Success With Above-ground Termite Baiting

Agenda Termite Bait from Envu has been designed to maximise termite feeding and allow for quick, easy and flexible installation.

Termite baiting is the only proven technique to reliably deliver colony control. However, termite baiting is one of the more challenging pest control techniques. Integral to success is getting the termites feeding on the bait. To get reliable feeding certainly requires a high palatability termite bait, but the skill of the pest manager is equally important. A number of elements need to be considered to ensure optimal performance.

Understanding termite foraging behaviour allows pest managers to make good decisions when it comes to termite baiting. One key element of a termite inspection is to map out all the areas of termite activity, but for termite baiting it is particularly important to locate the areas where termites are actually feeding. Mud tubes and hollow wood can clearly show high levels of termite activity, but these aren’t areas where the termites are actually feeding – these are simply areas of high termite traffic as they move between the nest and the feeding site. It’s important to determine the feeding areas, as that’s where the bait should be placed – why try and get the termites to move to a different feeding site by placing the bait elsewhere?

It is also important that bait should be applied to all termite feeding areas within the structure. Apart from increasing the chances of getting quick feeding by placing bait at multiple sites within the building, it cannot be assumed that the activity detected is all from one nest. It is not uncommon for multiple nests to attack the same property at the same time, and this is especially the case for multi-nesters such as Schedorhinotermes and Heterotermes.

In terms of choosing a high performing bait, the intrinsic palatability of the cellulose used in the bait is clearly important, but there are some other attributes of the bait that can influence both the initial acceptance of the bait and whether they continue feeding over time. These two elements are the moisture level in the bait and the size of the bait station.

Termites are attracted to areas of high moisture, so a bait that is moist at the time of application and retains moisture over time is important. Moisture retention in the bait depends on the bait station design or packaging around the bait (to prevent evaporation) and also the size of the bait station (larger baits will retain moisture for longer). The size of the bait station is in itself important, as termites will preferentially choose larger food sources. Of course, the larger the food source the longer it will last, and it’s important that the bait station doesn’t run out of bait in between inspections.

 

Packet of Envu's Agenda termite bait eaten by termites
The high palatability bait matrix with retained moisture means termites keep feeding until colony elimination

 

Placement, palatability, moisture and bait size may be the main drivers in ensuring good feeding, but the design of the bait product is also important to ensure ease of handling and installation.

One vital consideration when handling termite baits is to avoid contamination. Termites are very sensitive to odours so when preparing a bait for installation it’s important to avoid any potential contamination. That’s why it’s important not to touch the bait – using disposable latex gloves is essential. The use of distilled water is also recommended to avoid introducing chemicals to the bait mix.

In preparing the bait for installation, pest managers also need a product that can be prepared quickly and without mess. This allows installation to be quick and professional in the eyes of the customer.

In combining all these attributes, it’s also important to have a termite bait that can be applied to a wide variety of situations. The termite feeding sites can be wide and varied, not only inside houses, but in subfloors, in roof voids, outside, on trees and in in-ground bait stations. Having one product that can be used no matter the situation makes the pest manager’s job a lot easier.

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