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Safe Termite Control

Safe termite control, containing termites is more difficult with the leading termiticides off the market, but it is not impossible.

| March/April 1988

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    Termites play an essential role in nature. The only problem is that they can't be distinguish between a dead tree and a floor joist.
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    Colonies can have a quarter-million members. There is almost a ton of termites per person on earth.
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    Diagram 2: Foundation insulation.
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    Diagram 1: Slab penetration.

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How to maintain home termite prevention using safe termite control methods. 

Safe Termite Control

By helping clear the forests of dead trees, termites play an essential role in nature. Their slow but certain work creates pathways for fungi and bacteria to further decompose fallen timber, thereby preventing the forests from becoming clogged with deadfalls, clearing routes for new growth and enriching the soil.

But termites can't distinguish between a dead tree and a floor joist. The best estimates of structural damage caused by termites put the cost somewhere in excess of $750 million a year in the U.S. alone. No state except Alaska is entirely free from the pests, and though areas with colder climates have fewer problems than do warmer parts of the country when it comes to termite control, the proliferation of subdivision building in forested areas has encouraged pockets of termite activity in even the least susceptible locales.

It's not unusual for a termite infestation to cost a homeowner several thousand dollars. According to entomologists and termite specialists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Southern Forest Experiment Station in Gulfport, Mississippi, about 95% of this damage is caused by subterranean termites; the remainder is attributed to the dry-wood termite, found principally in the South.

Since World War II, the most popular approach to termite control has been to spray the ground around and under infested structures with chlorinated hydrocarbons—a group of potent, long-lasting chemicals that includes chlordane, aldrin, dieldrin and heptachlor. These compounds are sprayed directly onto (or into) the soil around a building's foundation, as well as in the crawlspace or the basement.

The sole manufacturer of chlorinated hydrocarbon termiticides has long insisted that its products are safe and effective when properly used. Effective, yes, but persistent health and environmental problems, such as poisoned fishing ponds, contaminated well water and indoor air pollution in some treated homes, prompted New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Michigan and Minnesota to ban the products, and finally led the Environmental Protection agency (EPA) to consider the delisting of chlordane and its kin. Under such pressure, the manufacturer finally acquiesced and "voluntarily" ceased manufacture, effective August 11, 1987, of all chlorinated hydrocarbon termiticides. While these products are still available in some areas, their use is ill-advised.

8/1/2017 12:10:46 PM

What would be a nontoxic eradication of termites in the soil of edible plants?

2/16/2009 6:03:56 PM

With your website showing up in such good position when I search "earth friendly termiticides", I would suggest an up-to-date article. I was a TADD inspector/handler in the early '80s, so it's great fun to see it referenced, but a whole heck of a lot has come about since then... lot's of GREAT alternatives.

12/22/2007 8:02:07 PM

Is there a branch of TADD Services Corporation here in the Philippines? I live in Cavite City, Philippines, which is near Manila.

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