Everyone in Texas is battling ants. As if Fire Ants weren’t bad enough, now we have the Raspberry Crazy Ants to deal with. Whether you own or rent, your house is no different. I am battling both of these ants until I am blue in the face. I treat them in the yard but I refuse to use insecticides inside my own house.
When, rarely, I treat the perimeter of my house, I know and expect that I will drive insects inside the house because they are seeking refuge from the deadly chemicals. I have two dogs and I will no longer use any type of chemical indoors except ant bait gels. Even they are toxic but only if ingested; not nearly to the extent that airborne sprays are. They come in small tubes that anyone can apply in tiny quantities in places where ants travel.
I had a Texas Pest Control Applicator’s license for nearly 20 years. I had to attend classes every year to maintain that license so I watched and listened for 4 hours every year as pest control chemical experts informed me of the latest chemical to be banned or re-packaged because of toxicity; harm to humans and animals. In every educational class, there were introductions to new chemicals; some were simply watered-down and renamed but we were required to know what their characteristics were and how to use them safely. We needed to know which ones would soon be pulled off the market.
Back in 2007, my wife and I had to put down our two beloved Cocker Spaniels within 30 days of each other. The skin lesions covering their body and the bleeding from their ears could not be controlled, the vet told us. First one, then within a few weeks, the other. We had no choice but to put them down, one by one. It was one of the toughest losses we had ever experienced. I still well up when I mention it.
I always felt an aversion to using chemicals around my pets even before then, but I still allowed my home to be treated for insects as everyone else in Texas did. The applicator was someone I trusted but even still, I wondered if their death could have been a result of the chemicals he applied. Could this tragedy have been avoided?
As I attended classes to maintain my Certified Applicators license, I became more and more conscious of the risks of pesticides. After their death, I realized that our beloved pets had been exposed to toxic chemicals from two sources. The injections that the veterinarian had given them a few weeks before didn’t come to mind until after I realized that my pest control contractor, a friend of mine, had also applied chemicals to the house less than 30 days before.
The loss of our pets left a hole in our hearts and I vowed never to use pesticides or allow them to be used without measured steps to learn and know the characteristics of any chemical that enters our house.
Once we welcomed our new pets into our home, I vowed to always consider that they are small and they are sniffers. They sleep in places that are not always free of chemicals such as carpeting. Many chemical pesticides that are used are nerve agents; others are like rodent baits and cause internal bleeding of the target pest.
There are odorless chemicals but the same levels of toxicity remain; we just can’t smell them.
Our pets are like our children. They deserve better than inhaling, ingesting or absorbing toxic chemicals.