Awareness of Appropriate Technology for Pest Termite Control

Mrs. Young bought a house that needs quite a bit repair work. The structural pest control report that came with the purchase indicated that the repair cost for the termite and fungus damage was nearly $30,000, including a recommendation of fumigation treatment for the beetle damage. She was concerned about the chemical used for the treatments. Is there another way? ...A better solution?

Actually, there are a surprising number of alternative control methods for termite and beetle control. These methods are both less toxic and often less expensive than conventional pesticide application methods, such as fumigation. In addition, they usually have long-term preventative effects, instead of simply a short-term killing effect. One such "least toxic" technique is a combination of microwaves, "Electrogun", and/or borate treatments.

The Electrogun is used as a diagnostic tool. It works on the principle of "high voltage penetration." Wood, being a natural dielectric, will create resistance until a void or termite gallery is encountered. There is then a surge of current through this path of least resistance.

Microwave technology is used to actually kill wood-destroying organisms such as beetles. The microwave process seems to work best over covered walls, excluding thin paneling. The process works by spinning water molecules, causing heat to be produced by friction. Anything containing water can be heated with microwaves. Both the Electrogun and the microwave should only be used by experienced, trained technicians. As with any tool, its effectiveness is directly related to the experience of the operator.

Borate treatments are applied to the insect-damaged area by drilling and directly injecting into the wood. With BORA-CARE, Timbor and others, you have insecticides that are odorless, long-lasting, and don't contain any harsh chemicals. Applied properly, these borate-based products protect the wood - where insects nest - eliminating present infestations, and preventing future ones.

For more information on least-toxic pest management, call BIRC - The Bio-Integral Resource Center at (510)524-2567.