Earth Day is here! Did you know that you can “go green” with termite treatments? If you consider yourself more of an informed consumer, we have some food for thought when planning for your home maintenance.
Earth Day is a day you can choose to engage as an impassioned educator or an open-minded student, a diehard activist or a passive observer.
As a homeowner, you may have seen these wood-loving insects travel to start a new colony this swarm season. The discovery of pellets, piles of detached wings, or mud tubes may have caused alarm and sent you running for the first termite and pest control company you could find. In your hurry to get rid of these miniature invaders, did you have time to pause and consider the impact of your choice on the environment?
Traditional Termite Treatment
It is no secret that traditional termite treatments require the use of potent chemicals. Perhaps you’ve seen your neighbors pack up their children, pets, and plants and move in with their in-laws for a few days. Then a large tarp was tented over their entire house and a toxic substance pumped into every nook and cranny. Treatments such as these offer a near-perfect guarantee that every last bug will be annihilated. But what is the cost – both to you and to the environment?
The weapon of choice for termite and pest control companies is an inorganic compound called sulfuryl fluoride. It’s known commercially as Vikane (R), among other names. It is an easily condensed gas that is colorless, odorless, leaves no residue and is widely used as a structural insecticide fumigant. Its application to a building infested with drywood termites can take up to 72 hours. Since its inhalation is hazardous to humans, the structure must then be ventilated before the homeowners can return. Put simply, sulfuryl fluoride is something you wouldn’t want to be pumping into your lungs on a regular basis or into the air supply of the general population.
Basically, these are gases in the atmosphere that absorb and emit radiation. These include water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, and ozone, which combine to help keep the surface of the earth within a precise temperature range. One which sustains life as we know it. A problem is believed to exist when human activities produce an increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide. Many estimates say that if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the present rate, Earth’s surface temperature could be negatively affected.
What does all of this have to do with your choice of termite treatment? If you were to fumigate a typical 2000 square-foot house, the chemicals dispersed into the atmosphere in a 72-hour period would be equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions generated from driving your car somewhere up to 80 thousand miles.¹
Fumigating the same 2000 square-foot house would be equal to burning through around 35,000 pounds of coal.² It would also be equivalent to the carbon sequestered (or the number of trees needed to capture and store the same amount of greenhouse gases) by growing between around 30 acres of US forests in one year.³ Those are some incredible numbers!
Making an Informed Decision
Is this blog saying that you shouldn’t fumigate your home? No. The fact remains that tent fumigation is still the most effective treatment for exterminating identified (and undiscovered) infestations of pests.
“Educate yourself on the facts so that you can make an informed decision, just as you would before driving 80,000 miles or burning through 35,000 pounds of coal.”
It is encouraging you to educate yourself so that you can make an informed decision, just as you would before driving 80,000 miles or burning through 35,000 pounds of coal. If those values seem staggering, you may be interested to learn that there are other options available.
One such option is a product called orange oil, which is extracted from orange rinds. The oil is applied by a qualified technician to a localized area that has been identified as infested with termites. A hole is drilled into the infested wood and enough product is injected to saturate and wick through the wood.
How can you know which method of treatment is best for you? The short answer is that no two termite infestations are alike and no one treatment method is guaranteed in all circumstances. The specific areas that are infested, the extent to which these have spread, the age of the colonies, and the type of termites found, along with your personal preferences are all factors to consider. Determining these requires a thorough inspection from a licensed and qualified termite inspector who knows how to locate even well-hidden colonies.
At Twin Termite, we have a team of trained inspectors with a history of thousands of successful treatments. Because we offer both traditional and orange oil treatments, we can offer an unbiased opinion about which option is best for your home. If you live in the Sacramento, Auburn, Vacaville, Ventura, and San Diego areas, give us a call today at (877) 794-8946 to schedule an inspection!
¹,²,³ “EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator”
https://www.epa.gov/energy/greenhouse-gas-equivalencies-calculator. Retrieved 2016-04-22.