Photo by Malcolm Tattersall
Termite baiting is usually used as follows: Plastic termite stations are bought and placed around the perimeter of a home, every 10 feet or so. Inside these stations is some unprotected wood (the bait) that can be inspected every month for termite activity. If activity is found inside the station then a toxic bait can be placed inside the station.
The termites inside the stations will now feed on the toxic bait instead of just the untreated wood. The toxic bait will start killing off the termites and will then be spread to other termites in the colony as well.
However, these outside (in-ground) termite bait stations do not deal with the problem if termites have already reached and infested your home. To overcome this problem, above ground bait stations were created.
Above ground bait stations can be placed over a termite tube, trial or any other type of wood that may be infected in your home. This is an effective method of baiting the termites which have already reached your house.
Advance Termite Bait System
The popular Advance Baiting System places termite bait stations around the perimeter of your home. It’s a non-invasive termite solution, so it doesn’t require any trenches to be dug in your garden or for any holes to be made in your walls. It’s designed so that it can be locked away securely, so that no pets or children will interfere with the system.
Advance uses a dual stage process designed to mimic the termite’s natural feeding habits. It doesn’t just use wood as the bait as the Advance system has its own special food source that termites have been found to prefer. Overall the Advance baiting system works in a very similar fashion to the ways of the Sentricon baiting system.
Sentricon Termite Colony Elimination System
Sentricon is a complete all-in-one system that is not designed to be used with any other products such as liquid termiticides. Originally developed in Florida during the 90’s it’s now become widely available across the USA and even internationally.
So how does the Sentricon baiting system manage to spread it’s toxins to the whole termite colony. Well, after the termites have eaten the toxic wood inside the baiting stations they are allowed to come and go as they please.
One of the major jobs of a termite worker is that it has to feed other members inside the colony. It does this by regurgitating the food it has eaten and in doing so it spreads the toxins that it has just consumed in the Sentricon system. For this to work effectively the toxin cannot work too fast, as the termites need to given time to spread on the poison, so there is a delay in how long it takes the toxins used in Sentricon to work.
Sentricon uses the insect growth regulator called Hexaflumuron. Hexaflumuron works because it’s inhibits the termites ability to grow. When termites grow they molt their exoskeleton, in a similar way that snakes do. So, by feeding the termites hexaflumuron, they are unable to grow properly and die during their next molting process. Once all all the termites workers in the colony have died there will be no one left to take care of the young or queen – so eventually the colony dies. This is how the Sentricon Baiting System works for both its above-ground and in-ground baiting stations.
An alternative to the Sentricon Baiting System is the FirstLine System, developed by the FMC corporation in Philadelphia. The First Line System works the same way as the Sentricon System in that the stations are inspected every month and the baits are replaced with toxic baits once termites are discovered.
However, the FirstLine System works slightly differently because it’s used in combination with a liquid termiticide treatment method. The FirstLine System uses sulfluramid which is a toxin that affects the termites stomach and its ability to produce energy.
This chemical is faster acting than the hexaflumuron used in the Sentricon system and so a low concentration of sulfluramid is used in First Line System, allowing the termites to survive for 3 weeks before being killed. This chemical is used in combination with the liquid termiticide that is placed around the perimeter of your home, acting as a line of defence to deter any further infestation, rather than as a way to eliminate the termite problem.
Overall FirstLine is a great alternative to Sentricon, but I don’t recommend it if you’re on a budget or installing the baiting system by yourself.
Summary Of The Termite Bait System
Termite bait systems are more environmentally friendly as they tend to not use as many chemicals. Liquid termiticide solutions often require many gallons of termiticide chemicals to placed around the perimeter of your home which is potentially far more harmful.
Baiting is also a better option if you have people who are sensitive to chemicals living in your home. Baiting systems are the termite control solution that must be used if a body of water within 50 feet of your property, as liquid treatments can contaminate the water. And not to forget, baiting systems don’t require lots of invasive work such as digging trenches and drill holes that is required in other termite treatments.
However, there are some downsides. Termites don’t always eat the bait and sometimes they may decide to feed elsewhere, so the solution can take time and isn’t the fastest option available. You also have to monitor your stations every month which can be a chore and the stations do not protect your home directly, so any termites living in the house may not be killed off, unless an above ground baiting station is used.
Overall, termite baiting systems are a great method of not only controlling any existing termite infestations, but also for preventing any future problems. Whilst it’s expensive it is cheaper than having a full fumigation of your home.
Most people opt for a pest control company to set up their termite bait stations, however there are some people who want to save money and do the process by themselves.