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While the eastern subterranean termite is considered to be “highly active” in many northeast states, indoor infestations have decreased substantially over the past few decades due to improved termite control methods. The termiticide soil barrier has become one of the most widely used and reliable methods of preventing termites from infesting structures. In addition to termiticide barriers, termite-baiting methods have been used with a relatively high degree of success as well. While termiticide soil barriers around homes have proven effective at preventing termite infestations in structures, this method does not aim to reduce termite pest populations in urban areas. Termite-bait programs, on the other hand, do aim to reduce urban termite pest populations, while leaving ecologically beneficial termites in forested and unpopulated areas unaffected. In many cases, termiticide barriers and termite-bait programs are used in conjunction with one another in certain urban locations, especially in “high activity” areas located in the southeast and along the Atlantic coast.

Given the subterranean termite’s cryptic habitat, their population size within a particular area cannot be accurately estimated. In areas where subterranean termites are abundant, the insects can forage over large areas of urban land by forming vast networks that consist of numerous interconnected colonies. Bait-programs are successful because they allow worker termites to spread poison bait throughout each colony within a particular network.

Before a bait-program is implemented, experts pinpoint several termite feeding areas within a particular area. Once located, bait stations are set up at each feeding site. Worker termites acquire this poisonous bait and carry it back to their colonies in order to feed soldiers and the royal pair. The poisonous bait is eventually consumed by every termite within each interconnected colony located in the area, killing off most, or all termites in the area. However, in some cases, it is likely that one or several independent termite colonies will remain within the baited area, and therefore, worker termites from these colonies may not have received or acquired the poison bait. These independent colonies can remain active within a baited area, and it is for this reason that termite-bait programs are often used in areas where structures are already protected by termiticide barriers. Using these two termite control methods together makes a home unquestionably safe from termites.

Has your property been treated with a termiticide barrier?