Green is the Color of Good

Post #2, March 25, 2013 by Jon

The largest investment most of us will make is the purchasing of a home. As recent history has taught us, wise investments must be looked after with the utmost care. Even when we think we are safe- completely out of danger– something can strike to make that investment so much less valuable than it might have otherwise been.  If you have money in the market, a bubble might burst, a crash might catch you by surprise.  If you own a home, most serious dangers should be covered by insurance. However, too many people play Russian roulette with that most destructive of pests, the termite.

In the good old days of yore, termites were less of a clear and present danger (assuming one’s house was properly treated) because chemicals were designed to last, like, FOREVER. That was good in the sense that one’s home was safe from such pests for a very long time. The problem was that while using such chemicals provided long term protection, the application of said chemicals was short sighted regarding environmental effects; the bad often outweighed the good.

While not entirely analogous, think of Chernobyl in the Ukraine-the site of the world’s most famous nuclear catastrophe. The immediate area is still a no-go zone, too polluted with radioactivity that will not abate in our lifetimes or in a few lifetimes to follow. The downside to introducing such long lasting pollutants into the environment, intentionally or accidentally- whether chemical or radioactive, is that the earth is negatively affected for a much longer time than anybody wants or can tolerate. That, therefore, negatively affects us as inhabitants of the earth and consumers of its bounty. Concerning pesticides, it is not ideal to have very long lasting chemicals active in the ground where we live; if those chemicals don’t break down, future ill effects may plague that plot and nearby inhabitants for a very long time. Furthermore, water sources might be affected and the food chain is at even greater risk of contamination. As stewards and inhabitants of the Earth, we can’t let that be the case.

Today, chemicals used to eliminate the threat of termites to homes are much safer for the environment, less “permanent” or “residual” in the soil, much better targeted towards the actual pests concerned (there is less collateral damage to “good” organisms), and essentially better for us all by being better for our planet. The trade off is that the chemicals don’t provide protection as long lasting as the old school pesticides. That might seem like a big trade off but considering our reliance on a healthy Earth, it is actually a very small sacrifice to make. I would argue that it is an essential sacrifice.

People must understand that standard liquid termiticides used to pretreat home sites today are potent for approximately 8 years, give or take. They must also understand that homes old enough to have been pretreated by the older classes of pesticides can often be considered to have outlived even those unhealthily durable chemicals. Essentially, if you own a home a decade or more old, you REALLY need to be aware of the risk your home is facing. It is quite possible that everything will be okay, that the bullet chamber the hammer clicks on in your game of Russian roulette is empty. However, I have seen many cases in which that hope turned out to be woefully misplaced. Termites do exist and they do eat wood and sometimes that wood is part of one’s home. When that happens, one’s investment takes a big hit and much more money is spent than if proper precautions had been in place from the beginning and if proper maintenance of protection had been performed.

It is easy to say from my perspective considering the horrors I have seen, but think of it in terms of the common sense I touched on earlier- if you have a big investment it is simply foolhardy not to take care of and protect that investment. You don’t want your stocks to go bust and you don’t want your home to be infested by termites. I’m told that once a home has been hit by termites the effect on the owner is similar to having a house robbed- it is hard to lose that worry, that sense of unjust violation. As a homeowner I can simply say that it is better to have never been violated in the first place. Simply put, a well protected home is a home that provides peace of mind.

Soon, I will write about our preferred system of termite detection and elimination, a VERY EFFECTIVE and VERY GREEN approach, the Sentricon system- so stay tuned, same Bat Time, same Bat Channel…