectability. Previous work has focused on detectability in a qualitative fashion in terms of a yes/no detection of known infestations. Our work will continue to focus on improving the detection limits of acoustic sensors as well as identifying when detection is possible in terms of infestation density and location/distance of measurements to infestation. The use of alternate detection methods such as LDV’s will also continue to be investigated along with the use of infrared technology.

Last Modified: 10/22/2014
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