Inspecting Termite Bait Stations for Effectiveness

When you use a termite monitoring system or combined bait and monitoring system, you should partner with a pest control expert to check the system several times a year. During an inspection, professionals check stations for signs of subterranean termite activity (in termite monitoring stations) and replenish bait cartridges (in termite bait stations).

Depending on the level of activity at the stations, your pest control expert may recommend adding to or moving the bait stations, or replacing the current bait with a different material.

How Do Termite Bait Stations Work?
When installed properly and monitored regularly, bait stations can be an effective tool to ensure colony control. However, the effectiveness of bait stations depends on several factors:

  • Placement: Termite baits are effective only if they are placed in termites’ foraging areas. To account for termites’ foraging behavior, experts recommend placing stations every 10 to 20 feet. Even with this set-up, termites still may not come across the stations for a few weeks or months.
  • Weather: Bait stations typically are most effective during warmer months (late spring to early fall) as that is when termites forage the most.
  • Predators: It is not uncommon to find ants nesting under the ground cover of stations, causing no harm to termites. However, sometimes these ants get inside the stations and start to attack termites there. If termites see their nestmates being attacked at the station, they will not visit it.
  • Active ingredients in the bait: Experts debate whether faster- or slower-acting materials make the best baits. Faster-acting baits generate quicker results but also can cause termites to avoid the station when they see their nestmates dying nearby. Slower-acting materials take longer to provide results but maintain the element of surprise.
  • Scope of infestation: Some baits are more effective for localized spot treatments than large-scale infestations.

Some experts prefer termite stations that hold both monitoring and bait materials at the same time; others use only bait stations without any monitoring material. Depending on your needs, your expert may recommend combining a bait and monitoring approach with liquid treatment to provide the most comprehensive protection and control.