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It’s time to check back in on my DIY vs Pro post about termite treatments! What were my results? What happens next? Read on to find out!
Last year, I partnered with Sentricon to learn more about termite inspections and set bait stations around the entire perimeter of the house, shed, etc. to keep them protected. I promised you a follow-up post of what I’d find out when the house was inspected again, so I’m here today with exactly that!
If you missed that post, I HIGHLY recommend taking a peek at it here. We covered a lot of ground (pun intended.):
- General termite facts and home requirements in the U.S.
- Why termites are a huge concern for a house like mine and my past experience with discovering a termite infestation when I was a new homeowner
- What termite inspections are like
- What CSS (Certified Sentricon Specialist) inspectors look for (both outside and inside the home)
- Things you can do to mitigate the risk of termite infestation (and other general pest control)
- Busted a few myths on termite prevention
- What the Sentricon total protection system installation is like
- Whether DIY installations vs. hiring a pro is worth it (short-term and long-term)
Given how much life has changed, it honestly feels like that inspection was so normal and so long ago… even though it was less than a year!
Sentricon Termite Treatment Review: One Year Later
I knew to expect a follow-up visit from American Pest Control sometime this spring. The follow-up would be much quicker than the initial visit… mainly to check the Sentricon bait stations around the house, shed, etc. and see if there were any visible signs of termite activity. If the stations were eaten past a certain point, they would know if the bait needed to be replaced and the extent of the treatment. It was a result that I, of course, was happy to find out was ALL clear!
My re-inspection actually occurred earlier this year (pre-pandemic craziness). I got a call that my follow-up visit was happening on an afternoon when I, unfortunately, would not be home (I was filming a house tour I think you’re going to really enjoy!); but since everything that needed to be checked was around the perimeter of my home, they could just pop over and get it done while in the area for other inspections. No scheduling hassle and easy-peasy.
It’s funny to me — because as a blogger, I actually wanted to be home during the re-inspection to snap a few pictures in case anything was visually interesting. But, I also get that my job is an outlier and them being able to do the follow up without me involved is probably convenient for like 99% of their clients. It felt silly to postpone when they were already around, so I kept the scheduled time intact and figured I could always snap some later.
I imagine the reality of that inspection was pretty ho-hum considering we got the all-clear. But, it turns out that it was also for the best because in doing so, I got everything squared away before things got crazy!
Sentricon Termite Bait Systems
Fast forward to this week: I wound up checking out one of the bait stations myself just a few days ago (mainly out of curiosity). One of the mental notes I made when we got the Sentricon system installed is that they have to remain visible at ground level for when they need inspection again. Whenever we do new landscaping work, we were advised to simply pop them out of the ground, put them aside, and give an APC service center a call. They will return when we’re done with the area to re-install to ensure they’re measured out and marked as before; so we’re basically not moving them ourselves, just putting them aside to allow the pros to do it later (mainly so the tiller doesn’t catch and eat them up!).
I haven’t fully revealed our new outdoor projects on the blog yet (soon!), but we are working on some HUGE changes to the back yard right now, so I had to go looking for the little green circles in the ground and pluck them out before the tiller did its thing.
That’s when I got the chance to see the bait myself — and how little of it was actually gone!
What the above pic is supposed to indicate (and what I already knew because of the follow-up inspection) is that most of the bait on our stations are still intact; plenty of the bait is still sticking out around that center purple disc. Therefore, there’s either no infestation to begin with, or the termites found the bait early and were eliminated before they could consume more. If it had been eaten all the way to the circumference of the purple disc on the bottom, there’s still good news there, too: the bait serves as successful treatment and gets replaced if all but 1/3 of the bait is consumed. So, it gives a little peace of mind and termite protection no matter the results: either there has been no termite activity, or they would have replaced the bait for continuous protection (which brings the bait back to the termite colonies to eliminate them further and doesn’t let them get to the house). Win-win, with zero drilling into our foundation for the liquid barrier treatments (like I remember from when I bought the house).
At a time like this when things are proving more stressful than usual, it may seem almost insignificant to check this box off the (ugh, so so long!) to-do list. But, it’s actually really satisfying to have this good news at a time where I could use a little optimism. One less scary thing to have to worry about, and I already know that some of the other steps we’re taking (like removing dirt piled up around our foundation to see if there are any termite tubes being formed) are helping too. Plus, the alternative of having an infestation — something I experienced 10 years ago — would be pretty freaking stressful!
So, I guess all that to say: I’m glad I know more about all of this than I knew just two years ago, and a big thank-you to Sentricon and the American Pest Control team for partnering with me this past year! Atlanta area readers, you can find APC’s info here. You can also click here to find a local Sentricon pro if you’re needing termite control of your home.
I bought and had these installed last year as well. I was shocked to hear how much they charged for them to come out and look at them the following year. Over $400 just to look at them and not switch out the bait. Just curious is this about average price or did I get ripped off.
I paid $1900.00 to have 23 installed around my house and than I just had an annual inspection for $350. I asked if I can do it myself going forward, the company said they would have to take up all 23! What a big ripoff!
Hmm, that doesn’t sound right or perhaps the person you spoke with wanted to make a sale (poorly at that). I have chosen not to renew before and no one came by and took up anything. I didn’t call or tell them I would do it myself, I just simply never paid to renew and nothing happened. Baits stayed in the ground.
My family owns/operates an exterminating company (80 years family owned!) in Ohio. I’m 3rd generation running the show.
