How Does an Exterminator Treat for Termites?

pulling out termite station

Do you want to know how an exterminator treats for termites? Read the article below for a detailed description of the process a professional will take to treat  your property for termites.

About Termites

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Termites are wood-destroying insects that live in the soil. They are present in every state in the United States except for Alaska. Their part in nature is to digest decaying wood and turn it into nutritious soil. Specifically, they seek out areas that have moisture and cellulose materials like wood. Much like ants, they are social insects that randomly and continuously forage for food (wood). In Kansas, they are active throughout the whole year. They do not stop working in the winter time because the weather does not really affect their natural processes. The workers are blind because they live in tunnels. They follow complex chemical markers called pheromones which tell them where to go and what to do. Modern research has shown that termites will travel the length of a football field to gather food.

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The queen is capable of laying thousands of eggs every day to grow the colony, but the worker (white grubby looking insect) must feed and groom the queen and her subjects. The worker is the most abundant member of the colony and is responsible for damaging wood structures.They tear off small wood particles, digest the wood in their gut and feed it to the rest of the colony. Because termites are small and elusive, it can be hard to know when you need to treat for termites. Sometimes it is hard to know you have them until they have already caused substantial damage.

How does a professional treat for termites?

termite station sentricon

Patton Termite & Pest Control treats for termites using the Sentricon Colony Elimination System®. Sentricon® is a termite baiting system that uses termites’ biology against them. Foraging termites find and feed on the bait and take it back to the colony. The termites actually prefer the bait over wood. The bait makes it so the termites can’t molt. When the workers can’t molt, they die off. Sentricon® kills the colony and it kills the termite queen. This system is eco friendly because it doesn’t require hundreds of gallons of chemicals to be pumped into the ground. Sentricon® bait harms only termites. It also doesn’t require structural drilling or trenching. We have discontinued offering liquid termite treatments because they are not designed to kill the colony, are not cost effective, and are not eco-friendly. Sentricon® provides powerful termite protection, activity monitoring, and is minimally invasive. Sentricon® is a superior method to treat for termites compared to other methods.

How do I get Sentricon® on my property?

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First, we like to send one of our termite specialists out to the property to measure, inspect activity, and evaluate the conditions that are conducive to termites. He will then draw up a proposal for treatment based on his evaluation. We contact U-Dig before the service so they can flag for utilities in the areas we will be installing stations. Then, we insert Sentricon® Bait Stations in the ground about 8-10 feet apart around the perimeter of the building(s). This provides a protective barrier around your structure(s) to treat the property for termites. We will then monitor the system based on your specific activity and needs.

How often is the Sentricon® system checked?

Your Sentricon System is working for you 24/7. A single station has enough bait to eliminate a typical colony. That being said, Sentricon isn’t a system that needs to be monitored constantly. The monitoring frequency will depend on the activity level. Generally, if live termite activity is present we will monitor it every 30 to 90 days until the activity subsides. When live activity isn’t present, we will monitor the system annually along with maintenance service. However, the homeowner knows their home best. If there are any concerns, stations damaged or needing relocation, or any other problems, we are happy to come out to make sure that everything is as it should be. Patton Termite & Pest Control takes great pride in providing superior treatment and service.

What happens during a Sentricon Annual Inspection?

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A Sentricon Annual Inspection entails checking and maintaining all of the bait stations on the property while inspecting the exterior of the home. Generally, we will give the customer a call in advance to let them know we will be out to their property. A customer may have circumstances that require specific scheduling and we are happy to accommodate that. A Patton Termite & Pest Control Sentricon Specialist will come out during a previously notified time to do maintenance and report the activity at each station. The technician finds the stations using a locator specifically made for Sentricon® stations. The technician can locate stations even if they are covered with landscaping material such as grass, mulch, or rocks. He also consults the diagram with numbered and marked stations from the initial service.

termtie treatment diagram

Once the station is located, the bait is examined, scanned, and reported with one of the following:
  1. Hit With Live- the station had live termites feeding on it at the time of the inspection.
  2. Hit Without Termites- the station had been fed on but live termites were not present, colony eliminated.
  3. Not Hit- the station did not have any activity at this time. If all are marked as not hit, there isn’t an active termite colony.

Hit with Live                      Hit Without Termites                Not Hit

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Bait is replaced in the stations as needed after it is checked. The best course of action is to leave the bait as it is if there is no activity. (Read our blog post about Recruit HD Bait to learn more about the termite bait!) The older and more weathered the bait gets, the more attractive it will be to termites. Along with checking the bait, we will make sure that all of the stations are in good shape and located where they need to be. We scan, examine, and report activity on the stations and the check is complete. We mail a copy of the report usually within a week so that you can be informed of our findings. The property is then under warranty until the installation anniversary date the following year. A fully functional Sentricon® System requires annual payment and maintenance with monitoring by one of our trained professionals. The nice thing is, the system will treat for termites all year long.

Do I need to be home during the inspection?

exterminator truck outside of home

A standard Sentricon® Annual Inspection is exterior only. The stations are all located around the perimeter of the building. We will just need access around the exterior of the home. A cluttered house or busy schedule will not matter because we can complete our services without any inconvenience to you! Some special circumstances require placement of an above ground station right on the surface where there are live termites. Termites come in contact with this bait immediately. Above ground stations can be required inside the property, but this is more common with newly installed systems. We call in advance to schedule with the customer if we do need to go inside the property.

If there isn’t any activity, do I still need the system?

Termites are impossible to eliminate forever. We may be able to eliminate a termite colony with the Sentricon® system but that does not mean that another colony will not come in its place. There is a constant termite pressure in Kansas with an average of 7-8 termite colonies per acre. Sentricon® services must be provided by a professional pest control company if you want to be 100% sure you are protected from termites. It is never too early to treat for termites, but it can be too late. If you remove the system it will be a gamble. Are you willing to bet with your biggest investment?

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