Fipronil in termite treatment

Fipronil is an insecticide that is has been designed for broad spectrum use.  It works by disrupting, and eventually disabling, the central nervous system of insects. This affects their nerves and muscles – which is fatal for all types of insects. Because of this, fipronil has become quite popular as an insecticide.

Fipronil is the main ingredient in many brand name products such as Regent and Termidor which are used as a traditional form of barrier treatment for termite control. It can be found in dust form that is blown into the tunnel systems of termites, gel for use in bait stations, and also as a liquid state. This chemical is quickly becoming a favorite amongst homeowners and commercial applicators alike for termite treatment, but it is also used for controlling cockroaches, ants, ticks, and fleas, among others.

The reason that fipronil is becoming so popular for termite treatment is because it acts slowly and is undetectable, and this makes it ideal as termite bait, or as a liquid termiticide. In termite baiting systems, the poison is mixed into the edible cellulose bait that the termites carry back to the colony to share with their other nest mates, while as a liquid termiticide, the poison is applied directly into the soil surrounding a building. In addition to the actual chemical poisoning the insect, the feces and carcasses left behind can contain enough residual pesticide to kill other members of the colony, if eaten.

Toxicity hazards

While quite effective in both knockdown and control, fipronil is classified as a class II moderately hazardous pesticide. There have only been a few studies on the effects of the chemical on humans; however, these studies conclude that fipronil should fall under the category of Group C possible human carcinogen based on tests involving lab rats.

Fipronil is also considered to be a mild skin irritant, as well as a moderate eye irritant for both humans and animals.  There has been no definitive evidence that the chemical leads to any types of birth defects.

The environmental effects of fipronil are a bit more severe.  The chemical is considered to be highly toxic for aquatic life, including invertebrates, as well as fish.  This unique make up of the product that allows it to be less soluble in water, while being able to bind to sediment helps to lessen the effects somewhat.

As with imidacloprid, fipronil is fatal for honeybees, and should never be used in their foraging areas. It can certainly get into the ecological chain if birds eat insects that have been poisoned with the chemical (as happens when birds eat termite swarmers, for example). The chemical is highly toxic to many species of birds, and you should bear this in mind if you’re going to use it.

Proper use and storage of fipronil is essential in order to minimize the dangers to nature, the environment, animals, and humans. Usually, only pest control experts are in a reasonable position to deploy this chemical with all the proper safety precautions and guidelines.

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