You screamed when you saw your cupboard filled with white, ant-like insects, eating the boxes of your dry goods. Imagine yourself seeing them munching your important papers Deeds, Certificate of Title, and car registration — you’ll definitely go beyond screaming. Before it happens, be informed, get an overview of termite baiting and prevent infestation before they invade your home completely.
On killing off termites — Traditional and alternative ways
Any pest-control expert worth his grain of salt will tell you there are a number of ways to kill off termites. You can go traditional or you can go alternative. The traditional way is to use chemicals for barrier treatments, soaking the structure’s surroundings with termite-killing chemicals to prevent the termites from getting near the structure being protected in the first place. Other alternative methods of controlling termite infestation are moisture control and foaming, earth-wood contact prevention, pesticide treatments, and termite baiting which is being bannered as a great alternative to barrier treatments.
While each method may be effective to a certain extent, and where a combination of the foregoing methods is used, it is best to remember that in pest control, prevention is better than cure. There lies the beauty of termite baiting.
What is termite baiting
Termite baiting is a preventive method of detecting and controlling termites before they even begin to be a problem. This simple process makes use of termite baits which can be cardboard, paper, or other materials that termites eat or consume as food. These materials are soaked in substances that are deadly yet slow-acting when consumed by termites. In termite baiting, the paper or board or wood material has to be made tastier and more attractive compared to other surrounding collaterals like tree stumps, wood piles, or wooden structures.
In termite baiting, care must be exercised in the amount of pesticide combined with the bait material. Too much and the termites will be quickly killed, but with all those dead termites around, the rest of the colony will avoid the area. The delayed-reaction reagents will ensure that the lethal substances will be transmitted to as many termites as possible. Even those that have not yet sampled the bait material may be exterminated by contact with those termites that have already fed on the material and are thus ‘infected’.
How is termite baiting done
Termite baits may be set up in bait stations either above- or below-ground. Above-ground, the baits are set up in areas where there is already evident termite action. The termite tunnels and pathways are destroyed or disrupted and an alternative route, where the bait lies, is provided for the termites that then find the bait stations irresistible.
Underground, the termite bait may be installed in the area of active termite feeding or tunneling. Or the bait may be set up near the structure being protected. Initially, untreated bait is first set up until the termites have gone for it. Thereupon, the untreated bait is replaced with the treated one.
So whether above- or below-ground, you set up the pre-baiting process and attract termite workers foraging for food with tasty untreated wood or carton. As they bloat themselves, they bring the leftovers back to the colony. A pattern is established that the foraging termite workers keep coming back for the ‘untreated bait’ but the next time around, the ‘food’ will be treated. On the assumption that the workers bring back the ‘bounty’ to the colony, you can assume the whole colony will sooner or later die out from the treated bait.
You can combine the termite baiting with other methods like soil treatment. This actually allows you more control as you can plot where you can leave out the termite bait in the ground areas where the soil is not treated. Even if the termites avoid the treated ground portion, they’ll be sure to pass by the bait and get ‘hooked’.
The pros and cons of termite baiting
Termite baiting can be advantageous in terms of providing additional termite control measures, especially where traditional methods seem to be failing. Termite baiting, especially the above-ground scheme, is more environment friendly as no soil contamination is foreseen. The structure is not disrupted or affected. The preventive aspect is enhanced as even before the termites reached the structure, the baits have countered them.
On the other hand, if you’re out to kill the colony, baiting can be more time-consuming and effort-intensive. With the slow-acting chemicals, there is a risk that the structure is slightly damaged first, as the termites get to it, before the chemicals run their lethal course. And baiting, when outsourced to extermination or pest-control contractors, may be more expensive because of the several visits or treatments that the whole process will entail.