Achieving maximum success with termite baits comes down to accurate placement and professional installation.
When installing a termite baiting system around a property, it’s not just a question of “whacking in a bait station” every three metres or so. It is important to consider placement carefully, to maximise the chance of the stations being discovered whilst following label directions. In order for baiting systems to deliver the necessary performance, this is critical. So, what do you need to consider when installing an in-ground bait station?
Maximising hits on bait stations is not just about considering the placement of the bait stations; the handling and installation of the bait stations can also have an impact.
Placement of bait stations
For Sentricon AlwaysActive for example, it is important to place the stations at least every three metres. These instructions have been developed to ensure termites find the bait stations before the house!
It’s important to place bait stations in soil that is moist or has the potential to be moist. Placing bait stations too close to the building means they will sit in soil protected by the eaves of the roof, meaning soil will remain dry for long periods. As termites like moisture, it significantly reduces the chances of a hit. The Sentricon AlwaysActive label suggests placing the bait stations between 300- 500 mm out from the foundation. This direction allows the bait station to be placed in soil that is likely to have good potential moisture, whilst still being close to the perimeter of the house.
Should there be hard surfaces around the perimeter of the home, such as paths, driveways and patios, core holes should be drilled to install the bait stations (see below). If this is not possible or not agreed upon by the homeowner, bait stations should be placed at the edge of the hard surface, where there will often be a natural moisture gradient. However, if bait stations are not installed in the hard surface areas, the lack of placement of stations every three metres should be recorded as a limitation of the treatment.
In addition to bait station placement around the perimeter of the building, it is also highly recommended to place as many extra stations as required in other areas of high potential activity on the property, for example in areas of elevated moisture or where there are other potential termite food sources.
When placing bait stations around the perimeter of the property, it is also important to consider whether a chemical treatment has previously been applied to the soil around the building. Although any chemical soil treatment should be adjacent to the building and typically only 150 mm wide, there is clearly the likelihood of chemical movement in the soil, especially down the slope. As such, if a previous soil treatment is known or suspected, it is advisable to install the bait stations 300-500 mm from the foundation wall.
Successful installation of bait stations
Firstly, termites are very sensitive to strange chemicals, so storing bait stations in sealed bags/containers away from other chemicals in the ute, and wearing disposal latex gloves when handling bait stations as well as bait, is essential.
It’s important to ensure that the bait stations are installed flush with the level of the soil. Not only does this ensure conditions within the bait station are kept optimal for termites – dark and moist – it minimises the potential for surface insects to enter the bait stations, whose presence will prevent termites from feeding.
For Sentricon AlwaysActive, a 54 mm auger creates a hole in which the bait station is firmly supported by the soil. The use of a flat piece of wood or similar in the auger will allow a smooth area to be created to allow the station to sit flush on the soil surface.
The type of soil at the site can require modification of the installation technique, particularly in sandy or clay soils. In sandy soil it may be an advantage to pour water on the area before augering the hole. The water keeps the soil firm and reduces the tendency for the hole to cave in. The Sentricon station can also be wrapped in paper or cardboard before inserting it into the hole if sandy soil is proving to be an issue. In clay soil ensure the hole is deep enough to allow water to drain out of the bait station.
For bait station maintenance a clean out auger is available. This allows the bait station to be cleared of any loose soil tree roots, for ease of termiticide rod installation.
Tips for drilling through concrete
For many properties it will be necessary to drill core holes in hard surfaces to install a complete perimeter installation. Pest managers can either contract a specialist concrete coring company or carry out the work in house. Either way, before drilling it is essential that all utility pipes – electrical, water, gas and draining – are located.
A 81-83 mm core-drill bit should be used to core through the hard surface to the soil level and then an 84 mm auger should be used to remove soil to the correct depth. The aim is for the top of the bait station to sit 6-7 mm below the top of the hard surface after installation. As such, once the hole has been drilled, it may be necessary to add some soil before installing the bait station. The 6-7 mm gap above the bait station allows for the installation of a stainless steel cap to help maintain an environment conducive to termite activity, help prevent the station from flooding, and inhibit access by other insects, curious children and pets.
Taking care over the installation of bait stations will ensure optimal performance of the system and maximum protection for the property.