Termite control using termite bait stations

Termite control is quite easy to carry out, depending on the system you use, and how early you detect the termites. The most effective termite control methods involve detecting termites early on, and then baiting them to eat poison laced feed. Its principles are simple, but highly effective in preventing termites from getting into a building in the first place.

More on termite bait stations

One of the pioneer systems based on this approach is the Sentricon system. The Sentricon system (and all other similar termite baiting systems) works by baiting termites using wood as bait in shallow “stations” installed around the perimeter of a building. These systems are collectively referred to as termite baiting systems. The number of stations would vary, depending on the size of the building, but they are usually installed a very short distance from the main perimeter of the building foundations. A large building may require numerous stations installed at intervals of 10 feet. Stations can also be installed near any potential termite foraging spot, like a nearby wood stump.

How termite baiting works

The station itself is usually made of plastic, and dug into the soil. There is a cover at the top to keep the station dark and the elements out, providing an ideal spot for the termites to forage. There are small slits on the sides of the station for any termites to enter the station. Two small pieces of wood are placed into the bait station and periodically checked for foraging termites (every couple of months). Too frequent checking is not recommended, as this might scare away the termites.

Foraging worker termites from any colony within the vicinity of the building will then discover the wood and proceed to devour it. Once an inspection of the bait station reveals termites, some slow acting poison (like hexaflumuron/sulfluramid/chlorflurazuron) which slowly kills the termites is placed on the wood, OR bait laced with the poison is placed into a perforated tube which is then placed into the station.

The termites then devour the wood and ingest the slow acting poison, which they then pass onto their other nest mates throughout the colony, by means of trophallaxis. In this way, the termite colony is wiped out slowly.

Once the termite colony is wiped out, periodic monitoring of the bait station needs to be carried out every few months, for an indefinite period. This is because an elimination of a colony does not mean another colony won’t replace it from an adjacent area. The effectiveness of termite baiting stations is somewhat limited to certain subterranean termite species like Coptotermes; others like Macrotermes species do not readily respond to baiting, but then again they are not pests of buildings to begin with.

Termite bait station

(Above) A termite bait station in the garden.

Termite bait insecticide

(Above) Termite bait insecticide mixed with a filler cellulose-based material.

Wood laced with termite insecticide

(Above) Wood laced with termite insecticide is placed inside the bait station. The poison (white powder) shown here may be imidacloprid.

Wood in a termite bait station

(Above) The wood placed in the bait station appears to get attacked by termites after a while.

Termite bait station reveals termites

(Above) Examination of the wood in the termite bait station reveals subterranean termites (Coptotermes spp).

Termite eaten wood in a bait station

(Above) A few months later, the wood is completely eaten through, and the termite insecticide should have begun to take effect. This wood needs to be replaced with fresh wood to test for new termite presence.

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