It is normal to have occasional insects and pests roaming around the house. It can be isolated and it can be addressed by handy insect sprays. But just like a common saying, “Three’s a crowd” even to these insects.
Habitats of insects like ants, mosquitoes, cockroaches and rats can easily be located within the house through their droppings and trails. You can also use baits and traps to keep them at one place and exterminate them succeedingly. But there is one household enemy that is usually unseen until it creates surface damage – termites.
Annually, termites cause more than 5 billion dollars of damages. Termites never sleep and they work on growing their colonies 24/7 until the day they die. The termite queen can lay 40,000 eggs daily which explains why there can be millions of termites in a colony.
Termite species are classified into three basic groups. The damp wood termites which feed on wet and rotten wood. The dry wood termites that eat soft, dry wood. And the subterranean termites that has colonies underground and is quite hard to detect unless you get a termite control service provider.
But there is a way to detect and exterminate termite activity in the perimeter of your home. Installing termite bait stations is an affordable way to prevent termites from coming into your home when installed properly and prior to termite infestation.
Best Termite Bait Stations In 2020
Number of Baits per Pack
There are two main reasons why who should consider getting termite bait stations for your home:
- It helps you periodically monitor termite activity in the perimeter of your home.
- It helps you control termites by baiting them before they even enter your home.
It is a common misconception that termite baits kill termites at home. Although it is one of its functions, the termites must first go to the bait.
However, if termites have already found their way to your home, they already have connected their colony there and application of termite exterminating liquid by a termite control expert is necessary. Termite baits are just supplementary tools to detect and exterminate termites.
Each bait in this system has a termite inspection cartridge and wood that attract termites. Once termite activity has been confirmed through the inspection cartridge, it should be replaced with a termite bait cartridge with poison for the treatment of termites.
Note that this is not suitable for termite infestation inside the house. Liquid termite killers should do that. This aims to prevent termites from coming into your house through perimeter baiting bait stations.
To install, it is helpful to plan where to put the stations in consideration to the distance from the foundation of the house and to each of the stations.
Draw a diagram of the perimeter of your house, and mark 2 to 4 ft. from the foundation. Also, mark 10 ft distance in between each station, it can be farther but it should not be more than 20 feet.
Use a shovel or a post digger and come up with a post hole. Wear gloves as you install it because termites are very sensitive to scent and might averse your baits if you hold it directly.
The bait should be at least 9 inches deep. That will give a 3-inch allowance beneath the bait for water to flow and not get stuck and rot the wood inside the bait. You should monitor the bait stations every month from the date you installed it.
Once you see traces of termites in the inspection cartridge, replace it with the treatment cartridge. This cartridge is sold separately. Once termites eat on the cartridge they will be exterminated. Cartridges must be inspected quarterly and until cartridges clear up of termites. You will also have to purchase a bait opener separately.
Some users may find it expensive to buy the bait stations, treatment cartridges and opener separately. However, it is more practical in a sense that if you need three boxes of baits for your home, you will not have spare openers that you don’t need but are included in the cost of a set.
The rationale behind this product is easy to understand making it very easy to use. Some buyers might just be overwhelmed by the fact that you will have to buy treatment cartridges and bait opener separately. But since this is a long-term termite detection tool, it will sure be worth every penny for the accessories.
The Spectracide Termite Stakes are easy-to-install termite detection and treatment baits. The stakes are buried on the ground with only the locator shield staying on the ground level. There is a red pop-up termite indicator that goes up when termite activity is detected.
The stakes are made out of plastic with holes on the side. It has a treated cardboard inside that kills termites that get attracted to the bait. Since termites want their home dark, they will likely fill the stakes with soil and will push the red indicator up.
To install, map the perimeter of your house to plan the installation and order the necessary number of stakes. There are 15 stakes and an auger in the box. The box also has a guide for those who wish to order everything at once.
A house with less than 1,200 sq. ft. will need 10 stakes, while 1,200 to 2,500 sq. ft. will require 20 stakes. The number of stakes will also vary depending on the number of stories you have.
Once the indicator goes up, make sure to inspect each cartridge installed in the perimeter of your home and replace it with a new one. Each cartridge is good for up to two months of use. Replacements stakes are sold separately.
This product is affordable for its category and is promising although with a few rooms for improvement. It is very easy to install with everything that you might need is included in the package. However, the brand might need to refine the holes on the stakes to prevent being soaked in moisture and water.
Hex Pro Termite Baiting System comes with 10 bait stations with 10 pieces of wood monitors, lids and Hex key. It uses the wood monitor to check termite activity and needs periodic checking. Once termite is detected, the wood monitor must be replaced with a shatterbait which is sold separately.
The shatterbait contains hexaflumuron, an active ingredient to regulate insect growth and eventually lead to death. The shatterbait can also be dipped in attractants like soda or sports drinks.
Installation requires digging about 8 inches long using a trowel or an auger and must have a distance of 8 to 10 feet apart from each other and 2 to 4 feet away from the foundation. The dripline on the roof must also be taken into account to make sure that the bait stations won't get soaked when it rains.
Inspect between 30-90 days upon installation of the bait stations. The shatterbait must be checked and replaced every 30 days upon installation.
The proven effective active ingredient of the shatterbait for this termite bait station is the deal closer. However, it is still excluded from the standard package of the bait stations. This one is worth considering together with your standard termite control treatment for your home.
