GREEN PEST CONTROL
July 14, 2015 Green Pest Control
Natural or Green Pest Management
We’ll move now to the topic of “natural” pest control. This is not yet so tightly regulated as is organic pest management, but it still is regulated and is an extremely important area. Nearly every state in the U.S. has statutes that address pest management and pesticide use on school properties, including day care centers, and the use of natural or green products is strongly encouraged. Once again, as with organic pest management, natural or green pest management does not speak only to pesticides, but also strongly encourages non-chemical controls such as traps, exclusion, habitat modification, good building design, and sanitation to discourage pests.
Natural pest control is a topic subject to influence from many directions. Groups which oppose the use of any kind of pesticide will argue that Green pest management means no pesticides, or that all Natural pesticides are “safe” for humans and animals. This is inaccurate, and we can think of the great many natural substances that are produced by the Earth or by plants that are highly toxic, and to sell the idea that they are safe just because they are natural is counter productive to human health and safety. An article issued by a University, speaking on the topic of toxicology, states that “Organisms cannot differentiate between natural and synthetic chemicals. It is the mode of action, not the source, that is the concern”. In fact, the most toxic substances known to chemists are those that are produced by living plants and animals. For example, the venom in cone shells found in South Pacific oceans is about 1 million times more toxic than the insecticide permethrin. It is natural, but it is deadly.
There also may be a tendency for groups that promote the use of natural and green products to oversell their safety. As trained and licensed professionals we recognize basic safety procedures to take when using pesticides. One of these is to ensure that no pets or children have access to any pesticide, regardless of its chemical nature. I once read a “recipe” for making cockroach bait with boric acid, in which the instructions were to make small balls of the flour-based bait and place them here and there around the house. We also know that we never use any kind of containers or devices for pesticides that are designed for household food materials, and yet one website instructs people on how to make their own natural pesticides from plants, by mixing the plant and water in their kitchen blender. Clearly the insinuation is that since these concoctions are natural, and just made from plants, the blender could not possibly be contaminated with anything toxic.
No warnings were given in this article regarding washing the blender after creating the toxic soup.