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Torco Terminates Termites... And Other Pests Too

Termite Bait Systems Are Also Offered by TORCO™

There are several different baits on the market that add to the arsenal of tools available for managing termite populations and protecting structures. Baits work on the principle that foraging termites will feed on a treated cellulose material, which eventually kills the termites and possibly the colony. The toxic material in the bait must kill slowly enough to allow foraging termites to return to the colony and spread the bait through food sharing (called "trophallaxis).

Bait Advantages

  • Bait products are easy to use, simple to install
  • Baits cause less disruption to the environment
  • Baits are advantageous for people with odor sensitivities or allergies; and for structures with sub slab heat ducts.

Bait Disadvantages

  • Bait programs are expensive
  • Bait products take longer to function, taking months to a year
  • Once the bait program is complete, there is no residual benefit

More About Bait Systems

Baits control a colony locally -- either eliminating it or suppressing it to the point that it no longer damages a structure. To be successful, the products must be non repellent, slow acting, and readily consumed by termites. There are three main types of bait products available: 1. Ingested toxicants or stomach poisons; 2. Biotermiticides or microbes; and 3. Insect growth regulators (IGRs). Each type has unique features and is used differently in termite control programs. Ingested toxicants have the quickest effect, though dose dependency and learned avoidance may limit this type of product to termite reduction in localized areas. Biotermiticides, derived from fungi, bacteria, or nematodes, are injected into active gallery sites. They then develop on the infested foraging termites and spread among the colony. Suitable temperature and moisture, early detection, and avoidance are factors that determine this treatment's success. It may provide localized area control or, with optimum conditions, may suppress a colony.

Among the insect growth regulators are juvenile hormone analogs (JHA), juvenile hormone mimics (JHM), and chitin synthesis inhibitors (CSI). These products disrupt the termites by causing a specific response or behavior within the colony or by blocking the molting process. Note that all insects, including termites, have an exoskeleton made primarily of chitin. To grow, they must periodically shed their chitinous exoskeletons and form new ones. This process is called molting. A chitin synthesis inhibitor slowly builds up in the termite and, the next time a molt occurs, prevents proper formation of the cuticle. IGRs are the slowest acting of the bait types but have greater impact on the colony.

There are a number of such products on the market, including:

Outpost™ Termite Bait Response (0.25% diflubenzuron) that is used in conjunction with the Outpost Termite Detection System (Bayer Corporation, Kansas City, MO; 1-800-331-2867; Diflubenzuron stops the termites' ability to molt, and it is highly toxic to aquatic invertibrates. It can be used in conjunction with a localized soil treatment or wood treatments to critical areas and sites with active termites.

Subterfuge™ Termite Bait (0.3% hydramethylnon) was recently marketed by BASF Corporation (Research Triangle park, NC; 1-800-545-9525; This is a slow acting stomach poison that interferes with the termites' energy production. There is no published data on the efficacy of this product.

Ensystex, Inc.™ (0.25% diflubenzuron)(Fayetteville, NC, 1-888-398-3772; The active ingredient is a chitin synthesis inhibitor that kills termites by disrupting their molting process. It is labeled as Labyrinth termite bait.

First Line™ Termite Defense (0.01% sulfluramid), manufactured by FMC Corporation (Princeton, NJ; 1-800-321-1FMC; This product has been marketed since 1996 and it is labeled for use by PMPs for termite colony suppression. Its active ingredient is a slow acting stomach toxicant that interferes with termite metabolic processes. The product is not currently a stand alone product, although field trials are being conducted.

Sentricon Colony Elimination System™ (0.5% hexaflumuron), Dow AgroSciences LLC (Indianapolis, IN; 1-800-678-2388; This bait product was the first to be commercially introduced into the United States and has been marketed since 1995. It is labeled to achieve termite control without a supplementary soil treatment.