Termite Treatment Health Risks You Should Know About

termite treatment health risks

Termite treatments eradicate the infestation in your home. However, these procedures may also pose a danger to your health, especially if exterminators use termiticides. Termite treatment health risks are common concerns of homeowners, which could be prevented with the right application and advice from exterminators.

For this post, we’ll take a look at various termite treatments and termiticides together with the possible risks.

Termite treatments

There are various termite extermination treatments that pest control experts will use. Nevertheless, the choice is based on the extent of the infestation, the location of the house, and the climate or weather during the day of treatment.

Typically, these are the methods utilized to eradicate termites:  

➡️ Fumigation

Fumigation is done using the tenting method. This secures the house and ensures that the fumes will be locked in to kill the pests.

Before the fumigation, all pets, animals, and occupants will be vacated. Also, you should remove sensitive digital devices as well to prevent damage. Additionally, all food, medicine, and edible supplies need to be removed out of the house and sealed in an airtight container.

Once everything is set, the release of chemical gas will start. To spread the gas, exterminators will use fans and no one, except the exterminators, is allowed to enter the area.

After the fumigation process, the house needs to be aerated for a minimum of 12 hours. Furthermore, all the harmful gasses would dissipate. A clearance from the exterminator will ensure that your house is safe for occupancy.

The biggest risk is inhaling the gas. Also, fumigation isn’t the most eco-friendly choice of all termite treatments. Furthermore, leaks from the tent can kill beneficial insects and plants in the surrounding areas.

➡️ Bait systems

Bait systems are probably the least risky way to get rid of termites. This process involves planting stakes or cylinders filled with termite food to the ground. Once it takes hits, food infused with a slow-acting termiticide will be placed into the cylinders.

The extermination will be exponential as the mites will bring the poison into the colony before it finally kills them. However, bait systems need to be installed on the right spots to ensure that the termites will find the food source.

Termite baits prevent children, and even adults, from being exposed to any termiticide. In addition, the only thing you have to avoid is the probability of your cat or dog digging through the holes

➡️ Wood treatment

You can use wood treatments on indoor portions of your home affected by the infestation. This includes termite foams, termite sprays, injected sprays, and liquid nitrogen among others. Borate will also be used as a safer alternative to chemical pesticides.

Depending on the chemicals used for wood treatments, homeowners should practice precautions to prevent any possibility of intoxication.

Occupants of the house don’t usually need to vacate the property unless the exterminator advises so. Wood treatments stay within the infested area. However, if the infestation is already widespread, the exterminator may recommend fumigation or heat treatment to kill all the termites than using spot treatments alone.

Types of termiticides and its risks

All termiticides that pest control companies use have to be duly registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). So far, seven EPA-registered pesticides can be used for Subterranean termites. These are Aldrin, Chlordane, Heptachlor, Lindane, Dieldrin, Chlorpyrifos, and Pentachlorophenol.

All of these are deadly against termites. However, poor handling and application can put people at risk. Below is a preview for each pesticide and the termite treatment health risks it could bring.

➡️ Pentachlorophenol

Pentachlorophenol is a termiticide that also acts as a wood preservative. Due to this characteristic, exterminators apply it to termite-infested wood and rarely on the soil.

When used as a termiticide, Pentachlorophenol’s effects will only last for three years tops. Also, if handled and applied properly, Pentachlorophenol will not harm anyone.

Still, if you get exposed to this chemical for long periods or in large amounts, Pentachlorophenol intoxication will occur. Moreover, some signs of this condition are difficulty in breathing, loss of appetite, sweating, dyspnea, high fever, diarrhea, and in worst cases, coma.

Early detection of Pentachlorophenol intoxication is crucial to prevent any adverse health effects. Also, if you observe such symptoms after the termite extermination, it’s best to consult a physician right away.

 ➡️ Chlorpyrifos

Exterminators use Chlorpyrifos for a variety of applications, but it became popular as a termiticide and pest control agent for bugs and worms. Also, one thing that makes it a top choice of exterminators is its longer residual effect that can last for up to 10 years.

