How Subterranean Termite Baiting Systems Work

How Subterranean Termite Baiting Systems Work

Subterranean termite colonies are built deep underground, where they are protected from the reach of insecticides. As such, they need to be destroyed by different means. This is where the termite baiting system comes in. Let’s find out how it works.

The basics of the baiting system

Subterranean termite colonies can be as deep as 18 to 20 feet underground, so reaching these colonies with insecticides is pretty much impossible, or at the very least, not cost effective. Instead, baiting systems are used. These systems consist of a number of plastic receptacles, which are placed in the ground, and which contain cellulose laced with a slow-acting insecticide.

As worker-scouts forage around the colony looking for food sources, they will come into contact with these receptacles and return to the colony, leaving a pheromone trail behind them. Other workers pick up on these pheromones, and start going to gather the cellulose. Because the insecticide is slow-acting, the termites do not realize that the cellulose is poisoned, and they start sharing it around the colony.

Different types of insecticides can be used, which kill off the termites in different ways, leading to different ways in which the colony is destroyed, but the end result with all of them is that ultimately the colony will collapse.


The baiting system has a major drawback – it takes a long time for it to kill a colony. A baiting system may take a few months to destroy a mature subterranean termite colony, time in which the termites can continue to do damage to the home. This is why baiting systems are used either as a preventive measure, or in conjunction with other control methods.


The main alternative to the baiting system is the chemical barrier, although the two are often implemented at the same time. Chemical barriers are basically termiticides that are injected in the ground surrounding the home, and they prevent termites from reaching the building. However, these barriers cannot destroy the colony itself, so a baiting system is also installed. Destroying the colony is important in order to protect the entire property (fences, sheds, outdoor wood piles) from termite infestation.

If you have any questions about the baiting system and the chemical barrier, or if you suspect that you have a termite infestation on your property, contact us today and we will gladly help you out.