Chitin Inhibitors

The Chitin Inhibitors (pronounced "kite~en") are Hexaflumuron (Sentricon TM ) and Diflubensuron (Exterra TM). These products stop the termite molting process and are being marketed as a Termite colony elimination system, which in theory is a complete and total elimination of all termite workers, soldiers, supplemental reproductives and primary reproductives. 

Chitin "kite~en" Inhibitors work by not allowing the termite to molt. Chitin is a hormone that the termite secretes that allows them to molt and shed their outer body covering (exoskeleton). Chitin inhibitors stop the formation of chitin in the termite. When the termite starts to molt, without the chitin hormone, they die. Chitin Inhibitors also cause the disruption of the termite social behavior. 

An interesting note about the molting of termites, is that only the worker termites are affected by chitin inhibitors. That is because soldier termites, the reproductives and the queens do not molt. Therefore it doesn't matter if the Queens or reproductives eat the chitin hormone because it doesn't affect them anyway. This is why Sentricon and Exterra are being questioned as to their overall effectiveness.

Worker termites molt an average of 5-7 times during the maturing process. Any one of these molts that cannot complete itself will kill the termite. It has been compared to a person being strapped in a straight jacket and not being able to get out. The worker termite lives about 2 years, so at some point during the termites life if it is affected by a chitin inhibitor, it will die. It could take as long as 2 years or even longer for all the termites to die that have been exposed to a chitin inhibitor. How long it takes for the soldiers, queens and reproductives to starve and the colony to crash is anybody's guess. Some experts are suggesting 2-6 years or even longer.

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