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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Stoddard

WDO Inspections with Infrared Thermography? That is correct! now offered at Imperial Pest Prevention

Updated: Sep 1, 2022

Wood Destroying Organism Inspections

Within the most recent years, the Pest Management industry has started to realize the real tool that Infrared Thermography can be to help in the recognition of nuisance termite and moisture invasions that can lurk inside the domain of a structure. This blog will go into the Destroyingdepth of the applications that can be utilized by the

Imperial Pest Prevention Infrared Certified

pest management professional who chooses to add Infrared Thermography to his arsenal of tools to add that added value of service to their customers. I will also discuss the advanced techniques that may be required in conjunction with thermal imaging to locate Termite and other pest infestations, moisture concerns within structures, and the verification of data findings as well as the special challenges

associated with the inspection process.

What is a WDO Inspection?

Good Question! A WDO inspection is called a wood-destroying organism inspection. Typically when a home purchaser decides to borrow money from a bank, they will typically be required to have a WDO inspection done from a licensed pest control company. State to State will have different variations of what they consider wood-destroying organisms. Since we are in the state of Florida, I will focus on those and only those. There are 5 total Wood Destroying Organisms we look for in our beautiful sunshine state. They are as follows;

Subterranean Termites (the most common termite found in North America. These termites are the most economically important wood-destroying insects in the United

Subterranean Termite Workers

States and are classified as pests. They feed on cellulose material such as the structural wood in buildings, wooden fixtures, paper, books, and cotton. A mature colony can range from 20,000 workers to as high as 5 million workers and the primary queen of the colony lays 5,000 to 10,000 eggs per year to add to this total)

Drywood Termites (Drywood termites are social insects that live in colonies in sound, dry wood. Each colony consists of offspring from an original pair (male and female). There are three growth stages – eggs, immatures,wood-boring, and adults. Drywood termites are larger than local, southwestern subterranean species).

Old House Borers (Hylotrupes is a monotypic genus of wood-boring beetles in the family Cerambycidae, the longhorn beetles. The sole species, Hylotrupes bajulus, is known by several common names, including house longhorn beetle, old house borer, and European house borer. Originating in Europe, and having been spread in

Old House Borer

timber and wood products, the beetle now has a practically cosmopolitan distribution, including Southern Africa, Asia, the Americas, Australia, and much of Europe and the Mediterranean).

Powder Post Beetles (are a group of seventy species of woodboring beetles classified in the insect subfamily Lyctinae.[1] These beetles, along with spider beetles, deathwatch beetles, common furniture beetles, skin beetles, and others, make up the superfamily Bostrichoidea. While most wood borers have a large prothorax, powder post beetles do not, making their heads

Powder Post Beetle Image

more visible. In addition to this, their antennae have two-jointed clubs. They are considered pests and attack deciduous trees, over time reducing the wood to a powdery dust. The damage caused by longhorn beetles (family Cerambycidae) is often confused with that of powderpost beetles, but the two groups are unrelated. Their larvae are white and C-shaped.

Wood Decaying Fungus (is a variety of fungus that digests moist wood, causing it to rot. Some species of wood-decay fungi attack dead wood, such as brown rot, and some, such as Armillaria (honey fungus), are parasitic and colonize living trees. Fungi that not only grow on wood but actually cause it to decay, are called lignicolous fungi. Various lignicolous fungi consume wood in various ways; for example, some

Wood Decaying Fungus

attack the carbohydrates in wood and some others decay lignin. The rate of decay of wooden materials in various climates can be estimated by empirical models.

You may in more detail on our webpage located at Daytona Beach Pest Control

How is a WDO inspection performed?

Well in no particular order is the inspection assigned, however, I will speak on behalf of my self, of the order and what I personally look for.

EXTERIOR INSPECTION: I typically will look for signs of termite activity (such as termite shelter/mud tubes, as well as conditions that could be conducive to termite and other WDO infestation (such as earth to wood contact, stucco siding below grade/ improper grading, leaky gutters or downspouts, or tree branches overhanging or touching the home). The inspector will also look for evidence of infestation by other wood-destroying insects as well as moisture areas. It is important to remember that a WDO inspection is a visual inspection only and possible hidden damage can be present and unseen.

INTERIOR INSPECTION: With special emphasis on baseboards, exposed drywall exit holes, the garage, door and window frames, and other areas that are particularly prone to host wood-destroying organisms. This part of the inspection will be both visual and physical and typically involves visually inspecting, tapping, probing, and sounding susceptible wood. It is important to remember that a WDO inspection is a visual inspection only and possible hidden damage can be present and unseen.

