Is There a Boom Or Bust Coming For Natural Pest Control?

The world is turning green. “Green” is the color of environmental concern, the impulse that drives cutting-edge technology, the watchword of those who are socially aware. Concern for the environment and human impact on it is bringing a number of new products to market and pest control is no exception. Eco-friendly pest control services are growing in popularity, particularly in the commercial sector. Green residential consumers are also demanding natural alternatives to traditional pesticides, but their ardor often cools when confronted with the 10% to 20% cost differential and longer treatment times, sometimes several weeks.

The rise in US environmental awareness, coupled with increasingly stringent federal regulations governing traditional chemical pesticides, appears to shift the pest control industry’s focus on integrated pest management (IPM) techniques. IPM is considered not only safer for the environment, but safer for people, pets, and secondary scavengers such as owls. Of the 378 pest control companies surveyed in 2008 by Pest Control Technology magazine, two thirds said they offer IPM services of some kind.

Instead of lacing pest sites with a poisonous cocktail of potent insecticides designed to kill, IPM focuses on environmentally friendly prevention techniques designed to keep pests away. While low or non-toxic products can also be used to encourage pests to pack their bags, elimination and control efforts focus on finding and eliminating the causes of the infestation: points of entry, attractants, port and food .

Particularly popular with schools and nursing homes tasked with protecting the health of the nation’s youngest and oldest citizens, those at greatest risk from hazardous chemicals, IPM is attracting the attention of hotels, office buildings, complexes of apartments and other commercial businesses as well as eco conscious residential customers. Driven in equal parts by environmental concerns and concerns about health risks, interest in IPM is bringing to market a number of new environmentally friendly pest management products, both high-tech and low-tech .

“Probably the best product out there is the chimney sweep,” said Tom Green, president of the Integrated Pest Management Institute of North America, a nonprofit organization that certifies companies that wipe out the environment. In an Associated Press interview published on MSNBC online last April, Green explained, “A mouse can slip into a hole the size of a pencil diameter. So if you have a quarter-inch gap under the door. , until a mouse is worried, there are no ports there. ” Cockroaches can crawl through an eighth-inch gap.

IPM is “a better approach to pest control for home, environmental and family health,” said Cindy Mannes, spokesperson for the National Pest Management Association, the trade association of the pest control industry. $ 6.3 billion, in the same story as the Associated Press. However, as IPM is a relatively new addition to the pest control arsenal, Mannes warned that there is little consensus in the industry on the definition of green services.

In an effort to create industry standards for IPM services and providers, the North American Integrated Pest Management Institute developed the Green Shield Certified (GSC) program. By identifying pest control products and companies that avoid traditional pesticides in favor of environmentally friendly control methods, GSC is approved by the EPA, the Council for the Defense of Natural Resources (NRDC) and the HUD. IPM favors mechanical, physical and cultural methods to control pests, but can use bio-pesticides derived from naturally occurring materials such as animals, plants, bacteria and some

Toxic chemical sprays are giving way to new, sometimes unconventional, methods of pest treatment. Some are ultra high-tech like the fast freezing Cryonite process to get rid of bed bugs. Others, like trained dogs that sniff out bed bugs, seem downright low-tech, but use cutting-edge methods to get results. For example, breeders have used dogs’ sensitive noses for centuries to sniff out problematic parasites; but training dogs to sniff out explosives and drugs is a relatively recent development. Using the same techniques to teach dogs to smell termites and bed bugs is considered al