The entire world is definitely green. “Green” is the colour of ecological concern, the impetus that pushes cutting-edge technologies, the buzz phrase of the socially aware. Concern for the environment and man’s effect on it’s bringing a ton of new products to promote pest management is no exception. Environmentally-friendly pest management services are increasing in popularity, especially in the industrial sector. Even eco-savvy residential customers are inquiring about organic alternatives to conventional pesticides, but their ardor often stinks when faced with the 10% to 20% price differential and longer therapy times, sometimes a few weeks.
The increasing of America’s environmental awareness, coupled with increasingly strict national regulations governing traditional chemical dyes, seems to be changing the pest management industry’s attention on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques. IPM is regarded not just safer to the environment, but safer for people, pets and secondary scavengers like owls. Of 378 pest control firms surveyed in 2008 from Pest Control Technology magazine, two-thirds stated they provided IPM providers of some type.
Rather than lacing pest websites with a noxious cocktail of strong insecticides designed to kill, IPM concentrates on environmentally-friendly prevention methods made to keep insects out. While non- or no-toxicity goods might also be utilized to promote pests to pack their luggage, control and elimination efforts concentrate on discovering and removing the root of infestation: entrance points, attractants, harborage and meals.
Especially popular with colleges and nursing homes charged with protecting the health of the country’s youngest and oldest citizens, people at highest risk from toxic chemicals, IPM is grabbing the interest of resorts, office buildings, apartment complexes and other commercial businesses, in addition to low-income residential clients. Driven in equal portions by ecological issues and health hazard anxieties, curiosity about IPM is bringing a range of fresh environmentally-friendly pest control products — both large- and – low-tech — to advertise.
“Probably the best product out there is a door sweep,” confided Tom Green, president of the Integrated Pest Management Institute of North America, a nonprofit firm that certifies green exterminator firms. In an Associated Press interview published on MSNBC on the past April, Green explained, “A mouse can squeeze through a hole the size of a pencil diameter.
IPM has been “a better approach to pest control for the health of the home, the environment and the family,” explained Cindy Mannes, spokeswoman for the National Pest Management Association, the $6.3 billion pest management sector’s trade association, at the exact same Associated Press story. But since IPM is a rather new addition to the insect management toolbox, Mannes cautioned that there is minimal industry consensus about the definition of green solutions.
In an effort to produce industry standards for IPM providers and suppliers, the Integrated Pest Management Institute of North America developed the Green Shield Certified (GSC) program. Assessing pest control products and businesses which eschew conventional pesticides in favor of environmentally-friendly control procedures, GSC is endorsed by the EPA, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and HUD. IPM prefers mechanical, cultural and physical procedures to control insects, but might utilize bio-pesticides derived from naturally-occurring materials like plants, animals, bacteria and specific minerals.
Hazardous chemical sprays are giving way to new, sometimes unconventional, means of pests. Some are ultra high tech such as the quick-freeze Cryonite procedure for removing bed bugs. Others, like trained dogs who sniff out bed bugs, look decidedly low-tech, but use state-of-the-art procedures to attain effects. By way of instance, farmers have utilized dogs’ sensitive noses to sniff out problem pests for centuries; but training dogs to sniff out explosives and drugs is a relatively recent development.
The innovative Track & Trap system attracts mice or rats to a food station dusted with fluorescent powder. Rodents leave a blacklight-visible trail that allows pest control experts to seal entry paths. Coming soon, NightWatch uses pheromone research to lure and trap bed bugs. In England, a sonic device designed to repel rats and squirrels is being tested, and the aptly named Rat Zapper is purported to deliver a lethal shock using just two AA batteries.
Alongside this influx of new environmentally-friendly products rides a posse of federal regulations. Critics of recent EPA regulations restricting the sale of certain pest-killing chemicals accuse the government of unfairly limiting a homeowner’s ability to protect his property. The EPA’s 2004 banning of the chemical diazinon for household use a couple of years ago removed a potent ant-killer from the homeowner’s pest control arsenal. Similarly, 2008 EPA regulations prohibiting the sale of small quantities of effective rodenticides, unless sold inside an enclosed trap, has stripped rodent-killing chemicals from the shelves of hardware and home improvement stores, limiting the homeowner’s ability to protect his property and family from these disease-carrying pests.
Acting for the public good, the government’s pesticide-control actions are particularly aimed at protecting children. According to a May 20, 2008 report on CNN online, a study conducted by the American Association of Poison Control Centers indicated that rat poison was responsible for nearly 60,000 poisonings between 2001 and 2003, 250 of them resulting in serious injuries or death. National Wildlife Service testing in California found rodenticide residue in every animal tested.
Consumers are embracing the idea of natural pest control and environmentally-friendly, cutting-edge pest management products and techniques. Availability and government regulations are increasingly limiting consumers’ self-treatment possibilities, forcing them to switch to professional pest management firms for relief from insect invasions. As this has established a viable choice for industrial clients, few residential customers appear willing to pay high costs for newer, more labor-intensive green pest management products as well as fewer are prepared to wait the further week or 2 it might take these products to do the job. It’s taking leadership attempts on the part of pest management organizations to educate customers in the long-term advantages of green and organic pest control remedies.