Here’s how Sentricon works: a company can apply to become Certified Sentricon Specialists. There is a lot of training, testing, recertification, paperwork, fees. Once approved by Corteva AgriSecience (owners of Sentricon), the company can now install/maintain the system. The system has a patent and is solely owned by Corteva. They charge us a fee every time we install, check, renew a system. We are essentially a sub-contractor at this point. The numbers you speak of are average. Here, in Ohio, if I were to install 23 stations it would cost me $1,250 paid directly to Corteva to get those stations. that does not include my labor/time/material/fuel, etc. I would probably charge $1,700-$1,800 depending on soil and terrain of install site. So, I make what; $450-550 for the work of installing? Then, based on linear feet and number of stations, Corteva would charge me $225 each year to keep them. So, my time/labor/fuel to check them each year would be on top of that. I’d charge $330-$350. So, you see, I’m only getting about $105 or so each year to perform the service. Corteva gets the rest. And with fuel and labor costs so high, I barely make a profit.
And yes, they still technically “own” the Sentricon system, so if you don’t pay me to renew I still have to pay Corteva regardless and I’m out that money. They continually bill me for every system I have out until I cancel that system by pulling it. Damn right I’ll come pull the system if you don’t pay your bills. Sentricon repo!
And the fees and expenses for each company vary by location and how heavily infested with termites that part of the country is. My costs in Ohio are different than a company in Arizona. But ultimately, Corteva AgriScience sets those prices. So, we only get a small portion of that check you write.
These Sentricon stations are installed all around my house. I live in a two family and the owners had hired an extermination company to deal with mice, insects and termites. The extermination company seemed useless, there follow ups consisted of a guy walking around with a backpack sprayer spraying once around the foundation, never bothered to check and clean the mouse traps, needless to say we still had mice and ants. To keep my rent down I said fire the exterminators I would take care of all the bug stuff myself which I accomplished and we havent had any issues since. I use both liquid and granule insect killers, usually buy the 50% off damaged bags at Lowes to save money. They ended up leaving the bait stations and the poising rods. I went around checking them and only 1 had signs of being eaten, hopefully it killed the termites. To get the caps off I just used a large flat head screwdriver laid flat between the taps and spun it off. I noticed the stations were all filled with dirt around the bait, so removed the bait and stuck a garden hose in to flush the dirt out then reinstalled the bait. I was looking around online and you can buy the stations and the bait for much less than an exterminator charges, found 5 bait sticks for $50. I guess you can also install sticks of wood, like pine, and keep checking and if termites are noticed then you install a poison stick which keeps costs down. If you can dig a hole you can install these yourself, no need to pay someone else to do it. The good thing about these is I read they can last 5+ years and will still work to kill termites, the poison doesn’t go bad.
There are always two parts to DIY: time and cost. Sometimes, it’s time to research and consider each approach, and in most cases, time to maintain said solution (such as regularly swapping out the DIY stations). For many folks including myself, you know you CAN do something yourself, but paying a small fee to have expertise available is helpful and saves time (following up, maintaining, etc). I see you’re commenting on a follow-up post, so I’m not actually sure you read the first part where I compare the DIY option. Here is that post, so I won’t re-address the talking points in this reply because I already went through them there. DIY is an option… but sometimes that’s not where I want to be spending time or money. In order to compare the two, I decided to see what hiring an expert is all about, what follow up is like, etc. It gave me a great opportunity to show someone who has never hired termite service before what that looks like. That way, readers can make a more informed decision of whether they want to try the DIY version (which might save money, but not time, and sometimes with the number of bait stations needed for upkeep, isn’t worth it), or save time (also a limited resource, and one I find increasingly valuable as I pursue other DIY skills like woodworking or my vintage camper project). I hope what I’ve written in the original termite post as well as this follow up is helpful to those considering their options.
Hello,I was the 1st Termite Service manager in New Jersey for Terminix in the 90’s to train technicians to use the Sentricon System and then I also ran many routes for Terminix and another small business 500 company that runs in the tri-state area….with that being said I run my OWN All Natural Pest Control company and I do NOT ISE the Sentricon system AT ALL! I myself only had about 15% Successful rate with the termites going to the stations.
1st off the worst bit of advice the company gave you was when you were to landscape to pick up the bait stations you guys do your landscaping and then put them back! I would be surprised if you’ve ever gotten any hits in your bait stations at all and this is WHY:
Imagine a giant bug came out of the sky and ripped your house up out of the ground before you move your family or died if you were able to leave a note for others saying you don’t wanna be around here there’s a giant bug ripping houses out of the sky would you do it? Of course you would and so do the termites! They communicate With pheromones and of they are in the bait stations they will mark them possibly and then none will go back to that station! Also if people has chemicals or gas or they smoke etc and then touch the stations etc the Termites may not go to them too! They are sensitive to these things and you will scare them off! Many termiticides are very safe these days but there is a green termiticide on the market that is expensive but will handle your Subterranean termite issue with great effectiveness and a lot quicker than a baiting system every will!
That’s… quite a lot of exclamation points, Tim. I’m quite glad if you have success with other methods too. But theoretically for the sake of argument, let’s assume you’re right that the termites communicate to stay away from bait stations when they have been put back (which let’s face it, you’re a random internet stranger saying you are the expert and not the experts who literally came to our home and examined everything up close and were quite informative, but sure): if the message they communicate to each other is to stay away from the baits placed around the perimeter of our home, I’m actually still ok with that. We WANT them to stay away. Using your theory, they would either encounter undisturbed bait stations in other places around the house — which would show us if there is activity and let us know if treatment is needed — or they would get this big loud pheromone message to turn AWAY from our home. Works for me! We had no CHOICE but to take the bait stations up when we used a tiller because it would have totally destroyed the bait stations otherwise, and I’m glad I had a conversation with them about it since we do landscaping work frequently (this is a DIY site, after all). So then we either put them back when we’re done, or remove them altogether, which would be the same as doing nothing from the start. Good luck with all the yelling on the internet, but I recommend trying green tea. It’s calming.