What is Termite Bait?

Nychole Price

Termite bait is a termite control method that is used as an alternative to barrier treatment. Barrier treatments can't be used if a well or French drain is present on the property because the water may become contaminated. Bait systems don't release chemicals in the ground, making them safe for use under any condition. There are two types of termite bait systems available to homeowners; below ground and above ground systems.

Termite bait works best when placed underground.
Termite bait works best when placed underground.

Below ground termite bait systems are the most popular because the poisonous bait is out of reach of animals and small children. A bait system consists of a plastic cylinder that holds two or more pieces of treated wood. When the termites feed on the wood and take it back to the colony, it releases a slow poison that will eventually wipe out the whole colony. Below ground bait systems are recommended for use when the termite problem hasn't reached a full infestation, as the process is slow and tedious.

Termites can cause significant damage to homes and other buildings.
Termites can cause significant damage to homes and other buildings.

When below ground bait systems are initially installed, untreated wood is used. This is because once the wood is treated, it will decompose rapidly under the ground. After the bait system has been detected by the termites, the untreated wood is switched out with the bait.

The bait systems are spaced 15 to 20 feet (4.57 to 6.1 meters) apart around the perimeter of the house. Termites can't detect the bait and therefore must run into them by chance. The more bait systems available, the more likely it is that termites will run into them. The discovery process can take weeks or months, depending on the foraging habits of the termite colony.

Above ground termite bait systems look very similar to the below ground version, and use the same baiting system. This type of bait system should not be used in areas where children and pets are present, as they are highly poisonous and easily accessible. Above ground termite bait systems can be used alone, or in conjunction with the below ground version to wipe out termite infestations in a quick, efficient manner.

Installing this type of bait system involves breaking the termite's active mud tubes and positioning the bait in the tunnel. They can also be installed on top of termite-infested wood, drywall or pillars. The effects of this type of system are seen a lot quicker because the bait is placed in a path that has already been established, instead of waiting for the termites to build a new one.

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