Two years ago my husband found traces of termites on the outside of our house. After much discussion and my saying no, no, no Terminix said they had a system that wouldn't harm plants and animals. I was basically over-ruled. The system they used is several canisters that are implanted in the ground around the outside of the house. After they were installed I just made sure not to walk around them. None were implanted around the garden, but the vegetables are all in pots and a foot off the ground anyway. Since the canisters were installed it has gotten rid of the termites. Now Terminix says the only way to make sure they stay away is to use a barrier method, take up the canisters and make a trench around the house and put in who-knows-what chemicals. I'm out voted on this as it is being done as I type. As I told my husband, I'm trying to get the chemicals out of my body not put more in. I also think it's a scam to make more money.
My question is what kind of chemicals are they using(I don't want to go out in the vicinity right now and ask) and how can I protect myself? How long should I wait before I go outside?.
It is so very difficult when your partner does not share your same values. You have no idea how I feel for you right now and I just don't know what to tell you other than going out there right now and insisting that they stop and go away, Yet, realistically, I know this may not be possible.
I found this site on how to prevent termites naturally.
It is my very strong opinion that any chemical herbicide or pesticide or other compound that is fatal or harmful to any life form is also harmful to virtually all life forms. What kills a bug or a plant may not kill you, but it will likely harm you and once it is in your environment, you, your family members, pets and guests will come into contact with the compounds.
There may be no immediate damages seen or felt, but they will be there and may show up as future illnesses and chronic conditions, children with genetic defects or suppressed immune and neurological systems, as well as illness and shortened lives for pets who are especially susceptible as they walk, lay and/or the dig in the soil, drink standing water which has leached out the chemicals and eat plants that have taken up toxins from the soil.
Scary thought: some pesticides have half lives of 50 years or more.
Living in Texas, bugs are a part of life. We used to live in a rent house which we discovered was half eaten by termites. They are awful and can destroy a house quicker than anything, causing thousands upon thousands of dollars in damage, not to mention ruining the home's retail value. It's great that your husband identified the termite damage, but, like most people, the automatic response is to call in the Terminex folks. In our old house, I was concerned for my seven babies, our pets, and us. They, too, drilled the holes and put in the cannisters and later came in and dug trenches around the foundation, messed up some plants and told us it "should" be safe after the first good rain. I was told it would be best for the children to wear shoes when they played out there in the yard. Our other option was for us to leave the house for a week while they wrapped it in plastic and "bombed" it. This was more toxic and I wouldn't hear of it.
When we moved to our current home, we had to have a termite inspection as a part of the sales contract. There HAD been some damage, but it had been treated and there were no signs of current activity. We got a "bug man" to come out once a month for the tree roaches and ants (there's just too many of them to control organically where I live, and besides, when the neighbors spray, the bugs just move next door), and my Guy looks for termite signs while he's here. I specifically asked for a less toxic program, so one of the things he does is puts bait way out in the yard away from the house and the play areas. The bugs like it and carry it to their queens or their nests.
You also might want to contact Howard Garrett, the famous Dirt Doctor that has a wonderful organic gardening radio show on Sunday mornings on KSKY in Austin and I *think* WBAP in Dallas. I know he talks about cayenne pepper spray for the bugs that you apply directly to the plants in your garden, and he talks about putting Maltomeal on your ant beds. But I don't recall what he says about termites.
Anyway, yeah, if they've already done the dirty deed, wear flip flops outside for a while and call their office to find out when it's safe to go barefoot again. :-)
Yeah, I live in Sugar Land, just outside of Houston. I know what you mean about the tree roaches and the spiders that come in when it's hot. We have 3 dogs and 4 cats, (all inside animals). They never stay out in the back yard unless we're out there. Needless to say I never go barefoot in the yard. Even tho everyone's been treated for parasites, the thought of pinworms makes me keep my shoes on.