Biological Pest Control – Is it the Answer to Pest Control-Related Environmental Concerns?

Before we can get into trying to understand whether biological pest control is the answer to the pest-control related environmental concerns, it would be proper to give ourselves a little background information on this whole pest control business; for the benefit of those who may be encountering it for the very first time.

Now, pests are organisms (typically insects) that are injurious to the interests of the people who refer to them as such. Thus to farmers, the insects that invade and eat up their crops (whether in the fields or during storage), would be termed as pests. On the other hand, the ‘domestic insects’ that tend to mess up with things in domestic settings (like moths, that can mess up with cloths in storage), are seen as pests by housekeepers. Worth keeping in mind is that although most pests are insects, there are also quite are number that are non-insects: with the likes of rodents (that can mess up with crops in farms of things stored in domestic settings) being seen as pests too, the fact that they are not insects notwithstanding.

Having seen that pests are injurious, it would be natural that the people who happen to ‘fall victim’ to them would want to get rid of them. In the meantime, people who haven’t yet fallen victim to pests would be keen to avoid such a ‘fate.’ Hosting pests, by the way, can be a serious fate: thousands of hectares of farmland have been known to be wasted by pests in a single day, leading to losses that often run into millions of dollars. It is the steps taken to avoid pest invasion then, or to resolve pest invasion if it has already taken place, that are referred to as constituting pest control.

Now pest control takes various forms, depending on the pests one is trying to get rid of (or to prevent the invasion of). And while bigger pests like rodents may be controlled through mechanical means like trapping, for a long period of time, it is chemical control that has worked for the vast majority of pests, which tend to be insects as previous mentioned. The chemicals used in this endeavor are what are termed as pesticides. And while pesticides are usually very effective in pest-control, the downside to them tends to come up when we consider the fact that they tend to be extremely environmentally unfriendly. Worth keeping in mind, at this point, is the fact that the chemicals referred to as pesticides tend to be very potent ones. So it often happens that traces of them remain where they were used, even after the pests are gone. Those traces are eventually washed down to the water bodies where they wreck great havoc to the (non pest) plants and animals resident in the water bodies.

It is concern about this environmental impact of chemical pest-control that led to questions as to whether a more environmentally friend method for controlling pests couldn’t be developed. The end result was the exploration of alternatives like the biological pest control, which we are trying to see whether it is really the answer to concerns raised about (chemical- based) pest control.

In biological pest-control, it is other organisms that are known to be predators to the ones viewed as pest that are unleashed upon the said pests; eating them up and therefore resolving the pest problem. Thus if the troublesome pests are aphids, the other organisms that are known to feed on aphids are introduced into the field where the problem is, to feed on the aphids, rather than spraying an environmentally unfriendly chemical.

The problem with biological pest-control, though, is that it tends to be of questionable efficiency. While chemical pest control tends to be thorough, leaving no pests or even traces of them, in biological pest control, that can’t quite be assured. Implementing biological pest control on a large scale basis (for instance on a thousand hectare plantation) can also prove to be a herculean task. Ultimately, it is considerations like these that make us keep on thinking of more environmentally friendly pest control approaches. This is because biological pest control, while definitely being an approach that addresses the environmental concerns raised about chemical pest control, it doesn’t seem to be efficient (or scalable) enough, in most people people’s view.

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

The world is going green. “Green” is the color of environmental concern, the impetus that drives cutting-edge technology, the buzz word of the socially conscious. Concern for the environment and man’s impact on it is bringing a slew of new products to market, and pest control is no exception. Environmentally-friendly pest control services are growing in popularity, particularly in the commercial sector. Even eco-savvy residential consumers are asking about natural alternatives to traditional pesticides, but their ardor often cools when confronted with the 10% to 20% cost differential and lengthier treatment times, sometimes several weeks.

The raising of America’s environmental consciousness, coupled with increasingly stringent federal regulations governing traditional chemical pesticides, appears to be shifting the pest control industry’s focus to 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 378 pest management companies surveyed in 2008 by Pest Control Technology magazine, two-thirds said they offered IPM services of some sort.

Instead of lacing pest sites with a poisonous cocktail of powerful insecticides designed to kill, IPM focuses on environmentally-friendly prevention techniques designed to keep pests out. While low- or no-toxicity products may also be used to encourage pests to pack their bags, elimination and control efforts focus on finding and eliminating the causes of infestation: entry points, attractants, harborage and food.

Particularly popular with schools and nursing homes charged with guarding the health of the nation’s youngest and oldest citizens, those at greatest risk from hazardous chemicals, IPM is catching the attention of hotels, office buildings, apartment complexes and other commercial enterprises, as well as eco-conscious residential customers. Driven in equal parts by environmental concerns and health hazard fears, interest in IPM is bringing a host of new environmentally-friendly pest management products — both high- and low-tech — to market.

