How Do Termite Bait Stations Work?

When installed and monitored properly, bait stations can control subterranean termite colonies.

Subterranean termites can build large nests and can live up to 18 inches below ground. They may even live under your house. Since colonies can build nests far below your home’s foundation, it can be extremely difficult to pinpoint the exact location of all the sprawling galleries in a nest to provide direct treatment. Rather than providing a perimeter soil treatment around your home’s foundation to cover areas where termites are active (and some areas where they are not), bait stations provide more targeted treatment.

Termite mud tubes beneath foundation:pic of colony under a home
A below ground bait station could target the colony above.

An effective termite bait system uses slow-acting materials and relies on the transfer of bait from the termite foragers to the rest of the colony. Bait systems do not work as quickly as the fast-acting termiticide used in soil treatments. Depending on the size of the colony and the number of termites exposed to and sharing the bait, it can take a few weeks or more than a year for a bait system to control a colony.

A trained termite expert can explain whether bait and monitoring systems, liquid treatment, direct wood treatment, or a combination of these methods will provide the most control and protection for your home.

Termite Bait System Tests
One of the most critical tests of termite bait systems has taken place in New Orleans, where Formosan termites are a known and very active threat to homes. Operation Full Stop is a government-funded program that researches methods to control active Formosan termite colonies and prevent their spread in New Orleans. Researchers have used bait systems successfully to suppress Formosan termite activity in whole neighborhoods of New Orleans.

In the greater New Orleans area, an estimated $300 million is spent each year to repair Formosan termite damage and provide treatment. Baits are an integral part of controlling this subterranean species on a large scale.