Q&A With the Sentricon Field Scientists
Dr. Michelle Smith, Dr. Joe Demark, Dr. Joe Eager and Dr. Barb Nead-Nylander
Q: If an entire Recruit HD termite bait device is consumed within one year, does that mean you need to visit the property more frequently?
A: No. Replace the Recruit HD termite bait device on your next annual visit with a new one and check the other Sentricon® System stations on the property for termite activity. Replace any other Recruit® HD termite bait devices that are more than one-third consumed.
Q: How can you tell if Recruit® HD termite bait is ready to be replaced?
A: Label directions state that a bait device containing Recruit HD termite bait should be replaced when one-third or more has been consumed. If less than one-third of the bait device has been consumed, it does not need to be replaced. Look at the Recruit HD termite bait and purple extractor from the bottom. Compare the diameter of the remaining bait to the circle at the base of the extractor. If the bait is smaller than the base, it’s time to replace (Photo 1). If the amount of bait is equal to or larger than the diameter of that circle, then the bait does not need to be replaced (Photo 2). The appearance of the bait (i.e., moldy, dirty, visible feeding) has nothing to do with whether or not a bait device needs to be replaced. All that matters is the amount of bait that remains.
Q: Why do some termite colonies eat more bait than others before they are eliminated?
A: Several things contribute to the amount of bait consumed by a termite colony. The species is one of the largest factors. Generally, Formosan subterranean termites found in New Orleans and coastal areas in the Gulf Coast states tend to eat the most when compared to other native termite species like Reticulitermes. Reticulitermes include the eastern subterranean termite (R. flavipes), which is found across the Eastern, Southern and Midwestern states; the western subterranean termite (R. hesperus), found in Western states; and the desert subterranean termite (Heterotermes), found in the desert Southwest.
Among Reticulitermes, the eastern subterranean termites are probably the most aggressive feeders, followed by the western subterranean termites and the dark southeastern subterranean termite (R. virginicus). The light southeastern subterranean termite (R. Hageni) tend to eat the least. Other factors include the size, as well as the age of the colony. Some colonies are relatively new with few termites while older colonies can be very large and have millions of termites. Temperature and time of year also play a role in bait consumption. If it is too cool for termites to molt, they may eat more before the active ingredient has any effect. During swarm season, termites may eat more in a short period, but they may be eliminated more quickly.
Q: What if ants are found in a Sentricon® station?
A: Without discouraging termites from feeding on Recruit termite bait, there are several steps to help remove ants from a Sentricon station. First, completely remove the bait device from the station. Next, clean any debris from the Sentricon station using a cleanout tool. Third, reinsert the bait device once all ants have been brushed off. Last, replace the top cap and apply granular ant control bait around the Sentricon station. If the ant infestation is widespread on the property, consider treating the entire perimeter around the structure. This type of situation is a prime opportunity to cross-sell a pest control service.
Q: Do I need to add auxiliary stations with Always Active™ technology?
A: Auxiliary stations are not necessary because of the amount of Recruit HD termite bait available in each bait device, and there is bait available in multiple Sentricon stations around the site. For that reason, auxiliary stations are not mentioned on the label for Recruit HD termite bait.
Q: Historically, is there a certain side of a structure that termites hit more than others?
A: According to a study** conducted by Dr. Mike Potter at the University of Kentucky, termites do not have a preference as to the side of a structure (north, east, south, west) when feeding on the Sentricon® System stations. On average, 109 stations were placed on each side of 22 single-family homes with active termite infestations in Kentucky. Hits were reported 18 to 23 percent on each side. It was concluded that termite infestations in Sentricon stations are not associated with one particular side of a structure.
**Potter M.F., E.A. Eliason, K. Davis, and R.T. Bessin. 2001. Managing subterranean termites (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) in the Midwest with a hexaflumuron bait and placement considerations around structures. Sociobiology 38: 565-584.