As you may know, our home is scheduled to be tented for termites on Tuesday morning. We’ve been preparing for this for a few weeks, and were basically ready to go when I finally got back some good information for bird owners.
It’s toxic to the birds. I mean, well, yeah. It’s toxic to everyone, sure. But here’s what Orkin, Terminex and the like are NOT TELLING YOU.
The gasses used, once properly ventilated, are essentially “harmless” to most mammals and birds. Vikane, or Sulfuryl Flouride, which is the gas used during the fumigation process, does indeed leave no residue on your items, floors and walls. However, the standard procedure first calls for the use of Tear Gas. Yes, Tear Gas. They will throw it under the property to flush out any wildlife, and will also use it in your attics for the same reason. Further, it is often used within the home after the tent has gone up but before the actual fumigation begins to aid in the process of checking the termite tent for leaks. The reality is that the Tear Gas will become trapped in any foam air pockets, such as within mattresses, furniture with synthetic or rubberized foam, and- most insidious of all- carpeting pads. These pockets may not pose major threats to mammals, but to birds? It turns our bed, couches, chairs and even the very floor itself into a death trap. The reality is that proper ventilation of these things is almost impossible, and it can take up to a year for these tiny pockets of gas to be fully safe and ventilated.
Now, we went over and over this with Orkin on many, many occasions, and were reassured again and again that the process would be safe for our birds. However, we have now come to notice that they only ever provided us actual information on Vikane- NOT THE TEAR GAS. Asking Orkin to refrain from using the Tear Gas is proving to be impossible, and as such, we are canceling the termite tenting until such a time as ALL carpeting, bedding, mattresses and cushioned furniture may be removed. Which, of course, is NOT what we had been preparing for in the first place.
Orkin’s policy for cancellation is not in our favor. They require five business days notice to cancel, and such canceling must be done by mailing in a sheet provided to us before the date listed on the sheet, or by telegraphing them. Yes, you read that right. It actually says to telegraph them to cancel. What a crock of shit. To further complicate this matter, no date is provided on this obscene paperwork.
They’re closed right now, but I will be calling them first thing in the morning and raising holy hell. After all of the go-around we’ve had with them already, this total lack of information about the toxins they’re bringing into our home is unacceptable. And seriously? Telegraph them to cancel?? On an undated, unsigned piece of paper? Oh, hell no, Orkin. We’re not done yet.
Tomorrow, I fly the flags of war.