Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): V.R. Lewis; A.B. Power; M.I. Haverty
    Date: 2004
    Source: Forest Products Journal 54(6): 57-62
    Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
    PDF: Download Publication  (326.0 KB)


    Field-collected boards showing visual signs of damage by the western drywood termite, Incisitermes minor, were searched with a portable acoustic emission (AE) device. Depending on cross-sectional size, boards were either searched with a flat sensor that was hot-melt-glued to the wood surface or a subsurface sensor that wasthreaded 20 mm into the wood. The number of AE-monitored locations varied with length; however, at least three 1-minute AE recordings were collected for each board. In total, 108 boards were treated to control termites with 1 of 5 different treatment methods. These boards were AE monitored at 3 days, and at 1, 2, and 4 weeks post-treatment. Thirty-two boards were AE monitored but not treated. Boards were later dissected and live and dead termites were counted. Of the boards searched by AE prior to treatment, 94 percent (102 of 108) contained termites upon dissection. The volume, number of AE monitoring sites, pretreatment AE counts, and number of termites found in boards upon dissection were not significantly different among the five different treatments. Post-treatment AE counts corresponded well with boards containing survivors. Regarding sensor performance, there were no significant differences in AE counts between threaded subsurface and flat surface-attached sensors. Regression analyses revealed a statistically significant correlation between increasing AE counts and termite numbers for boards, although the association was low. Untreated boards that were determined by AE to contain live termites (test for false positives) upon dissection were successfully detected 100 percent (13 total) of the time. Untreated boards, determined by AE to not contain live termites (test for false negatives), were successfully detected 78.9 percent of the time (15 of 19). Comparisons of means suggest AE counts of ≥4 per minute can detect survivors from failed treatments. Results of this study support the ability and reliability of the AE device to detect live termite infestations in naturally infested boards.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Lewis, V.R.; Power, A.B.; Haverty, M.I. 2004. Surface and subsurface sensor performance in acoustically detecting western drywood termites in naturally infested boards. Forest Products Journal. 54(6): 57-62.

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page