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How To Use Baits To Get Rid Of Dampwood Termites

March 29, 2022
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There are several ways you can address the problem of dampwood termite infestation at home. This can include termite-proofing your property by removing any moisture source, fixing leaky roofs and pipes, and getting rid of piles of damaged wood. However, one of the best ways to protect your property is by eliminating these termites with bait systems.  

So how can termite bait stations help kill dampwood termites? Bait stations contain paper, cardboard, or any wood material mixed with an effective insecticide that will kill the termites. The worker termites will discover the bait station during their search for food and they will take the toxic bait and share it with other members and the queen in their colony. Termite baits are slow-acting and it can take a few months for the entire termite colony to be eliminated.

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A Guide To Using Bait Systems for Dampwood Termites  

Among the different types of termites, the dampwood termite species are less likely to be found inside wood surfaces and infested furniture like subterranean termites and drywood termites. 

However, they may still be present in your home and hide within crawl spaces, attic spaces, leaky roof eaves, utility poles, and frames of buildings that have a high degree of moisture content. They’re also more likely to nest in infested wood and structural lumber with soil contact. 

These termites are silent workers and you may not know that you have them until you notice significant damage to your home’s wooden structures and support beams. When you want a pest control method that can help you find the source of termite infestation and eliminate them gradually, installing a termite bait station can be a good solution. 

What Do You Need To Know About Termite Baits 

Termite baiting is an extermination approach that kills the termite population slowly but it can guarantee the removal of the entire colony. It uses an active slow-acting insecticide combined with any cellulose material such as paper, cardboard, and moist wood. 

Baiting takes advantage of the fact that dampwood termites are social insects and they survive by relying on worker termites who frequently go out to look for food for the colony. Termite baits are strategically set up below the ground or within the perimeter of the home where the worker termites usually travel to. 

During their forage for food, the worker termites will discover the bait station and mark it with their pheromone trail so that other termites will easily find it. They’ll take the bait and carry it back to the colony where they will share it with other members and feed it to the queen and king termites. 

The insecticides used in bait stations are primarily insect growth regulators and they affect the immature termites that are still growing while having little effect on the adult dampwood termite workers and winged reproductives. 

However, once the immature termites die, the colony will have fewer members that can search for food and maintain their nest. After a few weeks without getting food, the king, queen, and worker termites will starve and the entire colony will eventually die. 

What Is The Process for Dampwood Termite Baiting?

It’s important to seek the help of a pest management professional when you want to install termite bait stations in your home. The process for setting up baits can be quite complex and it requires a well-thought-out strategy to efficiently eliminate the dampwood termite colony. Here are the procedures for effective termite baiting: 

1) Termite inspection 

The first step in termite baiting is having a team of termite control experts do a thorough assessment of your home. Termite inspections are an essential part of the pre-baiting process since it helps detect the possible locations of the mature colonies. This also gives you an idea of where to best place the bait system so that the worker termites will easily find and take the bait. 

2) Installation of bait systems 

After inspection, the bait stations will be installed underground about 2-4 feet away from the foundation of the home. To increase the chances of being discovered by the worker termites, multiple baits are usually set up at least 10 to 15 feet away from each other. Additional baits may also be placed near areas where they’re known to infest such as tree stumps, decayed wood, and dead limbs or tree branches in the garden. 

3) Pre-baiting and monitoring 

During the pre-baiting stage, you’ll need to create a feeding connection with the termite colony and the bait system. Like most species of termites, dampwood termites feed on cellulose so you may prepare cellulose-containing food sources like paper, cardboard, or wood in the feeding or inspection cartridge. 

In order to establish a solid feeding connection with the worker termites, it’s important to place food consistently in areas where they won’t be disturbed. During pre-baiting, the worker termites will continuously take the bait from the station while leaving behind their pheromone so they can communicate to other termites how to get to their food source. 

The process of pre-baiting can take some time but once you’ve successfully created a connection with the colony and the bait station, you can begin to slowly add the active toxicant. 

4) Addition of the toxic active ingredient

Once the worker termites have started to regularly feed on the bait systems, an insecticide will be mixed with the food in the feeding station. Most of the time, pest control experts use an insect growth regulator which targets the young termites and interrupts their life cycle by inhibiting their growth and reproduction. 

The immature termites in the colony will continuously feed on this growth hormone until they die out. Once the young termites are exterminated, there will be fewer termites who can scavenge and replenish their food supply. This will eventually cause the reproductives and adult winged termites to starve to their death until the whole colony is exterminated. 

