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How Do Termite Bait Stations Work?

By Chris Williams on May 11, 2011.

Q. Our neighbor is worried about termites. She called a pest control company that wants to put termite bait monitors around her house. I’ve always wondered how those things work? Do they kill the termites or trap them or what?

A. Termite bait monitors (or bait stations) are basically feeding stations for termites that contain wood material plus a toxic bait. Baiting for termites (instead of treating soil with pesticide) is a treatment technology that has been around for more than 15 years. Termite monitors may be used alone or, depending on the extent and location of the termite problem, a pest control company may supplement the use of monitors with chemical treatment.

There are several different bait station manufacturers, but the typical in-ground termite monitor is a perforated plastic tube containing either a small wood block or some other cellulose material that is attractive to termites. The tube is inserted into the ground and a small disc marks the top of the child-resistant station. Some models come with the toxic bait already in the station when it is installed while others require that the technician remove the wood block and insert a bait block when termite activity is detected.

termitesIn-ground bait stations are installed at regular intervals around a home or near sites that are at high risk of termite attack. Finding and treating termites is never an exact science.  Termites are not actually attracted to the bait stations. They simply “stumble” upon the bait stations during their regular foraging and begin feeding on the wood or cellulose in the station. A pest control technician checks the stations on a regular basis and can tell when there has been termite activity inside a station.

Termites that feed on the bait don’t die immediately, they live long enough to return to the colony and recruit other termites to the bait as well. Termites that never feed directly at the bait stations can also be affected by sharing of food or grooming within the colony. Termite baiting usually results in a gradual decline in termite numbers, while some baits may even eradicate entire termite colonies. The termite monitors are left in place after control is assumed so that any new infestations can be treated as well with ongoing monitoring and re-baiting as needed.

There are many advantages to a baiting system for termites; it is very customer-friendly. There is no trenching or digging up the yard. There is no injection of chemicals inside your home, or outside either. You don’t even have to be home for a technician to service the bait stations. The bait that is used is of very low toxicity to people and animals and the bait stations are child-resistant. Termite baiting is truly a “green” way to eliminate termites.

At Colonial, we rely on a termite baiting system called the Sentricon Termite Colony Elimination System which uses Recruit HD termite bait. After inspecting your home for termites, we place the child-resistant Sentricon stations in the ground around your home. Although there is enough bait in a single station to eliminate an entire termite colony, our trained technicians visit your home twice each season to check the stations and replace bait as needed. The monitors remain in the ground year round, protecting your home from termites. For more information about termite baiting systems, give us a call.

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