Using above-ground baits containing hexaflumuron is a proven strategy for controlling active termites.
When a homeowner calls suspecting a termite infestation in their home, you can hear the panic in their voice. Your first priority and in fact your duty of care, is to rid their home of termites as quickly and as effectively as possible. Effective eradication means colony elimination, otherwise the termites could simply relocate to another area of the house and continue their feeding.
Sentricon AG (above ground) bait stations from Corteva Agriscience, provide a proven solution and are the go-to option for many experienced professional pest managers, being specifically designed for remedial treatment where termites are known to be and need to be controlled. Research has demonstrated their effectiveness, with hit rates within days of installation and elimination within weeks (Haagsma and Bean, 1998; Lee, 2002; Messenger et al., 2005; Sajap et al., 2000; Sajap et al., 2002).
The AG station comprises a plastic housing with one side open to allow termite access. The housing is mounted on a surface where termites are known to be active. To prepare the bait matrix, add water and massage to a doughy consistency. Open the termite mud tube or workings to expose the termites to the station. Quickly, cut a large opening in the bag and place the matrix into the station, squeezing part of the matrix into the termite feeding line to encourage rapid uptake. Close the station with the screws provided and then seal the station to prevent any airflow. Detailed instructions on installation can be found within the current Sentricon Technical Manual and in the Pest Managers’ Resources on the Sentricon website.
There are a few tricks to achieve the rapid success with AG stations. These can be grouped into tips around choosing the site of installation and tips around the installation process itself. As AG stations will have most success if they are mounted in front of the termites’ feeding line, it is paramount to identify all termite feeding fronts to ensure a rapid ‘hit’. Many sites have two or more colonies attacking a structure, and as termites forage in a radial pattern, there should be multiple feeding fronts; install an AG station in front of each feeding line.
Use every tool available to assist with locating the termites, these may include dogs, infra-red camera, moisture meter, and sound detectors (Weissling and Thoms, 1999), as these have been found to increase hits. Termites follow wood grain, take advantage of wood joins and prefer moist areas, so use this information to install stations in preferred feeding areas.
Correct installation is also essential. Termites don’t like disturbance; mount stations as quietly and quickly as possible and use wooden monitors to assist station mounting on uneven surfaces. It’s also advised to use ambient temperature water to mix the bait matrix. Some pest managers use Gatorade or sugar water, others use on-site water, whether this be rain water, town water or bore water. Use sufficient water to create a doughy to wet consistency, as it is important to ensure the moisture content inside the station is desirable to termites.
The environment within the station should be the same as the termites feeding line, so preventing air flow is essential through sealing (as shown in main picture, above). Many sealants are available, but it’s important to only use a non-odour solution, both in sealants and tapes. The water-based Selley’s No More Gaps is a preferred sealant.
Termite management consultant, Shane Clarke, has provided some expert advice on hunting termites, installation of AG stations and correct use of AG stations, which can be viewed through the Sentricon Australia Youtube channel and website.
Sentricon AG and Sentricon AlwaysActive (in-ground) stations have the same active ingredient, hexaflumuron, and together provide a complete system of remedial control and protection that doesn’t suffer from any antagonism between active ingredients.
Corteva senior scientist Dr Joe DeMark recommends that when controlling active termites, systems like Sentricon (AG and IG stations) that use the same active ingredient deliver proven nest elimination. When dealing with an active infestation, using two or more products based on different active ingredients can actually be ineffective, as actives with different modes of action impact termite behaviour differently. This can significantly impact the ability of the treatment to deliver colony elimination.
In fact, active ingredients that are promoted as ‘faster’ often result in relocation of the feeding site without colony elimination. Chouvenc (2018) found this effect with fipronil where termites killed quickly repelled the colony from the application site without any impact on the colony. Which brings us back to the first point – that any termite control activities must be both fast and effective.
Chouvenc, T. 2018. Comparative impact of chitin synthesis inhibitor baits and non-repellent liquid termiticides on subterranean termite colonies over foraging distances: colony elimination versus localized termite exclusion. J. Econ. Entomol. 111: 2317–2328.
Haagsma, K. A., and J. Bean. 1998. Evaluation of a hexaflumuron- based bait to control subterranean termites in southern California (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae). Sociobiol. 31: 363–369.
Lee, C.-Y. 2002. Control of foraging colonies of subterranean termites, Coptotermes travians
(Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) in Malaysia using Hexaflumuron baits. Sociobiol. 39: 411–416.
Messenger, M. T., N.-Y. Su, C. Husseneder, and J. K. Grace. 2005. Elimination and reinvasion studies with Coptotermes formosanus (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) in Louisiana. J. Econ. Entomol. 98: 916–929.
Sajap, A. S., S. Amit, and J. Welker. 2000. Evaluation of hexaflumuron for controlling the subterranean termite Coptotermes curvignathus (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) in Malaysia. J. Econ. Entomol. 93: 429–433.
Sajap, A. S., M. A. Jafaar, and D. Ouimette. 2002. Above-ground baiting for controlling the subterranean termite, Coptotermes travians (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) in Selangor, Peninsular Malaysia. Sociobiol. 39: 345–352.
Weissling, T. J., and E. M. Thoms. 1999. Use of an acoustic emissions detector for locating Formosan subterranean termite (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) feeding activity when installing and inspecting aboveground termite bait stations containing hexaflumuron. Fla. Entomol. 82: 60–71.