“Probably the best product out there is a door sweep,” confided Tom Green, president of the Integrated Pest Management Institute of North America, a non-profit organization that certifies green exterminating companies. In an Associated Press interview posted on MSNBC online last April, Green explained, “A mouse can squeeze through a hole the size of a pencil diameter. So if you’ve got a quarter-inch gap underneath your door, as far as a mouse is concerned, there’s no door there at all.” Cockroaches can slither through a one-eighth inch crevice.

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

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

Toxic chemical sprays are giving way to new, sometimes unconventional, methods of treating pests. Some are ultra high-tech like the quick-freeze Cryonite process for eliminating bed bugs. Others, like trained dogs that sniff out bed bugs, seem decidedly low-tech, but employ state-of-the-art methods to achieve results. For example, farmers have used dogs’ sensitive noses to sniff out problem pests for centuries; but training dogs to sniff out explosives and drugs is a relatively recent development. Using those same techniques to teach dogs to sniff out termites and bed bugs is considered cutting-edge.

Another new pest control technique is birth control. When San Francisco was threatened by mosquitoes carrying potentially life-threatening West Nile Virus, bicycle messengers were hired to cruise the city and drop packets of biological insecticide into the city’s 20,000 storm drains. A kind of birth control for mosquitoes, the new method was considered safer than aerial spraying with the chemical pyrethrum, the typical mosquito abatement procedure, according to a recent story posted on the National Public Radio website.

Naturally, there are efforts underway to build a better mousetrap. 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.

Do It Yourself Home Pest Control

Almost all homeowners would feel bad if they learned that pests are infesting their homes. Aside from destroying your property, they can also cause health problems for you and your family. Eliminating them should be your priority and most often, applying do-it-yourself system works wonder. When pest problems have already caused big damages, pest control services may be crucial. Nevertheless, if you are just doing some preventive maintenance, do-it-yourself can help you get by. The bottom line is preventing pests in your home is essential both for your property and for your family as well.

Most of us suffered pest problems that need an effective solution. Doing your own pest management has been effective in dealing pest problems in garden, homes, and business as well. Making use of effective products and supplies will enable you to eliminate pests on your own, without having to seek professional help from pest management businesses and pay for their expensive services and treatments.

Many people have been knowledgeable when it comes to dealing with pest problems. Do-it-yourself pest control products and supplies are becoming part of every household’s needs. Whether you want to eliminate roaches, termites, ants, or bed bugs, high quality do-it-yourself pest control pesticides and products will give you the best result that you need for your home, property and family’s safety.

Aside from being affordable, do-it-yourself pest controls will make you save money without sacrificing the quality of the products and its effectiveness. It will give you the best pest solution the same way that professionals provide you with their service – only much cheaper. Products for rodents and roaches are also available for household and commercial use. DIY pest control products are available in natural and organic solution.

DIY products can really save you money than buying expensive brands with the same ingredients and formulation. They have different products like sprays, baits, dust, spread, fog, and mist for preventing various types of pests. All you need to do is find out the right product for your needs and you can already deal with your problem on your own. Experts for do-it-yourself pest controls can help you find the right product by offering you the best product solution for your pest problems.

DIY pest products are good both in dealing pests outdoors like flies and mosquitoes and indoor pests such as cockroaches, rodents, bugs, termites and many others. Even without professional help, you will find out that pest control is simple as well as making your home pest free. Preventive measures are necessary in keeping pest free homes. Pest control equipments are also helpful in doing the preventive measures.

Always remember that pest control does not guarantee everything. There may be some DIY techniques and products that may only keep pests away temporarily – and then they will come back. In cases like these, DIY may cost you more than seeking professional help. It is no doubt that professional pest control services have high customer satisfaction rating. In order for you to be effective in your DIY program, make sure that you only use effective products and pesticides because there are many ineffective pesticides out there. And to make it more successful, you can ask questions from DIY experts and they will gladly add knowledge in you.

Does Organic Pest Control Work?

Recently, the use of safe and toxic-free pest control has been pushed due to increasing awareness on environment and nature concerns plus the increasing popularity of using organic materials for one’s safety and protection. The use of organic substances started on using toxic free chemicals on growing plants and crops for a healthy eating. Chemical-free pesticides for household use took some time to come by.

There is a toxic-free and more environment-friendly way of eliminating pests in the home such as cockroaches, flies, mosquitoes, termites, rodents, bugs, and many others. Some people are in doubt if organic pest control is effective or not. Organic pest control may be effective for some pests but it takes more time to take effect than the normal pest control substances. Newer organic products, though, are more efficient than the traditional pesticides. It is necessary to always get necessary information of the products that you are using – whether natural or traditional pest control method. There are some cases where organic pest control method is not as effective and there are also some cases where there is still no natural method for eliminating certain pests. In using pest control methods, bear in mind that it will work effectively if done the right way.