ATTIC AND/ OR CRAWL SPACE INSPECTION: Attic and crawl spaces will be inspected as long as clearance is acceptable. There are always locations not able to be seen or physically inspected. The inspection of attics and crawl space areas will consist of checking for all Wood Destroying Organisms in the attic trusses, roof sheathing, and framing. in crawl spaces, it will consist of the floor joists, sills, and sub-flooring locations. It is important to remember that a WDO inspection is a visual inspection only and possible hidden damage can be present and unseen.

I also look for obvious live termites or other insects, dead termite bodies or wings and other evidence of infestation such as mud tubes, frass/ pellets, signs of prior treatments and damaged wood, as well as conditions conducive to infestation (such as excessive moisture levels). A detailed digital report and graph with the summary of the inspection and its findings will then be completed and emailed in a PDF format. This includes a standardized inspection form regulated by the State of Florida. It is important to remember that a WDO inspection is a visual inspection only and possible hidden damage can be present and unseen. Having a proper termite treatment such as the one we at Imperial Pest Prevention provide is the only safe haven to know your property and its hidden areas are protected. Remember a termite treatment works for your property 365 days a year 24 hrs a day. Do not base a WDO report that does not show termites as a substitute, they are in no way a guarantee of a termite-free home.

I suppose your next question may be what is Infrared Thermography?

Well, let's just say first off it IS NOT X-RAY!, it IS NOT A MOISTURE METER, and IT DOES NOT COMPLETELY REMOVE THE RISKS OF CONCEALED DAMAGE. An Infrared Thermographer is not capable of seeing inside walls of your home! Yes, That is correct! We are not even capable of seeing through the thinnest layer of paint! Normally, our human vision is limited to a very small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum (as noted below). Thermal energy has a much longer wavelength than visible light. So long, in fact, that the human eye can't detect it, just like we can't see

Light Table of visibility

radio waves. With thermal imaging, the portion of the spectrum we perceive is dramatically expanded, helping us to see and measure the thermal energy emitted from an object by reflection. Unlike visible light, in the infrared world, everything with a temperature above zero emits heat. Even very cold objects, like ice cubes, emit infrared. Visible light doesn't affect the thermal world as well, so you can see just as well in highly lit and totally dark environments.


Please remember a Thermal image camera has many uses for many things I have not listed and is an invaluable tool for many other professions. I am only speaking on the basics of myself being a pest control industry termite WDO inspectors and our profession. With that being said, we typically use a thermal image camera for ;

Wood Destroying Insect Activity - Significant extreme live wood-destroying

Thermal Image of Lve Subterranean Termite colony

termite activity can be detected using this technology due to the heat generated by active live infestations by large colonies. Only live active termites can produce a great deal of heat that may be visible to the infrared camera. Minor activity will not be detectable however some areas not normally visible to the naked eye may be indicated which then may allow for a more invasive inspection to be carried out and further investigated. The other main purpose a WDO inspector may use a thermal imaging camera would be for the assistance in;

Moisture Detection in Walls and Ceilings - In this wonderful real estate market it is all too common to run into that beautiful freshly painted, new tile, carpets, baseboards, granite kitchen, you get the point, etc (flip house). And what a great tool a Thermal imaging camera may play to assist in this type of inspection as well as normal lived in structure. Thermal imaging is a great assisting tool to a WDO inspector that helps to assist, under ideal conditions, identification of possible water damage in walls, floors, and ceilings. By detecting the difference in temperature between a wet location and the surrounding dry areas, thermal imaging can help assist in the detection of a hidden moisture concern that would not be visible during a strictly visual WDO/ termite inspection.

So It is Just That easy?

Well...Let's just say.......NO!. There is a lot of varying factors that play a part when doing an Infrared thermal Inspection. So many that we will not go off-topic to misconstrue this article. Let's just say Delta T (temperature difference) is the main factor, as an Infrared Thermal camera uses all temperature variations in the display for readings as well as ambient temperatures. It is a confusing process which is why any Thermal Imaging should be done by a professional who has had the proper professional training. It is always important to remember that there is not an officially designated training someone to use one of these cameras. DO NOT BE AFRAID TO ASK an inspector who advertises these services for there credentials and training they have received.

Remember the name to call for your WDO Inspection needs

I hope that to all or whoever reads this article/ blog have enjoyed it and were able to understand everything or at least come away with some sort of knowledge they did not come herewith. Remember if you are in Volusia, Flagler or any surrounding areas and need a termite / WDO inspection to give Imperial Pest Prevention a call. We can be reached at 386-956-9506 or emailed at

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