Is a termite bait system worth it?
June 13, 2013 11:24 AM   Subscribe

Hello, I bought a house in Atlanta, GA about 7 months ago. The house came with a termite letter and the last inspection was clean. The previous owner shelled out for a termite bait system (which is still installed in a perimeter around the house). I called a pest control company to do an inspection, and I was quoted as follows: Termite bait system: $575 first year, $200 subsequent years Termite liquid treatment: $880 first year, $125 subsequent years My question for those who have more experience with these things than I do (this is my first house): Are these reasonable prices? Should I shell out for the bait system? If so, shouldn't they be able to re-use the baits that are already present? Thanks in advance!
posted by verdeluz to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Best answer: The big question is, has there been, or is there an active infestation?

I'd get a few estimates, I live in Atlanta and I use Terminix, but just for regular spraying. We're about to sell our house and we're going to get an inspection and certification and leave it at that. Call Rollins, Terminix, Orkin and see what they have to say.

What is your foundation? I have cinder block foundation, with brick and siding. So there's no wood touching the ground. How many trees are there in your neighborhood? Are there many of them close to your house? We thinned out a number of trees when we bought our place, mostly because they were dead or dangerous. If you have a lot of trees, there's more wood for termites to eat.

I'm assuming that you're talking about Sentricon, which a lot of the national pest control folks use. Here's an interesting site.


As an Atlanta homeowner there are two things I'm going to tell you to do.

1. Have an arborist come by and assess the trees on your and your neighbors's property. There's a thing called Pine Bark Beetle and it caused our neighbor's 40 foot pine tree to fall across our backyard, appropos of nothing. It just came crashing down. It missed the house by thismuch.

2. Have a plumber run a camera down your sewer line. The connection between your house and the county is YOUR responsibility to maintain and you can't claim it on your homeowner's insurance. Our old sewer line was made of clay and it had crumbled. We replaced it 5 years ago, about 2 weeks after completing a $4,000 landscaping job. Now, it's failed (there's a lawsuit about to happen) and we have to dig up the landscaping AGAIN to take care of it.

If you know anyone who wants to buy a house in Chamblee with no dangerous trees and a new sewer line, MeMail me.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:35 AM on June 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


Response by poster: Thanks, Ruthless Bunny. The termite letter didn't mention any infestation (and that was about 7 months ago), but today's inspection pointed out some previous (not active) termite damage on the deck and on a drywall in the dining room (they were unsure if the dining room was previous or active).

I appreciate the link on Sentricon. The system that they offered me was called "Advance" by company called Termidor. I think I will opt to not have a bait system.

I am surrounded by trees; that is a good idea, to have an arborist look at them.

The piping is supposedly copper (build in 1963) but I haven't had anyone check it -- I should probably do that too.

I really appreciate the info -- will call a few other companies for quotes. Will also pass on your info if I know of anyone who's buying.
posted by verdeluz at 12:12 PM on June 13, 2013


I recommend my guy, Mike Kenton at Mike's Lawn and Tree Care. I'll MeMail you his info.

Your house is the same vintage as mine! There's no way you have copper in the sewer line, it'll be clay or galvanized steel. So..yeah...camera.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:16 PM on June 13, 2013


Best answer: I pay $30/month ($360/year) to have my termite bait stations monitored in the Raleigh area of North Carolina. They actually don't have bait in them right now; they have little pieces of wood, and the company sends someone out to check the pieces of wood every month to see if they've been chewed on. If they have been, then they know there's an active termite infestation and they'll put out the actual bait.

We did have an active infestation a few years ago, which was why I had the bait system installed and am willing to keep paying for the monitoring. (Just for information's sake: I also had them do a liquid treatment around the house, which took care of the immediate problem. From my research, liquid treatments generally last 5 years or so. The bait system is for backup in case they come back.)

I'm surprised that they want to charge you more for the first year of the bait system, since they wouldn't have to do the actual installation, and they'd likely just be monitoring anyway. Did you ask why the first year cost more, or ask explicitly whether they can use the bait stations already installed? I'd call a couple of other companies and compare their quotes, too.
posted by snowmentality at 12:55 PM on June 13, 2013


The lovely thing about the subterranean termites in Atlanta is that, even in the absence of trees, they often get a chance to dine for years on construction waste that was simply buried onsite. The costs you're quoting sounds like you're initiating treatment with someone, so they want to (ostensibly) make sure that your first treatment is a good one since they're going on the hook for termite damage that occurs afterward. We figured the annual termite fees amounted to insurance payments, and they came in handy when we ended up with an active infestation in a wall. Nothing gets the blood moving like seeing a little hole appear about 5 feet off the floor, with little white antennas poking out.

"They were fixin' to swarm," said the guy who came. Right. Thousands of termites taking flight into our living room. PERFECT.
posted by jquinby at 1:15 PM on June 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Termites swarmed in our master bathroom in Woodstock GA back in the 90s. They came up through the shower trap I think. Luckily we had an active policy so it didn't cost me anything. They came in, cut holes in the wall, and pumped what must have been 100s of pounds of goo in. We never saw another termite.
posted by COD at 1:18 PM on June 13, 2013


Best answer: You have to keep the termite cert up or else you will never be able to sell it.

We use Stinger Pest and have been very happy with the liquid treatment, the customer service, and the yearly fee, which sounds in line to what you have described here for the liquid treatment. We felt like the Terminix people were just super hard selling us and we didn't like the traps in the yard. When we did research at the time, the liquid system had really good results/reviews.
posted by Medieval Maven at 1:18 PM on June 13, 2013


Best answer: I use Arrow Exterminators, and those prices are right in line with what I'm paying (in Conyers). We have the bait system installed around the house.
posted by ralan at 1:25 PM on June 13, 2013


Response by poster: Thanks for the responses, everyone. I will definitely ask this company why they can't use the existing bait stations, and I will also try calling the previous owner's company (I found a receipt for their last inspection) to see what they will offer me.
posted by verdeluz at 1:34 PM on June 13, 2013


Best answer: Calling the previous company is an excellent call - we did the same thing and got a pretty nice discount on renewing the bond. Going forward as long as there is distance between the wood and the ground, and you can keep the concrete or bricks clear such that daylight can hit them, you should be in pretty good shape. We were on a slab in our Acworth house, so it was a simple matter of making sure that mulch and debris didn't pile up high enough to touch the siding, thereby giving them a cool, dark, pathway into the house. Our particular trouble spot was a deck that was installed directly on the grade and attached directly to the house. This is where the little buggers got in.

As a condition of continuing to cover the bond, we had to agree to cut that deck off the house and leave a gap for sunlight, inspection and treatment. Anyway, it's something of a hassle if you're not used to it, but I wouldn't buy or own a house in the metro Atlanta area without an active termite damage bond.
posted by jquinby at 1:45 PM on June 13, 2013


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