Capitol Corridor
Capitol Corridor
Capitol Corridor
University of California
Capitol Corridor

Kinder, gentler termite control

A San Francisco Chronicle writer sought expertise from a UC scientist to unearth eco-friendly ideas for killing termites, the nemesis of wood-constructed home dwellers worldwide. Termites cause more consternation than depreciating property values and adjustable-rate mortgages, wrote Glen Martin, a former Chronicle environmental reporter.

Martin turned to Vernard Lewis, a UC Berkeley Cooperative Extension specialist, one of the country's top authorities on termite taxonomy and control, for advice on killing termites with kindness. Detection is one of the first problems with the pest. Lewis told the reporter he uses a portable x-ray device to detect termites. (As a homeowner who has stressed over possible termite evidence, I wonder where I could get one of those.)

Liquid nitrogen, an earth-friendly termite treatment that was popular a few years ago, worked on the termites it touched, Lewis told the reporter, but its extremely cold temperature caused "collateral damage," like cracked tiles and warped linoleum.

Orange oil, a natural termite remedy touted by Chronicle columnist and pest management consultant Richard Fagerlund, is safe and pleasantly scented, but according to Lewis' research, ineffective.

The best bet for consumers who want natural control, according to Lewis, are borate-based compounds. But for heavy infestations, chemical fumigation may be the only practical option, the article said.


Posted on Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 11:24 AM
Tags: termites (3)

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