Riverside Pest Management last year welcomed a new member to its team, who is an expert in termite detection.
His name is Ben and he’s a working cocker spaniel with an unbelievable nose for the pest.
Ben comes from a champion bloodline of detection dogs. His grandfather Pete was a top termite detection dog working in Sydney, his father Ess is a top termite and bed bug detection dog working in Sydney, and his Aunty Sal is a noxious weed detection dog working in the Snowy Mountains National Park.
From just six weeks of age Ben began his training in Sydney with renowned trainer and pest control expert, Shane Clarke.
Specialising in detecting termites, he can find the destructive pest hidden behind walls, emerging from cracks or joints in concrete, in trees, the garden, or pretty much in any structure.
Ben graduated with top of class honours, leaving three siblings selected for training behind.
Riverside Pest Management owner Steve Butcher says Ben has proven more accurate than conventional testing equipment.
Steve and wife Jess said Ben has been an investment for their rapidly growing business and they worked towards getting a termite detection dog for four years.
‘‘We researched extensively and looked at all options before deciding on Ben,’’ Steve said.
‘‘He can help us detect termites no other equipment available can.’’
Steve has more than 10 years of experience in the industry, but is yet to have seen a worker like his four-legged companion.
‘‘I’m blown away by how accurate he is in picking up activity and he surprises me every day with what he finds.
‘‘He has detected termite activity that would have gone un-noticed with conventional testing equipment like active termites in inaccessible subfloors, flooring under carpet, entry points under baths and through concrete patios.
‘‘Ben’s expertise is early detection of termites, often before they become visible to the eye or conventional equipment to pick up, and is great at locating termite nests.
‘‘Ben is also trained to indicate on conducive conditions such as water leaks, wood rot and decay, in the absence of termites.’’
Ben is the first of his kind working in the region, according to Steve.
He said sniffer dogs used for this purpose are mostly found in metropolitan areas.
When Ben isn’t at work, Steve’s wife Jess said he is a loving companion for their two young girls — like any family dog.
Riverside Pest Management is in the process of training Ben’s half-sister Alaska, to join the growing team and share Ben’s busy workload.
If you have a termite problem or want to be one of the first to have the most accurate termite inspection in the region, call 0400435252.