Controlling Coptotermes (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) infestations in buildings with bait boxes
J R J French, T Boschma
This paper describes the results of a commercial pest control operators use of the CSIRO bait box procedure in controlling infestations within buildings of subterranean termites ('termites') of the genus Coptotermes. Polystyrene bait boxes (480 x 330 x 210 mm3) were filled with alternate layers of corrugated cardboard and kiln-dried hardwood strips of Eucalyptus regnans F. Meull. (mountain ash). A viewing port at one end of each box allowed for the operator, or the clients, to check the presence of termites in the bait box. On discovering termite activity in the box, a dust toxicant (arsenic trioxide) was applied to the aggregated individuals, and the dusted termites returned to the box, thus spreading the toxin to other members of the nest colony, leading to it's collapse. On average, the time from installation to aggregating termites was about 4-6 weeks. Of the seventy-four boxes installed since 1994, sixty-six boxes were placed inside buildings, while eight boxes were positioned around buildings. Most were placed within buildings in the sub-floor areas, and alongside termite-infested skirting boards and architraves within slab-on-ground constructions. Other boxes were placed in cupboards, on top of termite-infested flooring, roof areas and on floors in garages. Eighty-five percent of the boxes lured termites, while 13% failed to lure any termites. Of those boxes with termites, there was a 82% success rate using arsenic trioxide as the dust toxicant. Eradication of termite colonies was recorded when no further termite activity was found after 6-12 months. These results are discussed in relation to present and future termite control.