I recently attended two conferences where data on Altriset was presented, a new product out on the market for control of termites. The first thing you need to know about Altriset is that it is a green insecticide, super green really. In fact, I would argue it is the “greenest” insecticide on the market right now.
No Signal Word
If you look at most household cleaners, detergents, or a variety of other products (including insecticides), you’ll find a “signal word” in large bold print. This is an indication of how toxic the product is and you’ll typically see CAUTION, WARNING, or DANGER. The EPA allowed Altriset’s registration WITHOUT a signal word. Even organic insecticides have a signal word! What does that mean? Alriset poses little or no threat to humans or otherwise, except termites.
First aid instructions: No worries.
Altriset does not require any specific first aid intervention if anyone is accidentally exposed. Wow!
Gloves, goggles: Who needs ‘em?.
The person applying Altriset is not even required to wear gloves or protective eyewear.
Give bees a chance
Altriset is not a significant risk to bees, earthworms, birds or even fish. The only caution issued here is with aquatic invertebrates. I am guessing this means things like dragonfly larvae or daphnia can be affected.
How does it work?
Okay, so we know people and animals are safe, but what about the termites? I sat through no less than 15 presentations from independent University researchers, Pest Control Operators, and a couple of DuPont representatives that prove yes, it slaughters termites. In fact, if I have to sit through another presentation, I might not be as nice next time I talk about Altriset...it works, I get it!
Altriset targets receptors on the termites’ muscles that we don’t have and must also be metabolized by the termites before it can even work. Those two factors make it incredibly toxic to them but not to us. The effect on the termites is an immediate stoppage of feeding, then slowing and loss of coordination, then finally death.
This effect is actually fun to watch (if you’re an Entomologist) and is demonstrated in this video. The video was made by Dr. Phil Koehler at the University of Florida. Ink from some pens mimic the termite trailing pheromone, so they will actually follow a line drawn from a pen like they are following another termite. In the video, Dr. Koehler exposed termites to different levels of Altriset and recorded them following or trying to follow the line. It’s a lot like watching a field sobriety test on an episode of Cops. The more they are exposed, the more drunk they appear and eventually are left paralyzed.
Venus Pest Company is offering Altriset treatment for termite control right now as one of our Bee Green Pest Control services. The pricing is quite similar to that for our conventional termite treatments with Termidor, which is why we’re so excited to be able to offer this new service.