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Pest Control/foreign pesticide migration


Hello, I am really glad I found you to answer my question. A number of years ago my mother and father moved from the US to Madras India-he is an engineer. They lived there for about two years. When they returned they gave me a few pieces of furniture one being a wood inlayed mirror..pretty and heavy. I later found out that while there my father had his maid go out and buy some sort of insecticide/pesticide to apply to a wicker dresser they bought for their flat. He said the woman painted it in...left set for a couple days outside for treatment. He said the smell was terrible and even with the dresser moved outside the upstairs of their place stunk. They used the dresser and it now sits at my father's home. ten years later .with still a bit of the smell. I am concerned because I have some pieces in my home that came from his flat in India. He told me that the pieces I have were not treated for wood worms and insects,..that he remembers... but I wanted to know if there is any danger...migration of the chemical to other pieces in the home -the mirror hung above the treated dresser...or in shipping...or am I crazy to think so.I am also concerned if anything else currently in his home-if it can be affected. He has no idea what it was...but it was very toxic..he said it's something they use to treat insects in furniture???? He said it was watery stunk to high heaven and came in a can..had to be applied..set for a bit and then rinsed..He didn't want to be exposed so his maid..did it. I know what you can tell me is limited due to not knowing the insecticide, but my question has more to do with the possibility that surrounding items woud be affected...I have very young children in the home, but if i must I will give him back all of the pictures and items in question.  Do you know if I could have th piece tested to find out what it was?
I hope you can give me some insight
thank you"


The strong smell of older generation insecticides was often the "carrier" rather than the insecticide itself. Because of this it is probably not possible to id the material based on smell alone and a chemical analysis would be prohibitively expensive. If the articles still smell of "insecticide" the safest option may be to remove them from the home. It is possible they could be cleaned and/or sealed but again this could be very expensive. If your pieces have no odor they can probably be kept but perhaps kept out of reach of the children. Sorry I can't be more specific. Be glad that these old material are no longer available - at least in the US.

Jack DeAngelis

Pest Control

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Jack DeAngelis


I can answer questions about the control of pest insects, spiders, mites and related arthropods. These household pests include termites, carpenter ants, powderpost beetles, nuisance ants, bed bugs, cockroaches, fleas, wasps, and many others. I can also answer questions about using pesticides and other pest control tools such as baits and traps.


I am a retired university extension entomologist. I've taught and conducted research in urban and agricultural entomology. I've published over 70 extension publications, 20 research publications and several books about insects.

Ph.D. in Entomology

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