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Termite Baiting Systems

Termite Baiting Systems

Every now and then in each industry there is a major breakthrough. The newer termite baiting systems shook up the pest control industry like no other discovery in the past. Prior to these systems termites were treated using barrier chemicals. Injecting chemicals into the soil works fine if you indeed treat all of the soil. It also is a good method if you can use a long lasting chemical that doesn't harm any other animals or plants.

Well, some barrier chemicals worked too well and several have been banned over the years, the most recent one being Dursban. Clordane was a powerful barrier chemical that I used when it was legal, but it was removed from the marketplace about 15 years ago. It simply didn't break down and was working its way through the food chain by migrating through soil and ground water. Keep in mind that the barrier chemicals didn't kill. They just made the termites move on to a different food source.

Baiting systems are different. Termites find a bait or poison in a monitoring system. The chemicals are designed to slowly kill the worker termites. The first system to hit the market was the Sentricon system made by Dow AgroSciences. It hit the market about seven years ago and made a huge splash.

Currently it is the only termite baiting system that has been independently tested and certified to eliminate termite colonies. In fact within the past few days it was announced that Sentricon is the only termite bait system now listed with the Southern Building Code Congress International (SBCCI) as a complete stand-alone alternative to liquid termiticide treatments. The other baiting systems may indeed work and over time they may also gain such status, but I have not been able to find evidence that they are equal to or better than Sentricon. Here are the major players in the termite baiting playing field:

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Sentricon Dow AgroSciences

On March 2, 1994 the EPA granted registration to Dow AgroSciences for hexaflumuron. This is the active ingredient in Sentricon. It is a slow acting growth regulator. It prevents termites from molting. Termites need to grow a new exterior skin on a regular basis. If they can't, they die. One of the keys of this chemical is that it is indeed slow acting. Termites are smart but they can't seem to figure out that the bait stations are killing them.

FirstLine and FirstLine GT FMC Corporation

Two years after Dow received their EPA registration, the FMC Corporation got one for a similar system. The FirstLine product is an above ground system and the FirstLine GT is a below ground system like Sentricon. The poison is different. FirstLine and FirstLine GT use sulfluramid which is a slow-acting stomach poison. This chemical prevents food from being turned into energy. Within a few weeks, the worker termites simply starve to death.

Subterfuge BASF

This product was introduced in 1997. Its active ingredient is hydramethylnon. It works just like the sulfluramid in FirstLine. Once ingested by termites, they seem to die within two to three weeks. The manufacturer claims that this bait/poison is preferred by termites. Don't ask me how they got them to talk!

Terminate Spectracide

This is a system that homeowners can buy at home centers. They look like fertilizer stakes. You simply hammer them into the ground and they supposedly work like all the others. There is another system like this out there called HomeChoice.

Scientists are very wary of these DIY systems. They feel that these baiting systems need periodic and ongoing monitoring to see if the termites have died and are indeed not attacking the structure. If you think you just hammer stakes into the ground and then walk away with nary a worry, you are mistaken!

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