Subterranean termites live below ground in large colonies, so you may not even know they have set up house near your home until it's too late. Barrier pesticide applications, where the perimeter of the home is treated with a termiticide, is one common way to prevent the pests from ever damaging the home. Another method is with a termite bait. This guide will outline the benefits and basic methodology of the baiting method of control, so you can make an informed choice.
The barrier method only kills termites that try to make there way into your home, but it doesn't harm any nearby colonies. This means the termites can still infest untreated wood on your property, such as play and garden structures. Baits are taken back to the colony by the termites that find them, which then leads to the destruction of the entire colony.
Baits also acts as a monitoring station. You can check baits to see if termites have been present, which alerts you of any potential infestations before they occur. With the barrier method, you have no way of knowing if there are any termites on your property.
Bait systems vary, but most consist of a food source. This may be wood or paper pulp, although wood is often used in monitoring stations because it decomposes slowly. If termites are detected, the wood bait is switched for paper bait.
Bait stations are installed at intervals around the perimeter of your home, where they are inserted into the ground. Foraging termites then find the bait and take it back to the main nest, where the tainted food then destroys the colony.
Once the colony has collapsed and no more termites are feeding on the bait, the bait trap is once again replaced with wood. Your pest control company will then monitor it at regular intervals to make sure there are no survivors and that no new colony takes up residence on your property.
The amount of time it takes from installation to complete control varies, so there is no exact timeline. This is in part because termites do not find their food sources by scent, but instead they send out scouts that will stumble upon it. The more bait that is installed around your home, the more likely that a scout will find it quickly. It doesn't take long for the entire colony to be exposed and poisoned once the bait is discovered, but once again the time it takes for full colony collapse varies depending on the size of the colony.
Once a colony has been discovered, baited, and destroyed, your pest control company, one like Ecostar Pest Control, will continue to monitor the traps indefinitely. They may also show you how to monitor the bait stations, so you won't need to pay for their services unless a new termite infestation is discovered in a station.