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Re: Continued use of Termidor for Controlling Carpenter Ants

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Posted by John Fasoldt on 5:34:46 8/19/2014 from

In reply to: Continued use of Termidor for Controlling Carpenter Ants posted by Kim Storms on 20:13:18 8/18/2014 from

Well, first of all, I don’t agree with regular applications of ANY insecticides, but not necessarily because of toxicity concerns. Mostly because it isn’t normally required in applications of this type. Sure, if you had roaches, say, where regular applications are required to end the problem, it might be. In this case, singular applications are what should be the norm.

With your original problem with CAs, the application was successful, it appears. I am not convinced that routine Termidor applications are required, regardless of what exterminators (and manufacturers) may propose. Termidor, in my experience, should NOT be used as a “protectant,” it should be looked at as a “cure.” Termidor does that admirably - WITHOUT continuing treatments. When I do it, I advise treatment ONCE - standing back and assessing the results on an ongoing basis. Oftentimes, depending on each individual case, it may be required again, but only if the problem returns. Termidor is a great help to exterminators, it often solves the problem with social insects because it acts on entire colonies. But like anything else, it doesn’t involve regular treatments unless there’s a continuing problem.

As an example, this office is very old - over 135 years old, with an entrenched ant population around the entire property. The girls in this office have encountered them when they have planted flowers around this place. Every time they dig around, it seems, they have encountered hordes of ants, everywhere! A liberal application of Termidor (actually two) solved the problem. That was several years ago, maybe 3 or 4. Now, it seems they are back again, and I have asked one of the guys to “do it again.” Termidor is SO GOOD, that this is all that’s required - at least here, in this environment - which isn’t always the case, as I said earlier, it depends on individual circumstances. This is where an ethical exterminator is REQUIRED. Not one that has his own best interests in mind. And it isn’t always the exterminator’s fault, many homeowners are like your husband, who doesn’t want to go through this whole repair process again. But it’s also the job of an exterminator (or SHOULD be) to advise the customer when he feels that applications are unnecessary, disregarding the profit motive.

All those things that hubby does are good! That’s what should be done to eliminate the harborages of CAs. That’s great, and he should continue doing so. That, in itself, will do a lot to help with any future CA problems. But my opinion is that regular, continuing applications of Termidor, with no continuing problems, are not necessary.

The toxicity you worry about, for you and your dog are not really an issue - Fipronil, the active in Termidor, is also used for those flea and tick applications for animals. Bear in mind that the titration used in those preparations are 9% active, while applications around your home are at .06%. So your animals get much more “Termidor” from Frontline and the other copycats, more than they would pick up around the house, even from continued applications. My concerns for these regular applications would be the cost to the homeowner and whether they are really necessary. And remember that Termidor affects ALL social insects, so bees are affected by it also. And we NEED the bees, so those unnecessary Termidor treatments are bad for the bees. Very important!

Our great northwest admittedly have more CA problems than we do here, and with different species of CAs, so your CA problems will be a bit different than ours, here in the great northeast. The few ants you see in that humid weather are foragers - they can forage a hundred yards from their nest, so eliminating ants entirely is almost out of the question, so this is not a worry. It doesn’t mean that they’ll invite “all their friends,” like some exterminators like to say. They’re just wandering around, and it doesn’t mean you’re “in danger” of an infestation, so you needn’t worry about a few. Whether you have mulch around doesn’t matter either. I have mulch around my home also. If you’re concerned about that, replace the mulch with rocks - those round river rocks work well, and they don’t harbor insects. If you’re concerned about the planters, make sure they drain - drill holes in the bottoms so water can drain. The plastic covering will stop evaporation, not good for any wood.

The “damage” CAs cause is more the water problem than anything else. They like water damaged wood, so keeping water damage down is paramount. Yearly inspections from your obviously capable husband is good, if you intersperse them with a reliable exterminator’s inspection, when you think you may have a problem again. Which, in your area, is entirely possible.

I think that just about sums up my feelings, and I think I’ve answered your questions. If not, feel free to get back to me!


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