5) Termite extermination and control 

Getting rid of the entire dampwood termite colony can take some time depending on the size of their nest and the amount of insecticide that was used. It can take several months for termite bait stations to completely kill the colony. It’s important to regularly check and maintain the bait stations on a monthly basis to ensure that the baits haven’t been depleted yet. 

How Effective Are Baits For Dampwood Termites?  

When installed and used properly, bait stations can effectively wipe out the entire family of dampwood termites. They’re also proven helpful for preventing a serious infestation by controlling termite activity just when they’re beginning to invade your property. Some pest control experts say that termite baits can also work even when you’re unsure about the exact location of their nest. 

Baiting systems can also be an excellent long-term solution for termite control. When set up in the right places, the bait stations can deter worker termites from entering your home and infesting on your wooden structures and foundation. Proper bait station monitoring and maintenance is the key to successfully protecting your home from the threat of dampwood termites.

Benefits of Using Baits as Termite Treatments

professional pest control worker and satisfied client after a job well done doing the termite control with termite bait stations and pesticide spray

Unlike the conventional barrier treatments, baiting stations are more convenient and you don’t have to worry about setting them up on your own since you can get professional pest control experts to do it for you. It also offers other advantages which can include: 

1) It gets rid of the colony by killing the king and queen

When you want to eliminate a termite colony, you need to target its reproductive members which are the kings and queens. The king and queen termites are responsible for mating and growing the population of their colony. With bait stations, the worker termites can continuously feed on the bait and share it directly with the king and queen. 

Once the king and queen are taken out, it’ll be hard for the existing colony to thrive and the remaining worker termites will only be able to live for a few more weeks. 

2) It’s environment-friendly and safe for kids 

Other common pest control options such as boric acid, insecticide sprays, and liquid and soil treatment aren’t entirely safe and eco-friendly. However, most termite bait systems are chemical-free so you don’t have to worry about the risk of insecticide poisoning or affecting your soil and plants with harmful chemicals. 

3) It can provide year-round termite control and protection 

Unlike chemical treatments which can be affected by the composition and temperature of the soil surface, termite baits are designed to withstand different weather conditions. For this reason, baiting systems aren’t easily compromised and can effectively provide termite protection regardless of the season and environmental conditions. 

4) It doesn’t require indoor drilling

Chemical and liquid treatments are normally applied by indoor drilling or digging into the soil around your home. On the other hand, the use of termite baits doesn’t require indoor drilling and they’re usually installed outdoors. 

When Is The Right Time To Set Up Bait Stations? 

To know the best time when you should install bait stations, you need to know when the dampwood termites are most active. While you can notice them at any time of the year, their swarming activity usually occurs during the months of August to October. 

During this period, you may find increased signs of their infestation which can include droppings of their fecal pellets and discarded wings of the reproductive termites. You may also notice a hollow sound when you tap structural wood which is a common sign of termite damage by dampwood termites. 

To successfully bait dampwood termites, it’s recommended to install them during late-fall and winter months. During this period, termites tend to look for food within the vicinity of their colony so if you’ve installed a bait station nearby, there’s a high chance of discovery. You can also set up bait systems during summer but it may be less effective since termites usually forage in farther areas during this time. 

Tips To Avoid A Severe Dampwood Termite Infestation

A serious dampwood termite infestation can be a great deal of frustration and they can be harder to control once they’ve infested in large numbers. To avoid a serious termite problem, here are some preventative measures that you can do: 

  • Fix ventilation inside your home and repair plumbing problems such as leaky showers and pipes to remove a possible source of moisture 
  • Replace or get rid of infested and rotten wood in conjunction with elimination of a moist environment 
  • Don’t place any damp wood debris, tree branches, fence posts, and other wooden materials inside your garage or next to your property 
  • Check your foundation and eliminate direct wood contact with soil 
  • Use wood treatment like Bora-Care to prevent decay or damage to any sound wood 

Get Professional Termite Control At Positive Pest Management 

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Bait stations are an effective method of termite control that can eradicate the entire colony of dampwood termites. However, since it has delayed action in killing termites, you need to have patience and be sure to regularly monitor and maintain the bait systems to ensure their effectiveness. 

At Positive Pest Management, we take pride in offering quality pest control services and prevention measures to keep your home termite-free. Our team of technicians has experience in treating any kinds of household pests including ants, rodents, bed bugs, and roaches. Call us today to schedule your home inspection and get a personalized pest control program.

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