A Timeline for Termiticides


July 14, 2015

APRIL 15, 1988 – A day of infamy
The termite industry has come a long way since the day chlordane was removed from the market as a commercial termiticide — on Tax Day, no less. This was the last day any of the other cyclodiene termiticides, including chlordane, could be used legally in the United States, except for some special uses such as underground cable protection and electric terminals for ant control.

This put the termite control industry in a position they had never experienced. Chlordane and the other cyclodienes had been so successful controlling termites, as well as many other pests, they created a period of complacency in the industry. With the exception of some work that was being done with chlorpyrifos as a termiticide, nothing was being developed for termite control.

1988–1994  – Panic strikes
Many companies stopped performing termite control, fearing retreats, claims and legal action. But the good news is many chemical companies funded research that involved chemical developers, universities, and state and federal regulatory groups. After a lot of work, support and money, new solutions were on their way.

1995 – Baits make a comeback
Baits made a return, but this time, they were designed to be placed in the ground instead of on top of it or in termite galleries. New baits were placed in the ground in what we used to call monitor stations. This process initially was work-intensive and the documentation, difficult. Still, it proved to be successful at controlling subterranean termites, both native and Formosan, as a standalone process with no appreciable difference between it and a liquid termiticide treatment.

Since then, newer formulations have succeeded in removing the labor requirement of the original formulations. This has significantly improved the acceptance of termite bait systems and makes them a competitive control strategy option.

1995 – Non-repellent termiticides arrive
The same year also marked the debut of non-repellent termiticides, which have a different mode of action than traditional chemical options. The termites don’t recognize the presence of a non-repellent insecticide/termiticide, which allows termites to pass through the chemical, pick it up and transfer it to other members of the colony within several days.

Before this, termiticides had been repellents or contact pesticides. These chemicals could be detected by all insects and were used primarily in termite control as barriers, whereas non-repellents are best described as treated zones.

2015 – It’s good to be in the termite business
Today’s termite control industry has the best solutions we’ve ever had. The end result is almost zero retreatments, no matter which termiticides you use — baits, liquid, borates or a mixture of several, depending on the needs and conditions.

These days, it’s important to focus on better initial and periodic inspections, documentation, customer satisfaction, customer retention, employee relations and increased certification of all employees. We have the right people and the right tools. Let’s use them to their fullest.

You can reach Tom Hardy at hardyboyz@msn.com.

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