Why Would You Trap Termites?

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It’s not as if you’d want to skin or eat them.

But if you can entice thousands of them into one place, you can kill the colony they come from. That is a different sort of trap. And it works!

Thousands of termites in timber are there for one purpose: the workers arrive, chew off a tummyful, then head back to the nest where they regurgitate it for the royals, the young nymphs and the soldiers. It’s a living, endless conveyor line.

“What if” an entomologist once said, “We sneakily added something to this feeding area which they took back to the nest which killed it?”

Arsenic was the first successful ‘something.’  Then, around the millennium, insect growth regulators were tried. These were better because they didn’t kill the worker doing the conveying, However, the receivers of the regurgitated food kept it down and in digesting it, the IGR inhibited the production of their outer shell (chitin). This meant, all the nymphs could not moult, and, as hundreds of thousands of them in the confines of the nest were dying, the ‘undertakers’ could not keep up, gases and fungi engulfed the nest making it inhabitable. All dead.

So, how best to trap them?

‘Trick them’ is another way to ‘trap them.’ It is very simple because termites have been following their same basic instincts for millions of years. They have a central nest from which workers scout for food (cellulose such as wood, cardboard, dead grass, etc). When they find it they build tunnels to give them control over humidity so they don’t dry out and the tunnel also gives security from ants and lizards.

If instead of waiting for the scouts to find your house, you put timber  in cunning receptacles around the house, they will find these ‘traps’ before they get serious with your buildings and other timber structures. It makes sense to design these traps so they can be easily monitored to know when termites have arrived. There needs to be enough of them to give you a better than even chance of intercepting the scouts; they need to be able to be placed in the most likely places and, when the termites begin to eat the timber inside, it is essential that part two of the trap can be ‘sprung.’ That is the introduction of the IGR bait in a way that the workers just transfer their food gathering attention from the hard tucker of timber to the soft and succulent bait — without disturbance.

Build a better trap and….

The first monitors, stations, traps, call them whatever you prefer, were buried in the soil. Every new version monitor since the first was also buried in the soil until in The Australian spring of 2012, Ion Staunton released the world’s first on-ground monitor, station and trap.

He’d had a think. If the serious termites that eat solid timber come up out of the ground to find it, why are we burying traps in the ground? Houses are above the ground and sheds. There is no timber in the ground leading them into the building, so they come up out of the ground looking. He built some prototypes of a new brick-shaped and -sized trap containing timber and spread them around in equal numbers with various models of in-ground traps. All the on ground traps were discovered and attacked within weeks and before the first of the in-ground traps.

termite traps

Why would you want to trap termites?

Because termites eat houses. Every week and in every part of Australia (except Tassie) termites are discovered in houses. Of all the buildings inspected prior to sale, over a third of them have termite damage which is reported to the prospective buyer. This buyer either loses interest immediately, or offers tens of thousands of dollars less than the asking price. So what does the average termite invasion cost? The treatment averages about $3,000, the repairs average $5,000 (often around $100,000), but the real killer is the drop in resale value (because there are fewer buyers willing take the risk).

If one in three houses get or have had termites and yours is one of the other two without termites, a good way to keep it that way is to place traps around to intercept scouts so you can kill off termite nests faster than they can build them and definitely before they get inside. And keep up at least a yearly inspection. Belt and braces, you know.

Talk to someone who knows; get a quote by clicking here.  Now would be a good time!

September 19 2013 - 03:59 PM