Termites in Paper and Styrene Foam

A gentleman on Facebook (and he’s not the first) raised a pointed question: “If the bait is
not poisonous, how do the termites die”?

Well, like a politician, I could use weasel words and say that in the eyes of the AVPMA it
doesn’t fall into their Poison category. They don’t even require the words Caution or
Warning on the label.

But why don’t I just answer Greg’s question?

The chemicalchlorfluazuron, when ingested by an insect, inhibits the production of the chitin which forms the new shell that will give them protection after they moult into a larger version of themselves. It works particularly well when termites get a feed of it because there are tens of thousands of young nymph termites in a nest surrounding the queen. Nymphs get bigger towards being adult workers, soldiers or reproductives through a series of moults. If the shell production is non existent they don’t survive — they die. And, when there are so many around the queen and the workers cannot cope with the body disposal task, decomposition gases and maybe fungi makes the confines of the nest uninhabitable. As there is nowhere else to go, the whole colony dies.

That’s how.

But as the word ‘poison’ is used to describe anything that kills (particularly by being eaten), yep it is poisonous to termites and other insects that go though moults. In our promo material I’ve written that “it won’t harm humans, pets or wild life” because we don’t produce any chitin. Fingernails, horns and hooves are not chitin. But if anyone insists on being pedantic, I suppose I should have remembers that some people keep pet cockroaches and stick insects. Sorry, I didn’t intend to mislead.