The Nature of Pest Management…”Pest Control 101″

February 9, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Pest Control by definition is; The use of any method or device or the application of any substance to prevent, destroy, repel, mitigate, curb, control, or eradicate any pest in, on, or under a structure, lawn, or ornamental (from the Florida Dept of Agriculture laws chapter 482.021). Pest Control is also known as pest management.

We live in an age where it is politically correct to become “green” and thereby reduce our carbon footprint. We are urged on multiple fronts to save our planet. We conventionally view chemicals with distrust and disdain. They are often perceived to be the enemy of good health and safety.  For the most part, quite the opposite is true.  Chemicals themselves are often beneficial to maintaining and protecting health. It’s their uninformed or deliberate misuse that is harmful. For example, human nature is such that “more is better” (i.e. if ½ oz of pesticide is properly called for in the insecticide sprayer then 1 oz or even 2 oz will kill them quicker, right?). Wrong. This would actually be a misuse of pesticide and is not only illegal, but also possibly dangerous.

We look for the words “organic” or “natural” when we shop for goods or services, not realizing that some of the most toxic substances are “organic” like nicotine.  Nicotine was used for many years to control several types of pests, but has fallen out of use due to its high toxicity.  The new buzz-words are “natural” and “biological” the truth about these products is they tend to be more expensive and there are questions about their effectiveness. We are a society that wants everything fast but we want everything safe. We want low prices at the grocery store but we want farmers to stop using pesticides and fertilizer. We live in an age of contradiction.

Ask yourself this question: “Would you eat in a restaurant if you see active roaches running around on the table? Most of us would emphatically say “no”.  Some would say “I don’t care…they have the right to be here too”. I agree with their right to exist, but not in a location where they are going to cause people to become sick. The fact remains that roaches, rats and other pests carry diseases. If they are not controlled we chance severe sickness. We are taught to keep raw meats from cross-contaminating other foods when cooking, or we’ll get sick.  Insects carry some of the same germs that you would be exposed to from raw meat.

The nature of the pest management industry is that of environmental consciousness. The well-trained licensed pest management professional uses integrated pest management techniques to gain control of the pest problem.

“Integrated pest management” means the selection, integration, and implementation of multiple pest control techniques based on predictable economic, ecological, and sociological consequences. It makes maximum use of naturally occurring pest controls, such as weather, disease agents, and parasitoids (insects such as some wasps that use other living insects as hosts for their larvae). It makes use of various biological, physical, chemical, and habitat modification methods of control. Artificial controls are used only as they are required to keep particular pests from surpassing intolerable population levels. These levels are predetermined from an accurate assessment of the pest damage potential and the ecological, sociological, and economic cost of other control measures.”

Here is an interesting piece of information I was taught early on in my training; The average homeowner who uses over-the-counter pest control products has more pesticides in their system than the average pest management professional. This is due to the training we receive prior to ever applying the first drop of chemical. “Wash your hands” is drilled into our heads from day one. “Do not apply chemicals in any way that is not consistent with the labeling of the product.” It is in fact a violation of federal law to apply pesticides in any way that is not listed on the label of that pesticide.

The formulations that we professionals use in and around your home are in most cases, the least hazardous products that we can buy.  Some of these products are not much more toxic than table salt. Modern pesticides are designed to work on insect biology and are very low in mammalian toxicity. The reality is that the cologne you wear the hairspray you use and the cleaning products that you wipe your kitchen counter with pose greater hazards to your health than most of what is used to manage the pests that invade your home.

It is also important to note that most of the products that are used by pest management professionals contain exactly the same active ingredient and in the exact same concentration as what a homeowner can buy at the hardware store. So now you may ask “Then what do I need a bug man for?”  Well, you can buy a hammer, nails and lumber at the hardware store, but can you build a house with it?  You pay a pest management professional for his or her knowledge and expertise, and therein lies the value.  We know what to use depending upon the specific problem, as well as where, when and how much to use for the optimal results.

In summary, fear of pest management chemicals is often unfounded. The vast majority of reputable pest management companies invest in continuous training and diligent research to provide the least hazardous methods to protect your family and property from the pests that can cause them harm…

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About A Better Bugman
Cliff and Jim have grown up in SW Florida while working in the pest control industry. They have worked for a few local companies but have now ventured out on their own to provide you with the best products and service available developed through over 40 years of experience.

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