Termite Control Systems

For many years termite control involved a chemical barrier around the foundation and underneath a home. This approach did not always work because termites found gaps in the barrier. The treatment often involved drilling inside the home. Some homeowners thought this was disruptive and inconvenient.

Scientists devised a system of controlling termites before they get to the foundation of the house. The system is called “baiting” but is actually a system of termite monitoring stations. Several manufacturers make these systems. There are different kinds of stations and several brand names. The basic principles are similar in many ways.

The monitoring stations are installed in the soil around the house. They are spaced to improve the chance that termites will find them. Stations are also placed near likely termite targets, like tree stumps. They are also placed in areas where termites are likely to be — in shady areas and near downspouts and air conditioner drip lines.

The stations are checked on a regular schedule. Since subterranean termites are most active in warm weather, the monitors show more termite activity during the spring and summer. However, in some areas of the country, it is normal for termites to be active all year. In freezing or snowy weather, the termites would not normally be active, so the monitors are not normally checked during those times.

The monitoring stations usually contain pieces of un–treated wood. When termites attack a monitor, it is called a “hit”. When the hit is discovered, the pieces of wood may be replaced with a matrix that has been treated with an active ingredient.

The termites eat the matrix with the active ingredient. When the termites go back to the nest, they share it with their nest mates. Some systems use an active ingredient that kills the termites. These systems can eliminate termites fairly quickly.

Other systems use chemicals that affect the termites as they develop. These chemicals, called growth regulators, may not take effect for some time. The benefit is that the termites are not frightened away from the station.

After the termites have been killed and there is no more activity in the station, the active ingredient matrix is usually removed. Depending on the system, the wood monitoring device is usually re–installed and the inspection schedule resumes.

Several of these bait systems were designed for pest control professionals. Some of these systems can be combined with liquid treatments of all or part of the home. Some bait systems were designed to be “stand–alone” systems.

Some termite bait systems were designed for homeowners to use. Some of these are available at home or garden centers.

Baiting systems are successful for controlling termites if they are installed correctly and monitored regularly. When termite activity is discovered, the active ingredient matrix must be installed. It is also important to monitor the active ingredient matrix to be sure the termites do not eat it all and move on to another food source.