How To Look At A House

McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of  

site-built, mobile/manufactured and modular homes

What are the green plastic discs in the ground around the house?

Friday, July 20, 2018

Those round green things are covers for a bait system used to control subterranean termites. Attached below them are canisters about 2-inches across and 12-inches deep with openings into the soil. Termites enter the canisters to find small strips of wood placed there, and once they are discovered by a monthly monitoring process, a poisoned bait is inserted. The poisoned wood is carried back to the colony and two months to a year later the colony is knocked out.

   The bait traps are an alternative to the traditional soil treatment that involves pumping gallons of liquid termiticide into the ground around a home to create a barrier to termite infestation. The most well-known bait system is Stentricon®, which was developed by Nan-Yao Su, a University of Florida  entomologist, and manufactured by DowElanco. It is available only through licensed pest control operators, but other brands are offered for direct consumer purchase.

Choosing Between Bait Traps and Termiticide Barriers

  • Homes with a type of construction that is difficult to treat with a conventional soil treatment system, because of an inaccessible crawl space or other impediment, or a history of repeated termite problems, would do better with bait system. 
  • Homeowners that don’t want their floors drilled, and furniture and carpeting moved for a soil treatment would prefer bait traps because it is a less intrusive system.
  • Termiticide soil treatment is the least expensive choice for a budget-conscious homeowner, at about half the price of bait traps and follow-up monitoring. Annual renewal contracts for termiticide are also less expensive than a bait system.
  • Anyone concerned about the use of pesticides around their home would be a good candidate for bait traps. Liquid termiticide ground treatments are not hazardous to humans or their pets when applied according to the manufacturer’s instructions, but anyone who is apprehensive about use of any pesticides would find a bait system, which uses a small amount chemicals compared to multiple gallons needed for an effective ground treatment, a better choice.
  • If a termite treatment is being done as part of a real estate transaction, because evidence of termites was found during the home inspection, a termiticide ground treatment is probably a better choice. Bait traps use a slow-acting poison that requires up to a year for the baits to reduce or eliminate the infestation.
  • People living in a condo or townhouse that is part of a large complex may prefer termiticide ground treatment for their individual unit, especially if the homeowner association is not providing a bait trap system throughout the development.
  • A combination of both bait traps and localized treatments with termiticide soil treatment to infested areas is also an option, which provides immediate elimination of a known infestation, but limits the use of pesticides around the rest of the home.

    Also, see our blog posts What is the difference between a subterranean termite and a drywood termite? and How do termites infest a house and remain hidden while doing major damage?

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To learn more about termites, see these other blog posts:

Should I be worried about termites if my neighbor's house is being tented?

Is the WDO (termite) inspector allowed to poke holes in my wood siding and trim? 

Do carpenter ants cause structural damage to houses in Florida?

How long before closing can you have a WDO (termite) inspection done?

How long does Bora-Care® last? 

 Why is it a mistake to store lumber in the crawl space under a house?

Does the presence of carpenter ants in a house indicate that there are probably also termites? 

Are homes in Florida required to have termite protection? 

If termite damage appears to be old, does that mean that termites may no longer be present?

How do I know if my WDO/termite report is "clear"? 

When do termites swarm in Florida?

Does a recent termite company inspection sticker mean there are no termites? 

Can a mobile/manufactured home get termites?

Do I have to tent the house if I have termites? 

What is a termite shield?

How do termites get into a concrete block house? 

Do termites eat concrete?

What is a clean WDO?  

What do termites eat?

How do I treat wood rot  that's listed in my termite-WDO report? 

Do I really need a termite-WDO inspection? 

What's causing those holes in the fascia?

Does wood chip mulch in the yard attract termites?

• I saw a little termite damage on the baseboard. Should I be concerned?

   Visit our TERMITES, WOOD ROT AND PESTS page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.  

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