Friday, January 9, 2009
Eco-Friendly Termite Solution?
I don't have termites and I want to keep it that way. The termite treatment that was originally laid down on my house was the typical toxic variety. The time has expired and I now have to find a solution to keeping termites at bay without poisoning my house, the earth and groundwater.
I had one company come out to give me an estimate. They offer the Sentricon System which won the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge. It's a system that uses termite bait and manipulates natural termite biology and behavior to destroy the termite colony. It's billed as an environmentally responsible way to protect your house.
Baits rely on the biological fact that termites are social insects that feed and groom each other, hence providing a mechanism for transfer of chemical throughout their colonies. Because of social exchange of food (trophallaxis), termites can be affected by a slow-acting toxicant without directly contacting or feeding upon it. Furthermore, baits can have colony-wide effects because individual termites are not site-specific, but instead move freely between numerous, interconnected sites during relatively short periods of time. They also intermix with other colony members so that the same group of termites does not simultaneously visit a bait site.
In-ground stations are inserted in the soil next to the structure and in the vicinity of known or suspected sites of termite activity. In-ground stations often initially contain untreated wood that serves as a monitoring device. The monitoring wood is replaced with the toxicant once termites have been detected feeding on it.
The active ingredient is called Recruit. The active ingredient in Recruit termite bait is 0.5% noviflumuron, an insect growth regulator (IGR). It interrupts the termites’ necessary ability to molt, which means they are unable to grow and, therefore, die.
I dug around and found this PDF file alerting workers who process noviflumuron of safety warnings http://www.fluoridealert.org/pesticides/msd/noviflumuron.recruit.iv.july.05.pdf It is concerning to me that there would be risk for a "responsible" option. This option will cost me $1100 to start and an additional $285 a year to maintain.
I have another company coming out tomorrow with a different product that I believe is Nicotine based. I hope to learn more so that I can make an educated decision.