Important Tools You Need for Installation
This tool is the suitable hole digger for Advance Termite Bait Station and Hex Pro Termite Baiting System. These bait systems do not come with a digger since it is a standard for every household.
This tool is like a corkscrew for the ground. The size of holes it produce perfectly fits slim baiting stations like the Spectracide Termite Stakes.
It is a must to wear gloves during installation, termites are sensitive to pheromones or scents and leaving a human scent on these bait stations can lead to aversion or repel termites.
4. Poison cartridges and refills
These termite baits don’t usually come with termite poison cartridges. This is due to the main reason why you are buying these bait stations: to monitor. If there is no termite activity, there will be no use for it and you might be wasting money if it will be unused. Just order it based on the result of your monitoring.
Do You Need Termite Bait Stations?
Termite baiting system is an effective and less intrusive alternative to liquid barrier treatments for termite also known as “termiticide”. With termiticide, a liquid pesticide is applied on the ground in the perimeter of the structure and applied on the foundations and posts as well.
Termite baits are innovative as it deals with termites two ways. First, to monitor termite activity and second, to exterminate termites. Only worker termites go out of their colony to find food sources. They bring food by eating it, processing it in their stomachs and releasing it as converted sugars for the other termites to enjoy.
Contrary to the old belief, termites are not only attracted to wood. They can actually consider anything they can munch as food. Their jaws are very powerful that it can chew plastic, cloth, cardboard and paper. This is also the reason why most termite baits use these materials as attractants on the bait stations.
You need termite baits at your property because termite treatments for wood and ground are not enough. These treatments can wear off over time. While bait stations have replaceable cartridges to keep protecting your home from termites.
Factors to Consider in Choosing a Termite Bait System
1. Location of Your Property
Did you know that the location of your property can indicate how likely it is for your land to be infested by termites? Termites are cold-blooded insects and their activities are affected by temperature.
In a termite infestation probability map, termite hotspots or those who experience very heavy infestations are the following states:
- South Carolina
Nearby states are likely to experience heavy infestations. While states in the north-northeastern part of the United States can experience termite infestations the least:
- North Dakota
- Parts of South Dakota
2. Factors that May Attract Termite To Your Home
There are known factors that act like a magnet attracting termites to your home. Make sure to get rid of the following if you can:
Stocking firewood or tree cuttings on your yard will surely draw termites closer to your home. Since it is their main choice of food, your home will the closest target once woodpile is gone.
Keep the piles of wood a couple of feet away from your home with at least 5 to inches clearance from the ground. Do not stock too much and make sure to keep your wood inventory moving and replace it with a fresh batch often.
2. Leaking Pipes
Subterranean termites constantly need moisture on their nest. Plumbing problems will likely attract termites to your home. This problem is definitely preventable with periodic tests don by your trusted plumber.
3. Clogged Gutters
Clogged gutters are caused by leaves and twigs that built up in the gutters of the roof. The moisture from leaves and water build up will soften and rot the wooden parts of your roof structure. This will potentially start termite infestation in your roof. Aside from plumbing checks, your gutters must also be kept free from whatever may be clogging it.
3. If your home had previous infestations
Termite infestation is an expensive and exhausting ordeal. And after the treatment for an infestation, you would definitely not want to go back to that route again.
Post-treatment, you termite exterminator will advise you to schedule a re-evaluation after a year and after three years. But as a precaution, it is best to complement your efforts with termite bait systems around your property’s perimeter.
How to Spot Possible Termite Infestations?
Unlike other insects, it is hard to identify if your house is experiencing termite infestations. Subterranean termites damage homes from the ground up. But there are tell-tale signs of infestations that can alert you to get professional termite exterminators:
Termites have temporary wings, they need this when finding a new place to swarm in. They shed these wings once they have settled. Thus, this phenomenon can be an early sign of termite infestation.
A mud tunnel or mud tube is a structure from soil and wood constructed by termites to protect them from dry environment and predators while they are on a search for food. This is usually connected from the source of food to their colony.
One way to check if the infestation is active is by breaking a middle part of the mud tunnel, come back for it after a couple of days and once it is restored, your house has termites sourcing for food.
Frass is the brown droppings of termites. These can be mistaken for sawdust and unless you have a home construction ongoing, this should alarm you. This is usually hidden in between door and door jambs or at the bottom of posts. This is a sign that termites have inflicted wood damage into your property.
The wood damage caused by termites is usually the most evident physical sign of termite damage. When termites feed on wood, the make hollow channels that compromise the strength of the wood. Doors, door jambs, wooden stairs, ceilings and wood floorings are the usual targets of termites.
Time and physical effort are required if you choose DIY solutions for termite control. But termite control and treatment is definitely cheaper than the extensive damage these pests can bring to your home.
You might spend $100 to $300 yearly on bait stations, poison cartridges and refills but it should be worth spending on if that means less hassle termite maintenance.
Termite control needs a lot of patience as well. Termite bait systems do not work overnight so don’t expect instant monitoring results. Carefully following the installation instructions and the monitoring window of your chosen termite bait can get the job done.
Likewise, it is important to manage your expectations. Bait stations are not a standalone solution for termites, but these are additional tools to liquid insecticides.
Installing termite bait stations can be a fun activity for the whole family with proper observance of the safety instructions. It keeps you hands-on and gives you control over what comes into your house and what not.