When inspecting potential investment properties, it helps to perform the necessary risk mitigation – including performing termite inspections. Those who fail to perform the necessary inspections could risk having termites cause thousands of dollars in damages to their properties.

Thankfully, a new smartphone app known as the “Termite Buster” has made termite inspections a little easier. Developed by Chris Kirk, Nick Akroyd, and Keiron Liddle, the app allows users to listen in on the destructive insects with their smartphones.

Kirk calls termites “head bangers” because if you hit a wall, termites will bang their heads to warn the colony of potential danger. By placing the smartphone close to the wall, the app can record the sounds made by the termites.

“The app takes those recordings to a cloud and analyses them to distinguish whether [they] are [the] sounds of termites,” Kirk said. He emphasised that his team wasn’t trying to replace professional termite inspectors or pest controllers. “We are making [the app] so people can check for termites as often as they want.”

David Merritt, associate professor at the University of Queensland’s School of Biological Sciences, said the app was useful, provided that the smartphone’s microphone was sensitive enough to detect termite sounds which humans can’t hear.

“Personally, if I banged on timber in a house and heard any tapping noise I would contact a pest controller quick-smart and not rely on an app to tell me what species it is; damage is already being done,” Merritt said. “Nevertheless, [the app] would be a good tool if a householder did not know what other signs to look out for, such as covered trails leading to timber, a hollow sound when tapping timber, or paper-thin paint covering eaten-out timber.”


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