About termite bait stations
A quick breakdown of termite bait station systems
Termite bait stations usually serve two separate functions:
- Detecting the presence of subterranean termites in your soil
- Exterminating them
Both functions are served in a rather similar and simple manner, although not all stations do both at the same time. Essentially, the stakes are just put in the soil, usually reaching no more than 15 – 30 cm into the ground, and attract termites to the bait inside of them.
So, when placing termite bait station stakes in and around your property, it’s of the utmost importance that you place them at a small enough intervals. If you leave a large enough spot in the ground where termites can pass through without stumbling on a station stake, then they can easily get to your home’s foundations and start destroying it without ever touching any of your other stakes.
If you simply put the bait station stakes close enough, however, you can be 99% sure that if they haven’t been attacked by termites, then there are no termites to worry about. The way you check your termite station stakes is usually by simply pulling them out of the ground once every month or two and inspecting the bait – if it’s been eaten by termites, then it’s time to replace the edible bait cartridge with a termite extermination cartridge. If not, and if the edible bait cartridge hasn’t been damaged by underground moisture or any other source, you can simply return it in the ground. Otherwise – you can just replace it with a new one.
Did you know?
The bait typically doesn’t attract termites with its sense or visual appearance – it attracts them by simply being edible. Termites tend to dig their underground tunnels blindly and randomly until they happen to find something to eat. Once they do so, they simply inform the rest of their colony that they’ve found a source of food and the rest of the termites flock to it.
If the bait has been eaten by termites, however, then it is time to take some quick measures. Most bait station systems employ exterminating cartridges that also attract termites but are poisonous to them when consumed. Some use insecticides, other use compounds that attack the genetics of the termites and stunt their growth and development. Either way, when termites eat from these cartridges, they don’t just get affected by them, but they also live for long enough to return to their colonies and infect the rest of the termites as well.
Effectively, this means that a single termite bait station stake can exterminate an entire colony on its own. Of course, in some cases you might need to replace the extermination cartridge a couple of more times until the job is done, but either way, termite bait station stakes are a proven, effective and efficient method of dealing with subterranean termites in a way that doesn’t affect the rest of your property or the flora and fauna on it.
Alternative methods for combating termite infestations
Termite bait station stakes are an ingenious and innovative way to protect your home from termites but they aren’t the only way to do it. Because they are sometimes affected by the soil or weather conditions, as well as because they can sometimes be ineffective if placed poorly, some people prefer other methods of protection against termites.
The main alternative to termite bait station stakes is chemical barriers. For 75 years before termite baiting was invented, chemical barriers were the main way to prevent or treat termite infestations in your home. Simply put, chemical barriers include dumping huge doses of heavy chemicals into your property, mostly at the edges of your home. A lot of chemicals also needed to be dumped directly beneath your home, especially if there was already an infestation underway. This meant drilling holes in your floor, moving your furniture, and so on. The chemicals were and still are typically designed to be harmless for people and pets, but some people still feel uncomfortable with this method. So, once termite baiting became an option, it quickly took a large portion of the market from chemical barriers.
Another alternative is do-it-yourself termite baits. With a little chemical knowledge, everyone can make their one termite bait station stakes and apply them safely and effectively on their property. Doing it right can save you a lot of money and high-quality termite baits are not exactly cheap. However, there’s also the possibility of messing up and creating an ineffective system, which is why commercial termite bait stations are still highly recommended.
Termite bait station buying guide
Secondly, you need to also consider whether the problem you might be having is fit for a termite bait station system or you need a professional’s intervention. Like it or not, if you’ve caught a termite infestation too late, there’s a serious chance that even the best station stakes won’t be enough to help you deal with it.
If a termite bait station is what you need and you’ve settled on whether you need just detection from it or extermination as well, then comes the questions of size and quantity.
Depending on the square footage of your home you might need just 10 – 15 stakes or you might need several dozens of them.
The exact size and design of the stakes are also important as some are better suited for softer and moister soil, while others are intended for drier and harder soil.
Additionally, there’s the question of what ingredients the station stake cartridges are filled with. Some utilize highly toxic active solutions that are harmless to your land and property but nevertheless make some homeowners uneasy. Others include no active ingredients but are still effective against most types of subterranean termites, and some are even designed to attack termites on a genetic level.
Whichever you choose, as long as it’s of a high enough quality and from a qualitative brand, it should be a safe bet. Some termite bait stakes can be quite pricey, but don’t get immediately put off by their price, as it’s usually such because of the number of stakes in the pack, their longevity, their effective range, and other similar reasons.
Some of the termite bait stations brands we’d recommend include: Spectracide, Hex Pro, Advance, and Sentricon.
Expert tips for using termite bait stations
- Carefully diagram your home and property on a large sheet of paper. Termite bait station stakes need to be carefully placed at precise intervals around your property so it shouldn’t be done quickly thoughtlessly. Typically, bait station stakes need to be placed 3 – 4 feet from the walls of your home and 10 – 12 feet from each other. Draw on the sheet of paper the exact locations of your bait stations stakes and figure out how many of them you’re going to need.
- Drill holes for the termite bait station stakes. These holes can be drilled in a variety of different ways, depending on their precise design. Some stakes are really thin while others are thicker than a man’s arm. Whether with a shovel or with a specialized tool, make sure that the holes are nicely dug to fit the stakes perfectly.
- Simply insert the stakes into the holes and settle them well. Add some soil back into the holes in necessary and make sure that the stakes are securely placed. You don’t want a dog to dig them up to play with them or anything similar. And that’s all – your termite bait station stakes are securely installed into the ground.
Living with and maintaining termite bait station stakes is a very simple ordeal. All you need to do is check on them once every several weeks (if they don’t have a built-in alert method) and either replace the bait cartridge with an extermination cartridge if the bait cartridge has attracted termites or simply put the bait back in if it’s untouched. Bait cartridges should be replaced with new ones approximately once per year even if they haven’t been attacked by termites. Also, keep an eye out for moisture damage on the bait cartridges as it can make them ineffective at attracting termites. Aside from that, there isn’t much else to do.
As long as you frequently check on the baits and regularly replace them with new ones, as well as if you react properly at the sign of termite presence, your home should be safe and sound.
For a quick, last summary, here are the best termite bait stations on the market right now:
- The Spectracide Terminate Termite Detection & Killing Stakes contain no active ingredients that can harm your garden, flora or pets, but they are extremely effecting at their job. They serve as both a monitoring system and a termite extermination system. Their smart design and dow technology make sure that they never miss detecting a termite invasion, however, rain or soil moisture can sometimes result in a false positive alert.
- The Advance Termite Bait System uses an ingenious design that allows it to easily attract termites, to compensate for termite abandonment, and to adequately alert you when there is termite presence to be noted. This makes the detection of termites much easier and gives you more time to respond. However, this is solely a bait and detection system and termite extermination cartridges need to be bought separately.
- Hex Pro Termite Baiting System is an innovative mechanism for dealing with subterranean termites. After they’ve allowed you to easily detect the presence of termites on the wooden cartridge, the extermination cartridge releases an active ingredient into the soil that’s called hexaflumuron. This is an insect growth regulator that affects only termites and other insect pests by stopping their growth process and killing them. It’s a highly effective and efficient method that’s harmless to the rest of your yard or garden.