Robert J
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Robert J (by dino [CA]) Nov 18, 2020 1:41 AM
       Robert J (by Robert J [CA]) Nov 18, 2020 2:25 AM
       Robert J (by DJ [VA]) Nov 18, 2020 7:37 AM
       Robert J (by Ray-N-Pa [PA]) Nov 18, 2020 9:11 AM
       Robert J (by dino [CA]) Nov 18, 2020 1:57 PM
       Robert J (by Robert J [CA]) Nov 18, 2020 2:38 PM
       Robert J (by Ed [CA]) Nov 21, 2020 5:30 PM
       Robert J (by Sir Walter [NC]) Nov 29, 2020 10:27 AM

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Robert J (by dino [CA]) Posted on: Nov 18, 2020 1:41 AM


What is a termite sniffer and how does it work?

Robert J (by Robert J [CA]) Posted on: Nov 18, 2020 2:25 AM

The termite sniffer was designed by a Instrument Development Company and sold on the market for only a few years. Since the inventor made different versions for different industries, automotive, pest control, etc, they licensed different versions to different large corporations and since there was an overlap is use, there was a huge legal battle and the Termite Sniffer was retired.

The company sold them for $995 each and the retail pest control companies resold them for $1,495. Later the maker dropped the price to $795. Before the judge handed down their ruling, I was able to buy three (3) of them.

I turn on the unit and it takes around 40 seconds to warm up. It has two probes. Long and skinny to put into holes and a fat probe to test surface areas. I sucks in air and analyzes it for specific gases, know termite gases. If there is so much as 1 termite in a small enclosed area, undisturbed, the probe and instrument will sound off. It has sound and an LED screen showing the levels. I can adjust the sensitivity.

Since many termite company's didn't have $1000 to spend for a sniffer for each employee, not too many sold.

Like any tool, the operator has to have experience.

Story: I friend of mine purchased a home for over 1 million dollars and got a termite report, treatment and 90 day guaranty. After he moved in a few termites were flying inside the house with all of the windows closed. I came over an found a few nests. The termite company did some local treatment, saying the house didn't need to be tented. Then 2 weeks after the local treatment, I used my sniffer and found live termites in the same general area. With the video, they got the termite company to tent the house for free....They said there were no termites and my sniffer said there were. We opened up the wall, where my thermal imaging camera pin pointed them.

Robert J (by DJ [VA]) Posted on: Nov 18, 2020 7:37 AM

A specially trained dog.

Robert J (by Ray-N-Pa [PA]) Posted on: Nov 18, 2020 9:11 AM

With every single place I sold out in East County in San Diego.......if I owned the place just a couple of years, there was always $2,500 in terminate damage and treatment. That was during the 90's & 00's so I imagine it is considerably higher now.

What does it run now?

Robert J (by dino [CA]) Posted on: Nov 18, 2020 1:57 PM


Thanks,interesting info. When was it on the market?

I would think some termite company in our area might use the device but I had never heard of it even having done a few inspections over the years.

Maybe they don't want anyone to have an option of checking on their work.

I know you do your own small local termite treatment but I will be doing the full tent fumigation in about a year. I have been told that there are only a few companies that do that type of work and many termite companies subcontract to the few that do the tent fumigation.

Do you have a recommendation for the full tent fumigation?

It seems like some that do the fumigation simply can't be trusted. I suspect maybe they try to save money by using less of the product necessary to do an effective tent fumigation. I have heard that some pest control companies are somewhat sleazy and are looking to upsell and hype the more costly solutions but the problem seems more pervasive than I had thought.

Robert J (by Robert J [CA]) Posted on: Nov 18, 2020 2:38 PM

A former manager for an apartment property used to work as the office manager for a pest control/termite company. She explained that in the old days they could use "real" chemicals when tenting a property that would last 40 years killing termites. But due to the EPA and California's strict rules on using "chemicals that work", today's termite company uses a water down version chemical that after a season, termites will return and feast on wood members.

I can't recommend any termite company anymore for tenting. Consult with your local apartment association for recommendations.

Robert J (by Ed [CA]) Posted on: Nov 21, 2020 5:30 PM

Look up Termidor and it's history, or Fipronil which is the active ingredient.


Robert J (by Sir Walter [NC]) Posted on: Nov 29, 2020 10:27 AM

Robert J and Dino,

I found a product called TermTrac that seems similar to the termite sniffer that Robert J describes. Here is a link to a product flyer on a pest control website. The company has been around at least 30 years.

Oddly enough, if you go to the official termatrac website, it does not target its advertising for termite use, but rather for generic use. This is similar to what Robert describes.

The product seems to be produced out of Australia, but there is a Newport News, CA office. Dino might try contacting them directly to see if they can put him in contact with a pest control company which is using the product.

Interestingly enough, I also found another Australian invention from about 2012 that runs along the line of what Robert J. describes, but it doesn't seem to have made it out of the university research lab.

The product seems like it would be very useful for other purposes, but for the average consumer or small business person, not at the prices Robert J. described.

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