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Question DetailsAsked on 6/18/2017

Does the gas pumped into walls for carpenter ant extermination turn to liquid?

I hired a professional exterminator to eliminate a carpenter ant problem. I had a swarm 4 days ago and they treated today. The tech pumped a gas into my walls to eliminate them in a problem area which was on the 2nd floor of my house. Soon after he left, i noticed a brown liquid dripping from my ceiling. It dripped for quite a while. Should the gas have turned into liquid? He told me it starts out as one and the machine turns it into the gas. Thanks

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1 Answer


Don't know what type fumigant he used - but he should have provided you with a safety sheet on it so you could look up the MSDS for it and see if it is a brown liquid at room temp. I would guess maybe it recondensed to a liquid, and the brown color might be from it dissolving/flowing through fecal pellets from the ants.

This sounds like a MAJOR snafu on his part - and potentially very dangerous to your family and pets.

I am not familiar with an insecticide which is cleared for spot use like this for treatment (most are liquid sprays or bait chemicals) so you would have to look at the mandatory safety disclosure he should have given you - which should address how long you are supposed to stay out of the house before coming back in, and has to have a 24 hour emergency number (which might be for the company, or to ChemTrec - the national hazardous materials exposure call center) to call if something like this happens.

Sounds to me like his machine vaporizes a material which is a liquid at room temp to create a gas - meaning if it is a liquid at room temp and atmospheric pressure, it would recondense in the wall to liquid, which could then run through or stain drywall - which it cetainly should not have done. Or the machine was not heating it or expanding it right so it pumped in liquid rather than gas.

If dripping or even just staining the wall or ceiling, I would say you should immediately evacuate the building and call the pest control company about decontamination, because it is probably pretty toxic stuff - or maybe call your fire department for a hazardous material assessment - but having held certification as a Hazardous Waste Site Supervisor and DOT Hazardous Materials First Responder personally I would be assuming any liquid residue like that is pretty poisonous and get out of the house till it is remediated properly better safe than sorry.

I would also require that any remediation be checked by and confirmed by testing by an environmental health company (I would not trust just their cleanup unless the MSDS specifically indicates it is pretty innocuous after a certain period of time) - my guess is if this is liquid pesticide they are looking at at least a thousand $ aqnd more likely a few thousand $ for remediation - at least removing the drywall and insulation and vapor barrier affected, and possibly even framing.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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