A Guide to Termite Bait Stations

Barrier treatments have been the industry standard when it comes to preventing or treating a termite infestation, but there is a new method available that may work better for you, baiting. The following guide will help you better understand the termite bait system option.

What is Termite Bait?

Termite bait consists of cellulose, which is the wood fiber that termites feed upon, combined with a slow acting insecticide. The idea is that termite scouts gather the bait and bring it back to their nests. Within days to a few weeks, the termites die and the entire nest can be destroyed -- long before the pests gain access to your home. A bait station consists of a plastic tube that contains the bait. The bait stations are then periodically monitored for activity.

Where are Baits Placed?

The tubes are placed into small holes around the perimeter of your home where foraging termites are likely to find them.This is generally in intervals around the house or in areas where termites or their damage has been observed. There are also bait varieties that are designed to be used indoors, such as to monitor for termite activity in an area that had a previous infestation. Unlike barrier systems, baits do not have to completely encircle the perimeter of your home in order to be effective.

Do Baits Attract Termites?

Bait does not attract termites, but it does waylay foraging termites that are making a path to your home already. Once a termite finds a bait station, though, more termites will visit it. This is because foraging termites lay down a colony-specific bait trail, which other members of their colony will use to come to the newly found "food" source. This is a good thing, since it means more termites will be taking the bait back to the colony and will increase the chance of the colony being destroyed.

When Should Baiting Be Used?

A major reason homeowners opt for bait over barrier treatments is that bait installation is less invasive compared to laying down a barrier treatment. For example, an exterminator may need to drill into patios or sidewalks to apply a full barrier treatment. Baiting should only be used if you don't have an active termite infestation in your home, though. Since baits act slowly, they will not quickly eliminate termites if you already have them.

Contact an exterminator in your area to discuss termite control bait systems further.