Agserv’s Northern Region Manager Richard Lawrence shares his troubleshooting tips for problems with termite baiting. 

Termite baiting has been around for some time with a number of companies producing their own baits. Each system is slightly different, but each claims great feeding performance to eliminate termite colonies. Yet, we’ve had feedback over the last twelve months from our colleagues in the field, that termites are just not taking the bait.

If termites do not take the bait, the work we do as pest managers increases with additional visits, resulting in potentially unhappy customers.

Two common questions we receive include, “Have techniques changed since termite baits became available?” and “Are we doing it right?” Experienced termite professionals know baiting is not a quick set and forget; we’ve always got to pay close attention and question what may be going on.

Here are our top six reasons why termites may not be taking your bait:

    1. The mixed bait is either too wet or too dry. Different products require different amounts of water to be added. Even after following instructions on the label, as you always should do, the manufacturers often recommend that the bait needs to be either slightly wetter (in dry seasons) or dryer (in wet seasons).
    2. Contaminated liquid is used to mix bait. The water type used by pest managers may have a negative effect on the bait. Manufacturers tend to recommend distilled or de- ionised water; by using spring water, tank water, tap water or blue Gatorade, the effectiveness of the bait can vary.
    3. Are your termites disturbed? Termite disturbance can result from the actions of the pest manager when installing bait or by the occupants of the property constantly checking or poking holes in the area looking for dead termite bodies. Make sure you take care during installation and tell your customers to leave the bait alone!
    4. Is your bait tasty to termites? Mixing active ingredient with your own bait matrix does not necessarily mean the termites will consume it – manufacturers spend time and money in research to create palatable bait. That said, even manufacturers’ baits are not palatable to all termites, all of the time. But is it the product or is it what you do with it that makes the bait unpalatable? We are often told contamination through sweat and cigarette smoke can reduce feeding, which is one of the reasons we are advised to use latex gloves when mixing and using the bait. So where are you keeping your gloves?
    5. We put it in the wrong place! Is it possible you’ve put the bait in the wrong place to get termites feeding? Did you place it ‘anywhere’ on termite activity, or did you locate the bait on the feeding front?
    6. The above-ground station has not been mounted properly. Did you use the correct sealant to mount the above-ground station? The favourite is “No More Gaps” or simple tape – if you use an alternative you need to make sure it’s not repellent.

Hopefully these tips and questions have you thinking about how you bait your termites. Is the solution as simple as putting your gloves into a plastic container? Or does the answer involve a more complex bait approach?

It’s important to remember, that of all the techniques pest managers use, baiting is the one that requires the most attention to detail and indeed skill – it’s where a termite professional can really show their expertise.

Richard LawrenceAgserv, Northern Region Manager