Baiting Stations

Baiting Stations

While preventative measures and periodic pesticide spraying is very effective for a large number of household pests, there are some types that simply require a different and more focused approach. Baiting stations are effective for a number of different pests, including mice, rats, and termites. A baiting station works by setting poison in a mostly-enclosed container so that it attracts only the kind of pest you are trying to take care of. The size varies depending on what kind of pest it’s for, and the number used depends on how large of a pest problem you have.

Mice are the most commonly targeted pests for baiting station use. Many homeowners don’t want to deal with the mess of catching mice on traditional mousetraps, or they don’t have the space to safely place mousetraps with pets or children in the home. Others want a less obtrusive and obvious solution to their rodent problem. Baiting stations are an effective solution to these problems, as they are low profile and house the rodent poison inside a closed container that only rodents can access. Bait stations can be constructed easily at home or bought ready to use for soft baits like peanut butter or cheese, or hard baits like grain or seed. Some can even be utilized for liquid bait. Some bait stations cannot be opened at all, while others are refillable and consist of a locked container that can only be opened with a key. There are 4 tier levels for ready-to-use baiting stations that vary in tamper-resistance and weather resistance. For Tier 1 baiting stations, as long as the poison used to bait the station is stored in a safe place away from pets and children, baiting stations are very safe to use.

Typically it is more effective to use multiple bait stations with small amounts of bait in them. These should be placed close to walls, relatively close together, in corners of rooms and in cabinets, anywhere you suspect the mice may be feeding or living, and at any openings around the outside of the building where mice could gain entry. Keep in mind that mice can squeeze into openings smaller than a dime, while rats can fit through openings as small as a quarter. Be sure to use a baiting station to match the pest, as rats won’t be able to fit into a mouse baiting station.

Arguments against baiting stations are that the poison does not kill the rodent instantly and causes it to suffer before death, which some see as cruel and inhumane. Baiting stations also do not allow you to control where the rodent dies, which can lead to bad odors if it dies in a place where you cannot retrieve it. For individuals with these concerns, there are many other effective rodent control options such as snap traps (although these do not always kill the rodent instantly), electronic traps, and humane traps that don’t kill the rodent so that you can release it elsewhere. For individuals who don’t have these concerns, baiting stations are often very effective because they give the rodent a place to feed where it feels secure, they keep the bait from being spilled inadvertently, and allow the bait to be placed in areas that other traps can’t reach.

Baiting has also become more prevalent in termite removal tactics. The standard used to be spraying pesticides into the ground around a building to protect the structure long-term from underground termite attacks. However, many of the longer-lasting pesticides used for this method have been banned and are no longer available due to concerns over harming the surrounding environment. Since only short-term pesticides are available for this method, pest control has largely turned to baiting in order to take care of termite problems. The strategy of baiting for termites is to kill the worker termites with the bait so that the queen and soldier termites will starve and the entire colony is taken care of.

First is the pre-baiting stage, in which termite detector stations (also called monitors or termite bait stations) are are placed for the termites to find. The stations only have wood in them at this point, so that the scout termites can find them and tag them for worker termites in the colony to begin feeding on. It can take 8 to 12 months for termites to find the bait and establish a feeding cycle, because the disturbed soil caused by installing the termite stations actually repels the termites.

The structure of the termite station is such that the wood can be checked from time to time in order to determine whether there is any termite activity yet. Once termites begin feeding on the wood, the next stage is to swap the clean wood for the toxicant-laced wood, so that the workers begin taking it back to the colony. The final stage occurs when the workers in the colony die, and the rest of the colony eventually dies off as well.

There are two types of toxicants to choose from. Chitin inhibitors take longer to work because they only affect the immature workers in the colony. Since termites can live 5 or 6 years, some estimate that it could take 8 years for Chitin inhibitors to effectively eliminate a termite colony. The general consensus in the pest control community is that slower is better, because it takes time to thoroughly work through the termite colony. Metabolic growth inhibitors, however, affect all of the termites that eat it, and kills them off in 60 to 90 days.

