For decades, the standard way of treating subterranean termites was to use liquid pesticides applied directly to the soil. A continuous barrier of termiticide was applied along foundation walls, both inside and outside, and around piers and other structural areas. Drilling into slabs or dirt-filled porches was usually required for a thorough treatment and often left unsightly, patched over holes in and around a structure. This traditional termite treatment typically required hundreds of gallons of pesticide and could fail if even a small untreated area was missed.
Alternative Treatment: Termite Bait Stations
Termite baiting uses a different approach altogether. Bait is used in strategically placed termite bait stations around a structure and foraging termites ingest the bait and infect other termites when they return to the colony. The poison in the bait is designed to work slowly for a couple of reasons. If the bait works too fast, dead termites will accumulate near the bait stations and cause other termites to avoid the area, and it would not give the infected termites enough time to take the poison back to the colony before they died.
Effective control of termites using termite bait stations involves three basic steps:
Proper installation is key to the effectiveness of bait stations. Each station is usually placed about 12 feet apart in a continuous line around a structure including the foundation, slabs, porches, etc. Special attention is given to suspect areas, previously infested areas and any other location that is deemed critical. An experienced pest control technician will be able to determine if the intervals should be decreased because of various circumstances. Termites feed in multiple places in their foraging area, so the more stations there are, the more likely a termite will find the food source.
Monitoring and Baiting
Once the initial installation is completed, each station is then monitored to detect any termite activity.
Each station contains a piece or pieces of wood that attract termites that may be foraging in the area.
The stations at this point contain no termiticide bait, only the wood. Once termite activity is detected in a station, the wood is removed and the cellulose material that contains the bait is inserted into the station. To speed the process along, termites that had been foraging on the wood are put back into the station so they can quickly ingest the bait and get the poison back to the colony to infect the other termites.
The bait stations will continue to be monitored until termites are no longer found feeding in the bait stations. Once this happens, the stations are again filled with wood and the process starts over again. Even though there are no termites found foraging, there is always the risk that part of the original colony survived, other colonies have moved into the area foraging, etc. This cycle of attracting and then poisoning termites is very simple but also very effective. If properly monitored, the use of bait stations makes it almost impossible for termites to survive long enough to do any damage.