Termite Extermination-Informed Consent

Pesticides kill insects and pests but can also have a devastating effect on the human species.  When a panic-stricken friend called to say she had a termite infestation and the exterminator wanted to pour 350 pounds of pesticide in and around her home, I realized most people do not know how to get enough information for informed consent.

Termites not only eat the wood structure of your home but can penetrate the soil and lay eggs.  A contact pesticide, the safest form of pesticide will not reach the target areas which are the nest and eggs and the queen termite nor protect your investment.   Often at least two persistent pesticides are recommended to resolve the problem.  They are called persistent because they linger in the environment and can be toxic to birds, aquatic and wildlife.  The mechanism of action to kill the pests is by affecting the nervous system. 

Suggested research:

FIND the Material Safety Data Sheet on line. 

GOOGE search: product name MSDS

Wikipedia is a good source for information on any subject

Also read material on line about each product suggested by your exterminator. 

Termidor is a persistent pesticide.  One of the most recommend products for termite control and extinction is Termidor.  The active ingredient (fipronil) is about 0.06% of the solution.  The concentration is much lower than most insecticides and has virtually no odor.  The termites cannot see, smell or taste the product and therefore do not avoid it.  The product is engineered to be slow-acting so once they contact, ingest and share it with their nestmates, the problem is well on its way to being resolved.

Pyrethroid pesticide is a contact pesticide.  One of probably the safest of all the pesticides is Bifenthrin.  It can be used indoors including food handling areas like restaurant kitchens, on and around building exteriors, plants and lawns.  It is a synthetic pesticide comparable to the natural pesticide pyrethrum which is made from chrysanthemum flowers.  It is not harmful to pets when dry, but has been found to be moderately toxic to birds and highly toxic to fish.  Plants do not absorb this pesticide.  Mechanism of action is by paralyzing the central nervous system and is effective as a contact pesticide for spiders, mosquitoes, cockroaches, ticks and flears, pillbugs, chinch bugs, earwigs, millipedes and termides. 

Tim-Bor & Borrada D are inorganic borates.  These products are used as wood preservatives to stop and prevent rot and insect attack. They are water soluable inorganic borage salts with insecticidal and fungicidal properties.  These borates are effective against subterranean, dry and damp wood termites, carpenter ants and Powder Post beetles and more.  The mechanism of action is a slow acting stomach poison and contact poison to decay fungi.  As a wood preservative, the insects or larvae feed on, tunnel or digest wood thus accumulating the active ingredient.  This is not the first choice for treatment.  This product protects from decay fungi as well.

Imidacloprid-Imidacloprid is a chlorinated neonicotinoid insecticide that acts on the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor which inhibits degradation by acetylcholine-esterase.  It has relatively low toxicity to most animals other than insects due to the specific receptor named above and is a topical treatment for dogs and cats for fleas.  The product breaks to inorganic molecules in water and soil and therefore is not considered a persistent pesticide but is reported to degrade into toxic, persistent, 2-chloropyridine.  It can stay in the environment for 2.75 years.  In the body 96% of the chemical is eliminated in 48 hours.

To help avoid infestation, remove all loose wood from under the house and keep the area dry. 

Other pesticides may be recommended by the exterminator.  Do your homework and make an informed choice of remedy regarding the problem of termite infestation.   

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