Environmentally-Friendly, Organic Pest Control
Residential Integrated Pest Management
For the last decade or two, research in pest control products and technology have focused on less-toxic, more environmentally-friendly methods of managing pest populations. As a result, the entire pest control industry is moving toward “green” pest control methods built around the core principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM).
Originally developed as a more efficient, more sustainable method of controlling crop pests, IPM is now the standard for certain kinds of pest control, such as pest management at schools, hospitals, and food processing plants. IPM plans focus on non-chemical pest prevention measures such as:
- Habitat Modification:
- correcting conditions conducive to pest infestations
- removing harborage areas
- maintaining proper sanitation
- correcting moisture problems
- storing food in pest-proof containers to avoid pantry pest infestations
- Pest Exclusion (sealing pests out of places where they’re not wanted)
- Trapping, using any or all of the following:
- sticky traps
- mechanical traps
- electrical traps (rodent “zappers,” air curtains, or outdoor insect electrocutors, for example)
- Ongoing Inspection and Monitoring
Most IPM plans also define “pest thresholds” below which no corrective actions will be taken. For example, you may define a threshold of zero for mice in your home, but a higher threshold for mice in the tool shed.
When corrective action is necessary, IPM plans usually specify that non-chemical methods (if any exist) be tried first, followed by the use of the least-toxic pesticides that are effective against the given pest if the problem can’t be solved non-chemically. These pesticides may be naturally- or synthetically-derived unless the customer specifies the all-natural approach.
All-Natural, “Organic” Pest Control using only Natural Products
We consider all of our Residential IPM programs to be earth-friendly because we routinely use the least-toxic materials available. But there are some customers who prefer that their pest control be performed using onlynaturally derived materials. This approach is frequently referred to as “organic pest control.”
We don’t like that term very much because in chemistry, “organic” merely means that a compound contains carbon, which would include most synthetic chemical pesticides on the market. Instead, we prefer the term “All Natural Pest Control,” by which we mean that all of the pesticide products used are derived from natural sources. These natural pest control products fall into the following three categories:
- Botanicals are materials derived or extracted from plants, such as pyrethrum, d-limomene, capsaicum, mint oil, and so forth.
- Borates are insecticides containing boric acid, a material also used in many eye wash preparations and topical skin medications. Borate insecticides usually are formulated as baits, gels, or dusts. They must be ingested by insects and tend to be rather slow to kill them, but they are highly effective and essentially non-toxic to humans.
- Desiccants are dusts or powders that have the physical effect of causing an insect to dehydrate by scratching the waxy coverings of their bodies. The two most commonly used desiccants are diatomaceous earth and silica gel.
Is All-Natural Pest Control Right for You?
Before signing up for All-Natural Pest Control, you should consider a few factors:
- Firstly, an all-natural, earth-friendly approach to pest management will require more effort on your part. You’ll be responsible for implementing at least some of the non-chemical pest prevention and control methods. For example, it will be up to you to store your food in pest-proof containers, to maintain good sanitation practices, and to mow your lawn regularly.
- Secondly, you need to understand that residential IPM aims to manage pest populations to acceptable levels, rather than necessarily eliminating them. You may still see the occasional ant or two, for example.
- Thirdly, you have to accept that many of the natural pesticide products take longer to work than synthetic products. Boric acid and most desiccants, in particular, are notoriously slow to take effect.
- Finally, all-natural pest control can be a bit more expensive than conventional pest control, both because naturally-derived pest control products tend to be more expensive, and because the all-natural pest management approach tends to be more labor-intensive.
If you’re okay with all that and you want to use a greener, more earth-friendly approach to pest control, then our All-Natural Pest Control approach is the clear choice for you.
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