How Often Should Termite Bait Stations Be Checked?

Indooroopilly resident, Wendy asks

“How often do termite bait stations need to be checked? Monthly, weekly, or just every so often, and does it cost more to have more frequent inspections? Thanks.”

 

Hi Wendy. This is a great question for a number of reasons which I’ll cover in just a moment, but the biggest one is most definitely avoiding pest control companies that recommend having them checked every 3 or 4 months. Not only is that nonsense, it puts your home at risk. Here’s why.

But before getting into that, it’s important that homeowners understand how termite bait stations work, because once you understand how they work, it will be easier to understand why servicing them at regular intervals is crucial.

How a termite bait system works

Here at Pest-Ex, we use a product called the Exterra Termite Interception and Baiting System, which is designed to attract termites to the station. Once they’re settled and feeding in the station, we’re able to add bait to the system. The bait allows us to expose the termites to the chemicals that will ultimately kill them and the entire colony.

The bait stations contain timber that initially provides a source of food for the termites. We use Tasmanian Oak, which is highly palatable to termites. We also add a product called Termite Attractant, which attracts termites within a three-metre radius. The aim is to ensure that no termites miss the bait system and pass it to enter your home.

We want to attract them to the station to get them feeding as they would naturally elsewhere in the environment. When the timber is finished, which takes them between four to six weeks, they’ll abandon the unit in search of sustenance elsewhere. We check the stations we’ve installed on your property every four weeks so we can guarantee we intercept them before they move on.

To summarise –

  1. Termite bait stations are installed around the permiter of your property, usually placed 3m apart
  2. They are then filled with Tasmanian Oak, as a timber attractant
  3. We return within 4 weeks to see if termites are present
  4. If termites are present, we then add the bait, which kills off the termites

Here’s a more detailed explanation.

Adding the bait

If we find live termites feeding on the timber in the unit, we then add the bait. We don’t disturb them in the process, because you don’t want to cause any type of disruption that might lead them to moving elsewhere. The bait, which looks a bit like a mashed potato, is called “Requiem” and is comprised of wood cellulite, the material termites consume in timber. Once we add bait to the station, we seal the lockable lid. The termites feed on the bait, inadvertently ingesting and absorbing the chemicals we’ve placed in the station.

The elimination process now begins. The bait doesn’t kill the termites immediately. It contains a non-toxic chemical that affects the growth regulation process in termites. They molt between three and seven times a year. Requiem disrupts this process, so when termites shed their exoskeleton, it doesn’t grow back.

By exposing a few thousand termites in the station to the bait, we can eliminate hundreds of thousands of termites in their colony. Termites move between the bait stations and their main nest. When they return to the main nest, they then expose the other termites to the chemicals and in this way, the entire colony is eventually eliminated.

When we do our monthly inspection of the bait stations, we also monitor termite activity within them. Each station is bar-coded, so we are systematically able to track the progress of the termite bait/monitoring systems. This monitoring and maintenance system allows us to bring termites under control within 6 to 18 months.

Timing for each inspection is everything

If you miss the window during which the termites are feeding on the internal components of the station, you lose the opportunity to expose them to the bait. You then run the risk of the termites abandoning the stations, and the process will fail.

If you’ve had a bait system installed by another company, and they didn’t eliminate termites, they probably didn’t service the stations as frequently as they should have. We’ve come across situations when clients have been quoted site inspections every eight weeks in order to save costs, which is not advised. Bait stations should be checked monthly, no longer.

What we tend to see are pest control companies offering cheap quotes, in order to get customers. They do this by reducing the frequency of their inspections. Unlike Pest-Ex (we perform monthly inspections) many companies opt to check the stations once every 2 or 3 months, which is high risk, because as said – once the timber is eaten out of the bait station, termites will simply move onto the next available food source, and that can be your home.

This is why its absolutely vital that each station is checked at least every 4 weeks.

In other words, avoid cheap quotes, or at least ask how often the stations will be inspected.

Pest-Ex adheres to Australian Standards

Pest-Ex adheres to Australian Standard recommendations about the placement of each bait station. In the past, Australian standards recommended placement of each bait stations four metres apart. They have since amended this to a three-metre spacing system, which is more effective.

You risk two consequences if you place the stations too far apart. The first is that foraging termites may simply “miss” a station and gain access to your house in search of food. A three-meter gap between each station is optimal and will offer protection for the entire perimeter of your home.

The other concern is that by having too few stations on your property, each one could become overloaded with termites. A colony can consist of hundreds of thousands of termites. If a station becomes overcrowded with termites, they’ll consume the inner materials too rapidly. Once they’ve eaten the timber, they’ll abandon the station, and move elsewhere, potentially undetected.

So while it’s essential that your bait stations are properly maintained once a month, it’s also vital to space them appropriately. In this way, we can guarantee adequate protection for your home and ensure termites are eliminated for good.

Once we’ve eradicated the termite colony, we remove left over bait and replace it with timber again. We can then pick up any fresh termite activity that occurs with ease. Remember, baiting stations don’t attract termites from outlying areas to your property. Instead, they’re designed to protect your property from batches of foraging termites that happen to enter your yard. They attract newcomers to a station before they can enter your home and cause damage. This early detection of termites will save you thousands of dollars in the long term.

Ready to work with Pest-Ex?

All our pest control professionals have the required training and certification to install and service termite bait stations, and the high-quality materials we use in them. Call us, and we’ll be able to install and maintain a system that’ll eliminate your termite problem for good.

Give us a call today, we look forward to hearing from you.