Sunday, April 17, 2016

RAID-- Bad for Bugs AND People


      Husband Frank said he'd done this before as he'd seen the bugs swarming in the past (Really? You didn't tell moi); and recently he did the self same thing: he used RAID, and in the house (Ick).
    Nasty! RAID is a nasty bug spray, even if it is mostly used outside (by more informed people than this spouse). But he wanted to get rid of these winged bugs right away, "bugging" us as we sat in the living room, not two feet away and crawling around on the floor and wall just below the picture window. 
     I'd informed him that I'd seen bugs by the window and didn't immediately say don't use a toxic bug spray. So his immediate reaction was to get rid of them fast by generously spraying the area near us with RAID. I should have said "no" to bug spray right off the bat. Immediately after that our eyes and noses were affected, cringing from the smell and irritation of these harsh chemicals.
     At first I wasn't even sure they were termites. I thought they were harmless winged ants (which don't like to dine on the wood the house is made of).  I looked at several websites and found out termites have little black bodies which, unlike ants, have thick waists -- no segmentation. Flying ants have upper and lower wings, the lower ones shorter than the upper pair. Flying termites have uniform, elliptical shaped wings that are twice their body length, and when the RAID got them (hubby vacuumed up the mess afterward) you could see the little body laid out against the long, translucent wings.
     I had to inform him "you're spraying poison. What did people do before WWII? Why couldn't you have used boiling water in the house (then swept them out)?"
     I wondered what my body was being exposed to. RAID has a ton of nasty chemicals, like pyrethyroids, piperonyl butoxide, permethrin, and D-phenothrm (a mouthful).
    At a government toxicology site it pointed out permethrin, for one, is harmful if absorbed through the skin and if swallowed. It says to remove pets and plants away from the area to be sprayed and ventilate the area -- we opened the windows and ventilated the house for 3 days. Some recommend opening up the windows for a week!
    And he did this stupid thing for nothing. At the "gardens alive" website (an extension of NPR radio's "you bet your garden" show) it explains that you can get rid of termites without toxins. Just treat wood --- pine is their favorite -- with borate termiticide and put the wood in termite bait traps outside of the house. Our termites were trying to find a colony, as most East coast termites are subterranean and "want" to stay down in the ground. 
     Live and learn.

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