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New Termite Baits

first_img“Textbooks say there are three species. But we’ve found evidence of up to six specieshere in Georgia,” Forschler said. “Just like with ants and cockroaches, you have toknow the species before you determine what pest-control tactic to use.” “Because of the public’s increased environmental awareness and desire to reducepesticide exposure,” he said, “the Environmental Protection Agency has fast-trackedthe registration of an alternative control tactic, termite baits.” “Termite control for the past 50 years has relied on the application of 300 gallons ofinsecticide solution around the home or structure,” said Brian Forschler, a researchentomologist in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. The baits are also based on an assumption that all termites are the same. “The EPA has taken a stance as stewards of the environment by approving theregistration of environmentally friendly products, not as judges of the product’seffectiveness,” he said. “This is a case in which the buyer should beware.” Three new termite bait products have been introduced for use by pest-control operators.But Forschler said there hasn’t been much research to see how well they work. “Termite control involves protecting the single largest investment in people’s lives,”Forschler said. “These new baits are being sold at up to twice the price of conventionaltactics. And it’s my view right now that they aren’t any better.” Each year Georgians spend $56 million on termite control and damage repair. “We don’t think this happens in termite colonies,” he said. “They find food, and theyall stay in that spot for a while to feed before moving to the next food source.” “Termite baits are a control tactic that shows promise. But they are still in theexperimental stages,” he said. “I would only recommend a bait product if it involvedspecial circumstances where conventional control cannot be attempted. Around wellsand ponds, for instance.” Forschler is head of the UGA Household Structural Entomology program at theGeorgia Experiment Station. Over the past five years he has been studying more than100 termite colonies. He has researched every control method available, including thenew baits. Most of the termite baits also involve placing bait tubes into the ground around theinfested structure. But some types of termites may prefer to feed on surface, notburied, wood. So the baits may not affect them. “With termite control, you may have to wait three to five years before you find outyou’ve wasted the money you’ve been spending on protection,” he said. “By then, youcould have damage-repair costs in the thousands of dollars.” When termites are munching on your home, you’ll try anything to get rid of the tinydestroyers. But a University of Georgia expert said newer isn’t always better when itcomes to termite control. Baits are designed to be appealing food to termites, which return to their nests to sharethe poison. Forschler said people may pay much more in the long run for choosing environmentallyfriendly products. “We’ve found that if termites have a central nesting place, it’s very mobile,” Forschlersaid. “And unlike ants, termites eat food that’s stationary, like your house. They tunnelthrough their food and eat what they’re standing on.” Baits can be deadly for ant colonies, in which workers carry food back to the nests forqueens and babies. But termites aren’t ants. “We’ve been field-testing termite baits for the past four years,” Forschler said. “Andwe will continue to do so as new products and improvements to existing products areintroduced.”last_img

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