Termite baiting for effective elimination can be a long process. However, if you have the patience to do some experimenting and do it yourself, you can save thousands of dollars over several years compared what it will cost to have it done by a professional. You can buy baiting systems just like what professionals use and install them yourself. If you prefer the peace of mind of letting the experts do it (some have electronic monitoring systems that make it easier to measure termite activity), pricing varies per square foot but can average around $1600 for the first year and then $400 for every year after that. Since the type of toxin will greatly affect your time frame, be sure to explore your options before committing to one company.

How Do Bugs Get in Your House?

How Do Bugs Get in Your House?

Do you ever wonder how bugs get into your house? You have pest control spray every month, but still find them in your home no matter what you do. What you may not know is that there are many ways for bugs to find their way into your home, and the good news is that there are things you can do about it before ever having to spray for them.

Perhaps one of the most obvious ways for bugs to get in is through torn window and door screens. If you leave the window open to let in the fresh air and there’s a hole in the screen (however small it may be), you’re inviting bugs in too. The good news is that there are ways to patch up holes in your screens, no matter what the material. If your screens have multiple holes, however, or if they are rusting, it’s a good idea to replace them.

Another way bugs enter the house is through gaps in your door frames. Weatherstripping can wear down over time, so it’s important to replace it when it’s no longer effective. Check your doors periodically to make sure they’re tightly sealed. Creating a better seal around your outside doors can also reduce energy cost in your home if air and light has been getting through.

If you have cracks in the foundation of your house, in the walls, or fascia boards, bugs can easily find their way to the inside. Even seemingly tiny cracks can let in a myriad of insects, many of which are microscopic in size. The best way to take care of this is by closely inspecting the outside of your house and sealing any cracks with caulk or mortar, and replacing old bricks and rotting fascia boards with new ones.

Another easy-to-miss opening for bugs is utility line and appliance vent entry points, where they connect to your house near the foundation or under the roof line. Even if these entry points have been sealed on the inside, there may be openings on the outside of your home that allow bugs to get into the walls of your house and find their way in by other means. Plugging these holes with caulk or expandable polyurethane foam, depending on the size, is a good way to keep the bugs out.

Attic, roof and crawl space vents are another entry point for bugs, since the openings are large enough for small animals to enter, which often carry bugs in with them. Experts suggest installing hardware cloth (a fine mesh screen) over these areas to keep out both the animals and the bugs.

Bed bugs are much-loathed pests that don’t typically come into your home the same way other bugs to. These small bugs are most often brought home by traveling, on used clothing or furniture, or even guests that have encountered bed bugs without knowing it. Since removing bed bugs can be a hassle, the best prevention of a bed bug infestation is to know the signs of bed bugs and thoroughly check your lodgings when you travel.

The more you deter bugs from your yard, the less likely they are to come into your home, and there are practical steps you can take to make your yard less bug-friendly. Be sure to eliminate standing or pooled water in your yard, gutters, or rooftop, and eliminate leaks in your home and plumbing, as most insects like being in moist or wet environments. Get rid of piles of brush and debris, where bugs like to hide, and if you have a compost bin, line it with hardware cloth to keep bugs from making their home inside and multiplying.

Bats, warblers, and swallows are natural bug eaters, so encouraging these animals into your yard will help mitigate the bug population, including wasps, spiders and mosquitoes. Trees and bushes are likely to attract birds, as are bird feeders and bird baths. If you install a bird bath, be sure to change out the water frequently to avoid creating a stagnant bug-magnet. Also, be sure to keep trees and bushes well-trimmed so that they don’t come into contact with your house and provide an easy way for bugs to get closer.

Obviously, spraying insecticide is a popular and usually effective method of keeping out bugs, but for a more natural bug repellent around the foundation of your house, try boric acid or diatomaceous earth. Inside, keeping food (including pet food) and trash in closed containers and eliminating clutter will help make your environment less appealing to bugs.

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