The process of baiting for termites is highly variable. Sometimes termites take a weeks or months to go into a bait. Sometimes they’re in by day two.
Some slow bait toxins may take months to noticeably affect the colony. This is especially true of the hormonal approaches which interfere with moulting. Some toxins will usually kill off a colony within two to three weeks of the first feeding. Three to eighteen months is about right for nearly all jobs and most are done by eight months..
Some termite species are bait shy and may take weeks or months to return to a disturbed bait. Some termite species don’t share very well, so with them the toxin takes much longer to reach all parts of the colony.
If you are using a commercial bait system, the supplied information should be able to tell you roughly how long things should take. If you don’t know, ask. The technician’s job is to (i) manage the termites and (ii) communicate the process steps. You should always know how the technician is expected to declare when the termites are ‘controlled’.
In some risk situations, baiting may become a permanent process. While DIY baiting is possible and widely promoted by bait sellers, it is rarely advisable to take on the whole job yourself. At least have a competent person assess the situation and detail the species and risks before you decide what to do.
Don’t assume that because a lot of termites have been killed there won’t be other (colonies) ready to move in an take up the attack. Even if you have baits in place, sometimes termites may not find them before beginning an attack. Baits are not anecessarily a reliable prophylactic measure.
After any baiting program, an ongoing inspection program is necessary.
The bottom line is that baiting may kill colonies but it is just part of your ongoing termite risk management and so doesn’t really have an end date.