Households must also realize that not all natural is safe and effective. There are some toxic elements that come naturally in humankind. This means that every pest control substance should be use with proper precautions and always follow instructions in using the product.

Concerns about environment and health issues rose consciousness and usage of chemical-free products ranging from medicines, home remedies, and fertilizers to pesticides or insecticides. Many consumers and business are adopting the use of using natural products not just because it is safe but also due to its increasing demand and popularity in the market. These days, businesses and institutions that sell natural and organic products cannot meet the increasing demand of the customers.

Nowadays, many cities, states and countries are using the IPM or Integrated Pest Management in their schools to eliminate pests and insects and minimize the use of chemical pesticides. Like schools where the population is sensitive, this is also done in many hospitals to protect the safety of the patients as well as the employees. They have been starting to use this approach because they are aware of the harmful and damaging effects of traditional pesticides used by people for so many years now. It has been showed that traditional pesticides have been linked to birth defects, cancer, neurological disorders, and many others as well as environment damages.

Different movements and organizations have been educating people on the pesticide free environment using non-chemical products. They are doing this through combined efforts of private individuals and concern organizations and it has already created awareness on many people and also the use of chemical-free products.

Controlling pests and insects should be done without affecting the health of the people and the environment as well as balancing the cost and its effectiveness. This is because it has been perceived that natural and organic products are expensive but ineffective than the traditional products making household to continuously patronize the more harmful products. They are not aware of the long-term negative effects until it has actually affected their health. They compare the costs of organic products to traditional products without realizing that it is more expensive when your health has been affected by the cheaper traditional pest products.

Pest Control in a Warehouse

Pest control in commercial warehouses is a big challenge for most pest control companies. Various types of pests, animals and insects can plague your warehouse. Commercial warehouse clients know how valuable it is to treat warehouses and facilities effectively. Food stocks and other perishable items add to the difficulty of treating warehouses. There are 6 steps in protecting your storage and making sure that your warehouse is free from pest infestations.

Assessment. This is the initial step to create an effective pest control program. Assessing warehouses is a complicated job. Special concentration is given to entry points, food sources, water sources, shelter areas, and employee and customers corners. They will also assess all areas in the warehouse like cafeterias, pantry, janitorial closets, storage room, utility room, comfort rooms, and shipping and receiving area.

Examine building design. After the thorough assessment and identifying existing and possible problem areas, the next thing to do is find out the building’s customer and employee traffic which is the total number of individuals going in and out of the building every day. Inspect entry areas such as pedestrian doors, electrical conduits, overhead doors, water sources, and exterior perimeters including dumpster areas, fence lines, storage buildings, etc.

Pest ID. Each type of pest has a different treatment technique depending on the reaction of the pests to each treatment. Pest management professionals usually gather information from employees to get precise information about the pests to avoid further infestations and monitor current problems.

Customized programs. Each warehouse is different from the other warehouses, thus, each warehouse requires a different pest control program from the other. Some factors to consider are location, age of building, weather, size of the warehouse and many other factors. To develop the best pest management program that will fir the requirements of your warehouse, professionals will inspect and break down facilities and will talk to employees.

Sanitation. The bottom line in every pest control and maintenance is sanitation. The success of any pest control program and maintaining pest free warehouse will depend on the sanitation in your warehouse. Pest controllers will make use of service record logs, application records, sighting logs, and sanitation report for the program to be effective. You will be able to prevent health risks, financial and legal problems connected with pests’ invasion.
Integrated Pest Management Techniques

Integrated pest management is a pest control technique that uses inspection, records, sanitation, elimination, traps, pest monitors, and chemicals if necessary. Combining these techniques will provide a program that will eliminate pests. The approach used in controlling pests centers to sanitation and prevention. It will also teach your employees on right practices and correct strategies on pest control. IPM method diminishes the use of dangerous chemicals and other harmful materials. Other services that are offered may include:

Caulking lines and pipes
Using rodent and insect traps
Installing or modifying insect traps
Making changes in structure
Documenting insect sightings
Maintain records and reports for clients and officials
Commitment to safety. Be certain that safety is necessary to IPM as much as it is necessary to warehouse industry.
The program’s key benefits may include the following:

24-hr service. Services are available anytime you need them. They have flexible schedules and plans based on warehouse needs.
Best quality. Quality level is monitored consistently and surpasses standards set by state and licensing bureau. They provide personalized sanitation and documents together with log books. Their technicians are licensed who passed thorough background investigation.
Clear communication. IPM provides the best results. Their log books give access to pertinent data, proposed guidelines, and reports which are needed during inspection, safety and review check.