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The bait box technique for termite control


This note briefly introduces simple methods to destroy subterranean termite colonies. These approaches differ from the old spray & pray mindset in that, because only a small amount of toxin is used, there is no chemical residue to protect against other termites that may in time, move in and resume the attack. Termite baiting should only be used as part of an integrated pest management strategy (IPM), where destruction of the termite colony will be followed by hazard reduction and regular inspection.

<Arsenic trioxide, the toxin most commonly used with bait boxes, is a dangerous poison and may not be available in your country. Consult your local regulator for alternatives.>

Bait boxes can be used inside, under or around buildings. The purpose of the bait box is to rapidly establish a big feeding group of termites. When the termites discover the box, they quickly recruit large numbers to the new food source. These termites may be dosed with a slow-acting poison. Then the termites themselves become the toxin-delivery system, carrying poison back to all members of the colony. Termites share food, feed their young, regularly groom one another and often, cannibalise their dead. A poison that takes a day or more to kill is best as the delay means it can be shared throughout the colony before any termite is killed. However, a toxin that takes several weeks to have an effect is not nearly as efficient unless continued feeding can be guaranteed.
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