Termite traps have proven to be a promising alternative to liquid termite chemicals or termiticides and costly barrier treatments. Commonly referred to as termite bait, these products are also valuable additions to integrated treatment plans that are implemented in areas with large termite populations and a far higher likelihood of property infestation. Compared to other treatments, termite traps are a fairly slow method of control but can have significant benefits over time.
Understanding The Integrated Pest Management Approach
Many termite control specialists are opting to use the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) method of treatment. Rather than using chemical barriers only, these professionals rely on multiple strategies that collectively provide an impressive array of long-lasting benefits. Moreover, the IPM approach often has a far lesser impact on the local environment and on human health. As a very common part of the IPM treatment method for termites, termite traps are a safe and very cost-effective measure. More importantly, they limit the amount of chemicals that are required for a wholly effective IPM treatment.
In addition to being safe and having a low environmental impact, the IPM approach also has a far higher level of efficacy when compared to any standalone effort to eradicate termites. Given differences in building structures, property locations, termite populations in the natural environment and other factors, no single treatment method is absolutely guaranteed to work at any location. A termite control plan that includes minor structural modifications, termite traps or baiting systems and termiticides or barrier systems, however, can significantly limit damages and cull or even eliminate termite colonies.
How And Why Termite Traps Work
Baiting systems are wholly reliant upon the natural activities of termites and termite colonies. Unlike cockroaches and ants, it is not possible to immediately attract termites with bait. These insects set up camp near desirable food sources and are not easily distracted from their activities. Termite traps are therefore reliant upon the exchange of secretions and food that termites regularly engage in. This process is known as trophallaxis. Trophallaxis is largely used by termites to transfer gut microbes that assist in the breakdown and absorption of cellulose. When baiting systems are used, this process of transferring foods and secretions ensures that that bait will work its way through the entire termite colony and find its way to the colony queen.
While trophallaxis is an effective delivery system, the transfer process can be a fairly slow one. Moreover, it can take time for termite traps to be found by colonies, given that the available food source is so abundant. This is another benefit of using the IPM approach. Termiticides and other treatment methods will limit damages while homeowners and their pest control specialists wait for termite traps to work.
The Drawbacks Of Using Termite Traps
Baiting systems are rarely the ideal treatment method for property owners who are attempting to manage their termite problems on their own. In most instances, these systems will not have an immediate impact on termite colonies and thus, they will not significantly limit property damages in the short-term. Moreover, in order to get optimal benefits from baiting systems, people have to have a keen understanding of the habits of these insects. Poor placement of termite traps, efforts to disturb termites from normal feeding and other errors on the part of homeowners can significantly limit the efficacy of these products.
Fortunately, many of the disadvantages of using termite traps can be overcome by having these installed by seasoned pest control professionals as part of an IPM plan. Pest control specialists can use termiticides and special barrier chemicals in limited quantities to minimize property damages and begin reducing colony numbers. As bait eventually enters the colony and is spread through trophallaxis, most termite problems will be effectively under control.
Natural Termite Control Methods
It is important to note that termite traps can be further bolstered by a number of natural termite control and prevention methods. Covering or eliminating standing bodies of water such as ponds and swimming pools will make properties less desirable to these bugs by eliminating accessible water sources. Homeowners can seal minor cracks in wood surfaces by painting their homes, get rid of or properly store firewood and eliminate wood landscaping features such as wood mulch. Entrances for gas and water lines can be sealed at the property exterior and window HVAC units and multi-split air conditioning systems can be properly installed and sealed. Homeowners may be additionally advised to eliminate all wood to ground connections around the perimeter of the property if subterranean termites are an issue.
Using natural termite control and prevention measures will enhance the efficacy of the overall IPM plan. Having treatments like termite traps, barrier chemicals, minor structural modifications and termiticides applied by professionals will help homeowners gain optimal benefits and limit their overall spending. Ultimately, in order for long-term success to be achieved, each termite treatment requires an in-depth understanding of colony habits and of the best methods for leveraging these habits to cull colony numbers and prevent widespread damages.
Additional Termite Trap Resources:
- Modification of Commercial Bait Station to Collect Numbers of Subterranean Termites – University of Hawaii’s Department of Entomology