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TERMITE BAITING – TIME IS MONEY

With proven speed of performance, using Xterm termite bait can help pest managers save both time and money. 

Whenever termite baiting is discussed, ‘How long does it take?’ and ‘How much does it cost?’ are the first questions to come up, from pest professionals and homeowners alike. This is particularly the case when looking at eradicating active termites from a property. Whether you are a regular bait user, or a pest professional who avoids termite baiting due to concerns over slow performance or cost, read on.

How long does it take?

Although termite baiting is the best way to achieve colony control in the field, some termite professionals still don’t include baiting as part of their tool kit as ‘it takes too long’. Certainly, homeowners want termites removed from their property as quickly as possible, but many also want the reassurance that the colony has also been destroyed and termite baits are still the best way to achieve colony elimination.

But how long does it take? Firstly, it depends on the time of year and the species involved. Baiting on all species takes longer over winter. As their metabolism slows in the colder weather, there is reduced feeding, less brood in the colony and moulting stops. All of which reduces the impact of baits on the colony.

Due to their caste structure and developmental pathways, control of higher termites such as Nasutitermes can often take six months or more. As such, baiting on higher termites should be more of a last resort. Fortunately, baiting is much more effective on the more destructive lower termites. In the warmer months, control of termites such as Coptotermes and Schedorhinotermes can take around two to three months. However, for some customers this can still be too slow.

But what if you could achieve control of higher termites in as little as two to four weeks? In their product presentations, Sumitomo show data from field trials in Darwin that clearly demonstrates that Xterm can deliver fast control for a bait product, with many nests dead or moribund after four weeks and all nests controlled within eight weeks. Charles McClintock from Sumitomo commented, “Over the two years since launch, we have continued to get similar feedback from pest professionals – that they are amazed at the speed of performance.”

Kevin Farrell (Coolamon Pest Control) checking a Xterm IG station at the Coolamon Show Grounds

The latest Sumitomo survey of Xterm users indicated that nearly 60% of users stated Xterm was faster than their previous bait product, 40% said it was the same and only one user thought it was slower (there’s always one!). This speed of performance was particularly obvious on Coptotermes, where some operators reported control in as little as two to four weeks. The main picture above shows Xterm AG bait having been completely consumed by termites.

Why is speed important? Obviously keeping the customer happy is one reason, but another is cost. More accurately, faster performance can deliver increased profit.

Sick and dying C. frenchi approximately six weeks after placement

How much does it cost?

Many operators are focused on the cost of the components, the bait stations and the bait. However, whilst it is important, there are other factors that need to be taken into account when assessing cost. What about site registration fees and annual fees imposed by some manufacturers? There is a measureable cost here in terms of the fees paid, but there is also the ‘hidden’ cost in the administrative work to manage the registration process.

For those baiting systems that don’t offer ‘free’ bait, the amount of bait required to get control needs to be taken into account.

“The bait in Xterm uses a high concentration of chitin synthesis inhibitor, which means that far less bait is required to achieve colony control. Trials have shown that as little as 20g of bait can deliver control of large Coptotermes colonies.”

As Mr McClintock observed, “With the active level in Xterm ten times higher than some other baits on the market, it is perhaps not surprising that you need a tenth of the bait quantity to achieve control.”

But speed of performance is perhaps the biggest impact on cost – faster control means fewer visits, fewer visits means more profit.

Mr McClintock explained, “Assuming you are still charging the same amount for your termite baiting treatment, a switch to Xterm means you could make more money. When you calculate the cost benefit, it’s not just the money saved with fewer visits that needs to be taken into account, you also need to consider the jobs that could have been carried out instead of those visits. We estimate that each visit saved would be worth around $300 for the average pest company. Something to think about!

“With no fees, the potential of faster performance and less bait used, we really encourage termite professionals to have a closer look at Xterm. Which is why we are running the Xterm Challenge.”