Just like other termiticides, exposure to Chlorpyrifos can lead to health problems. Also, some of the recorded scenarios include a reduction in red cell cholinesterase activity and plasma level. Take note that dermal, oral, and inhalation exposure are all dangerous when it comes to this pesticide.

Exterminators who use this termiticide for widespread infestations will usually recommend for occupants to vacate the property. After the pest control experts aerate the area, they will issue a safety clearance.

➡️ Lindane

Lindane is a widely used pesticide, but the termite treatment health risks it brings led to several restrictions over the years.

When used as a termiticide, Lindane is typically applied to the soil to target Subterranean termites. Its residual effect can last for 10 years, just like Chlorpyrifos. In small amounts, Lindane is also used as part of treatments for louse and scabies.

Beware, however, since intense exposure to this pesticide has adverse effects on the central nervous system. Some symptoms of Lindane poisoning include ataxia, tremors, and convulsions. Moreover, acute poisoning will lead to prostration and severe convulsions that need immediate medical attention.

Experts associate long-term exposure to Lindane with liver problems.

➡️ Cyclodienes

Cyclodienes is a group of pesticides consisting of Aldrin, Chlordane, Heptachlor, and Dieldrin. These are the widely used termiticides during the 1970s in the midst of the EPA’s hearing about escalating environmental pollution.

Although its registration as termiticides is retained, access and usage of Cyclodienes are strictly limited. In fact, it was discovered that employees who produce Chlordane are likely to have a higher mortality ratio as they increase the length of employment. Still, it needs more studies to support this initial finding.

Chronic exposure to Cyclodienes may lead to blurred vision, headaches, involuntary muscle movements, dizziness, and seizures. Since Cyclodienes are stored in body fat, it can stay in the body for several weeks.

Due to its potent nature, Cyclodienes can have a residual effect of as much as 20 years.

➡️ Borates

Borates (borax) are wood preservatives with a lower toxicity rate than the previous termiticides. Also, it shields the wood from wood-boring insects and other organisms that cause damages. Also, it’s an ideal agent in exterminating Subterranean, Drywood, and Formosan termites.

Its two active ingredients – borate salt and disodium octaborate tetrahydrate – do the job of killing the insect pests. Still, borate has a very low impact on the environment since it’s also a natural substance.

Some household cleaning products have borates due to its whitening effect. It can also soften hard water and neutralize odors. Additionally, even cosmetic products have small amounts of borates that act as an emulsifier.

Long-term exposure to borates can irritate the eyes and the respiratory system. But unlike the synthetic termiticides, it’s rarely a cause of life-threatening conditions.

Also, you can purchase borates from most home supplies stores. Homeowners can also use it as a DIY termite control solution for minor infestations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Is termite treatment safe for humans?

A: Most termite treatments are chemical-based, which needs professional handling of licensed exterminators only. Also, direct contact with termiticides will lead to irritation and complications for those with underlying health conditions.

Q2: Can termite treatment make you sick?

A: Chemical treatments can make you sick if the exterminator didn’t observe precautions during the procedure. Moreover, the exterminator should secure any human and animal nearby the treatment area to prevent any untoward incidents.

Q3: What is the best treatment for termites?

A: Depending on the extent of the infestation, your location, and other factors, treatments for termites will vary. Usually, borates are the safest choice since it also has the potency of chemical termiticides sans the adverse health risk.

Q4: How many years does a termite treatment last?

A: The most potent termite treatment can last up to 20 years. Most would only last for 3 to 5 years. Also, indoor treatments usually last longer than outdoor treatments since it’s not washed out by rain and other natural elements.

Q5: Are termite chemicals safe?

A: If appropriately administered, termite pesticides should be safe. Still, you should avoid any level of exposure to any termiticides to prevent adverse health problems.

Final words

Termite treatment health risks are present when using any synthetic pesticides. Also, proper application and precaution should prevent any untoward incidents during the procedure. If you suffer from any irritation or difficulty of breathing after the treatment, it’s best to consult a doctor right away.

Do you have more tips to add here? Do you have experience with pesticide exposure before? Feel free to share it with me!