How do termite baits work?

Termite baits consist of a highly attractive termite food (cellulose) and a special slow acting insecticide called an insect growth regulator. (Cellulose is a main component of wood).

Termites feed on the bait and take it back to the nest where it is feed to other members of the colony including the queen. The bait immediately “sterilises” the queen, as she can no long produce viable eggs. It doesn’t kill the termites immediately. The insect growth regulator in termite baits prevents the termites building new cuticles. The young termites (nymphs) and worker termites periodically shed their skins as they grow. When they are affected by termite bait, they can’t build new cuticles and when they try and moult, they die.

How long do termite baits take to work?

As not all the termites in the nest moult at the same time, it takes time for the termite nest to die. Typically it can take between several weeks to a couple of months during the warmer months (depending on the size of the nest), but longer in winter (as the rate of moulting slows down).

How safe are termite baits?

Termite baits are a very safe method of control. The insecticide in termite baits – insect growth regulators – do not impact mammals and humans. And although they do impact the young stages of insects, as it is incorporated into the termite bait, it will not get ingested by other insects and so it is a very targeted termite control technique.

Different types of termite baits

Termite baits can be applied to areas of termite activity in buildings, in “above ground bait stations” and installed in the ground as a protective measure as “in-ground bait stations”.

There are two types of in-ground termite baiting systems. The traditional termite baiting system uses wood in the bait stations to attract the termites and when the termites are found feeding on the wood, termite bait is added to the bait station. The newer types of termite baiting system have long lasting termite bait included in the bait stations from the time of installation, which means they are working from the start to protect your home.

With all baiting systems, it is important to have them inspected regularly (generally between 6 weeks and 3 months), to check for activity and top up the bait if necessary.

More articles on termite products and techniques.

Go to our information pages for detailed information on termites and termite treatments.


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