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Question DetailsAsked on 10/12/2015

what are they different types of termite treatments? What about the treatment using bait as compared to chemicals?

My termite inspector told me I had termites and that I needed to redo my barrier treatment. He suggested using bait. The bait has to be replaced annually as cost two and one half times to cost of my current annual plan. What is the difference in bait and chemical treatments? If I use chemicals, how often do they need to be redone to protect my home from termites?

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Generally speaking, interior spray chemical treatments are for killing the insects in the house at that time, not permanent protection. Ditto for fumigation, which has very minimal residual effect. However, there are borate treatments tht can be applied to the foundation and lower couple of feet of walls as a preventative - best done during initial construction, but retro-spraying (especially in exposed-stud basements and crawl spaces) can be effective too.

Exterior perimeter spray treatments can last from 3-24 months in general - but you certainly would not count on more than 12 months maximum, and commonly in serious termite country 3-6 months is your limit. Also, because it is surficial (plus a few inches penetration into the ground at most) it can miss a substantial portion of the termites, who commonly tunnel 8-18" below the ground - especially if they go all the way under a shallow foundation footer and pop up inside the basement or crawlspace area rather than going up the outside of the foundation with their access tubes.

Perimeter injection pumps chemicals into the ground deep enough to treat most of the soil they burrow through, but weathers out (especially in areas with high rainfall), so needs reappliction every year or two typically. Probably the best overall system in terms of coverage, because done right it provides a continuous barrier.

These days, for subterranean termites (the ones that build the mud tubes up foundations to the wood structure), (after killing ones resident in the house already), perimeter spraying to immediately stop intrusionat the foundation walls, then buried baits are one of the "standard" treatments - and yes it costs more (2-4 times more typically) than just walking around the house and spraying, and in the same cost ballpark as injection, but a lot of comments indicate its effectiveness is questionable - especially when spaced 10-20 feet apart, because the system counts on the termites encountering the bait stakes and feeding on the bait (which is commonly added only AFTER the termites begin munching on the wood stake), but working to kill the nest (which will commonly be one of dozens or even hundreds per acre in heavy termite areas) BEFORE they discover the wood in your house - a long shot with the typical wide stake spacing.

Bait stakes require inspection every 3-12 months depending on area and soil type (termites tunnel a lot faster in looser, sandier soil than in clay, for instance).

Since you are looking at a lot higher cost, certainly get a few quotes for comparison - but I would certainly go with in-ground injection, with possibly an outer perimeter of bait stakes (which is what they were originally designed and sold for, not as primary protection). Remember - you may be paying say $1500-3000 for an initial treatment and $1000/year ballpark for a plan including retreatment as needed - compared to a few thousand and a LOT of disruption each time (which can be annually in bad cases) for tenting if your house gets infested, plus any remedial repairs needed due to wood damage - so protection and prevention is the key.

Some exterminators also use baiting alone to kill current infestations - from what I have seen and heard, I am not a fan of that alone as opposed to direct fumigation - though in heavy termite country, especially with houses with wood foundation elements (wood/foam foundation or supporting wood piers), preventative baiting in the house can be a helpful preventative measure. I saw one demo of a new product which is basically a bait snake - a small geotextile tube with poisoned bait which can be laid along the inside of an unfinished basement or crawl space foundation wall to poison any termites that get past or under the exterior treatments and inside the foundation, to feed them poisoned bait before they build interior tubes and attach the house, which makes sense to me.

One of the best treatment, though has to be done during initial house construction or during excavation like to waterproof a foundation, is subterranean treatment of the excavated ground as well as of the backfill during construction, creating a treated perimeter under and around the house during construction.

Sone other type of treatment commonly omitted - if you have french drains along the foundation, they need to be treated as well because termites come into the french drain filter gravel and travel very rapidly from there to the foundation wall.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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