NATURAL PEST CONTROL
ON THE RISE
Written by: John Bennett
The growing concerns over health and environmental issues continue to drive awareness and usage of alternative methods for pesticide-free pest control. These methods range from home-made remedies to professional pesticide alternatives that are currently being adopted by several national pest control providers. Today there are only a few pockets of smaller specialized natural pest control operators around the country, but the demand from consumers are creating a noticeable growth pattern in this untapped market as well.
Many cities, state and federal government entities including schools around the country are leading the way in adopting Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs to reduce or even eliminate the use of pesticides all together. Why the shift to alternative methods? We are beginning to see well documented medical and scientific studies on the negative effects of pesticides being used today. For example, the U.S. Geological Survey recently released Pesticides in the Nationís Streams and Ground Water, in March 2006. This study was a 10 year survey from 1992 to 2001 which reveals concerning residual effects of pesticide use. Every year, nearly one billion pounds of pesticides, many of which are linked to cancer, birth defects, neurological disorders, and environmental impacts, are used in the U.S, much of it ending up in our nationís waterways.
National Pesticide-Free Resources & Information
Many organizations and grassroots movements continue to educate communities and citizens through the tireless efforts of concerned individuals. These efforts are no doubt creating an impact on consumer awareness and product purchasing requirements. Information on IPM is available at sites such as the EPA and the IPM Institute at www.ipminstitute.org. A very popular and informational grassroots organization called Beyond Pesticides at www.beyondpesticides.org is also informative on new legislation, pesticide news, and pesticide reduction information.
A Balanced View of Effective Pest Control
The safe control of unwanted insects and weeds must be pursued with a balanced and global view of efficacy, cost, consequential effects on human health and the environment. Until today, there has been the perception that safer alternatives cost more or donít even work at all. Thus, giving rise to the continued use of more toxic forms of pest control. If we donít see the negative effects immediately, it easily becomes out of sight and out of mind. Costs for pesticide free alternatives are very comparable to traditional pesticides. The difference in cost per square foot is nominal or even irrelevant when compared to the health benefits of the building occupants.
Does Natural Pest Control Work?
So the biggest question I receive from both residential users and professional applicators is: Does it work? In short, YES! As with any pest control product, there are solutions that maximize the control of specific types of pests whether you have ants, roaches, scorpions, termites, mosquitoes, ticks, weeds, or whatever. Choosing the right products however, is often difficult. So we always recommend those products that meet the performance requirements of organic farmers or professional applicators since they also have a significant financial interest in their effectiveness. Having distinctions from OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) and Food Tolerance Exemptions also helps filter through the marketing hype while adding another layer of product safety assurance. If you are fortunate to have a friend or acquaintance that uses natural pest control or IPM methods, getting a personal endorsement is invaluable to help you save time and money. Lastly, always read the label. Youíll find a lot more information than you think.
Donít overlook the many proven alternatives that will keep your building free of hazardous pesticides and unwanted pests. If you use a professional pest control service, inquire about pesticide free alternatives. If you are doing it yourself and canít find what you are looking for on your local store shelf, ask the store owner to stock them.
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