Termites are indeed a scourge for home owners. Just when you think your house is in tip top condition, you find evidence that the little munchers are honing in on your home’s internal framework.
Not only is it devastating to find that termites are consuming your home bite by bite, but often you can’t tell the extent of the problem. It would be wonderful if you could reach for a termite spray in a can and deal with the pests in the same way you would a pesky fly. Unfortunately, however, the solution is not that simple.
Easy but Ugly
Termite sprays have been in use since the second World War. Far from being a simple can with a push button facility, they are more insidious than they may at first seem. Consider the ingredients: chlordane, dieldrin, heptachlor and aldrin, all of which sound very sinister. And they are. They are potent substances that linger in soil even beyond the extermination of the termites themselves.
The termite spray was never produced prolifically by a number of manufacturers and in fact, the only one who did has always maintained that it is safe and effective when used under prescribed conditions. Unfortunately, though it was effective in termite eradication, it was also effective in poisoning waterways and polluting indoor air.
Since August 1987, the termite spray has been out of production, thanks to the Environmental Protection Agency’s delisting of chlordane as a safe substance.
Eradicate the Eradicator
Since the use of the chlordane termite spray was abandoned, the race has been on to find an equally effective but safer method of termite eradication.
Testing for Chlordanes
Unfortunately, if termite spray containing chlordanes was used to treat your home, you might need to have the soil and air tested by professionals equipped to detect it. It is possible to neutralize the risk of chlordane contamination and this is done similarly to the methods used for radon mitigation.
Cracks in your central heating system should be sealed, crawlspaces vented, crawlspace air should be pumped out and replaced and you can even use topfill to replace any surface oil which has been shown to be contaminated.
The best way to deal with a termite infestation is firstly to examine the extent of the damage and consult a professional who can tell you how bad the problem is. In fact, professional termite eradication is very well advised, considering the thousands of dollars you could be pouring into those tiny, well-chewed holes if you take the wrong approach.
If it were possible to invent an effectual termite spray that was safe to humans, animals and plants, it would already be on the market. For now, we have other measures such as whole-house fumigation, baits, dusts, etc.
By far, the best way to deal with termites is to prevent them from attacking in the first place. This involves a physical or chemical barrier or combining both. Chemical sprays that go under the concrete slab, in the trenches and on the soil around the slab edge work well.
Stainless steel mesh is an excellent physical barrier that is placed under the slab and contains crushed granite, discouraging the termites’ search for lunch.
So, while there is no quick-fix termite spray on the market – and even if there were, it can be impossible to reach the little nasties where they live and feed – there is a range of solutions to keep your home termite free.