Green pest control applications are becoming increasingly popular, particularly for buildings that provide services to the young or those with compromised immune systems. However, some professionals question whether these methods are effective or if they are simply a waste of time and money.

The short answer is yes, this form of pest control can provide the desired results. However, it is important to understand what is involved with the process, as well as the benefits of taking such an approach.

Green pest control is not necessarily about eliminating the use of chemicals altogether. Instead, it focuses on getting rid of, and controlling the pest population through preventative measures and the careful application of “safe” pesticides.

Integrated Pest Management

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a large component of any green pest control program. However, it is important to note that this type of management is not inherently green on its own; it can also be used as part of a traditional pest control service.

The biggest benefit of an effective IPM plan is that it can cut back on pesticide use significantly, often by more than 90 percent. This is possible because IPM does not just focus on getting rid of the current pest population. Instead, it involves examining and eliminating the environmental factors that are allowing the pests to reproduce and thrive.

Once the pests in question are identified, a bit of simple research is conducted to determine the quantity and what effect they are having on the surrounding landscape. If action needs to take place, a variety of pest control methods are typically applied. These may include the introduction of natural enemies — barriers such as screens, or mechanical control techniques such as traps. When necessary, pesticides may also be used, but they are thoughtfully and carefully applied so as to be as safe as possible.

What It Means To Be Green

The word “green” can be taken a variety of ways, especially when it comes to pest control. A green approach to pests does not necessarily mean that the process avoids chemicals or isn’t harmful. In fact, pesticides are often deemed appropriate.

But not all chemicals used in pest management are considered bad for animals and humans, and just because chemicals are used doesn’t mean programs can’t be green. Departments focusing on green pest control use less harsh chemicals and are careful about how much of any one product is put down.

For example, a green pest exterminator might decide to target cockroaches or fleas with something called an Insect Growth Regulator. IGRs do not hurt other organisms because they specifically go after insects. They are effective against bed bugs, termites and even mosquitoes.

Baits are also a good choice. They generally stay put, and they have a low toxicity level for humans. Particularly useful with both ants and cockroaches, baits are generally more “green” than either dusts or sprays.

Finally, boric acid is another option for a green program. It has been around for a long time, and it is considered safe for use around building occupants. Boric acid is popular because it works for a substantial period of time.

Without a proper understanding of green pest control, it is easy to discount the process as being a waste of both time and money. However, when considering both integrated pest management techniques, as well as greener chemical treatments, it is easy to see how this could be the right approach for the facility.

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