A dog’s sense of smell is highly sensitive. In fact, it ranges from 10,000 to 100,000 times more superior than ours! This is because a dog’s scent organ is about 4 times larger than a human’s.

Termite detection dogs are trained the same way as Police and Customs dogs except that they are taught to detect the scent of termites. These termite detection dogs undergo months of intensive training with specialists before being put into service. This thorough training makes these animals the most efficient and effective termite detection tool available.

Both indoors and outdoors. If you have termites, they will find them!

Like other detection dogs, termite detection dogs walk through a property and pick up the scent of the item they are trained to find – in our case it is termites. The dogs hone in on the area of infestation and give the handler a positive signal that they have detected active termites in the building by sitting down at the point of termite activity.

Australian Quarantine and Pest Inspections Service

Pest Police Australia and our Termite Detection Dogs have been working with AQIS for the detection of Termites and Wood Borer on vessels that arrive in Melbourne.

Our Dogs are highly recognised as a Termite detection tool and have recently undergone trials to ascertain there accuracy with high results.

The hidden truth: AQIS and industry working together to trial timber pest detection technologies

Detecting timber pests using traditional techniques such as visual inspection is problematic because timber can be infested but not show any visible signs such as emergence holes or frass.

The good news is that there have been several recent advances in timber pest detection technologies that may enable inspections to be conducted with a greater degree of confidence.

With this in mind, AQIS ran a pilot trial in Melbourne to gauge the effectiveness of a range of technologies and equipment for possible use in AQIS inspections to detect insects such as termites and beetle larvae present in imported timber and timber products including yachts.

AQIS has been using visual inspection, detector dogs and occasionally X-ray units to detect pests in imported wood products. Detector dogs and X-rays are not always available at inspection points, and maintenance and training needs contribute to significant ongoing costs.

With input from external State and Commonwealth government agencies such as CSIRO and the Department of Environment and Climate Change (NSW), as well as Buy-wise Inspections and Top Dog Pest Solutions, the trial tested more than 120 wood samples— both naturally infested and uninfested (control) samples.

  • Treatment 1 – X-ray: AQIS’s current Hymen X-ray unit, mounted in a mobile van, was used to X-ray the samples.
  • Treatment 2 – Detector dogs: Detector dogs from Buy-wise Inspections and Pest Police Australia, Melbourne, examined all the wood samples.
  • Treatment 3 – Termatrac®: Termatrac® equipment supplied by Buy-wise Inspections and Pest Police Australia to test all the randomly numbered samples was used.
  • Treatment 4 – Thermal imaging camera: A thermal imaging camera supplied by Buy-wise Inspections and Pest Police Australia was used to test the samples.
  • Treatment 5 – Visual inspection: Two AQIS officers performed routine visual inspections (noting suspected to be infested vs free of insects) for each of the samples.
  • Treatment 6 – Tramex moisture meter: A Tramex moisture meter supplied by Buy-wise Inspections and Pest Police Australia was used to test the samples.
  • Treatment 7 – Acoustic Device: An AED2000L Acoustic Emission Detector was used to test the samples.

The results from the trial are now being analyzed and recommendations will be made on the basis of their efficacy.

Wood samples from the trial were also used for a second cold treatment trial in Melbourne, to measure the efficacy of cold treatment for killing pests in timber. There has been a world-wide push for alternatives to methyl bromide and other traditional treatments of infested wooden products owing to harmful environmental impacts.

The infested wood samples were kept in a freezer at the Melbourne office for varying lengths of time (1 to 14 days). Treated samples were removed from the freezer, defrosted, and then destructively sampled. All insects recovered were counted, measured, identified, and their condition noted (alive or dead). At least 100 insects were recovered, all of which were dead, which indicates that the treatment was successful.

The outcome of the trials will be reported on soon and may be used to provide AQIS with additional options for treating a range of timber products effectively, maintaining quarantine integrity while being friendly to the environment.