Prevent Pest Problems Prevent Pest Problems by alendar


More Info
									                               LeSS-toxIc peSt ManageMent

           FINdINg a compaNy that caN
Prevent Pest Problems

I    f you have a pest problem,
     you may be able to solve it
     yourself with the help of
other fact sheets in this series.
However, if you want or need to
                                              DoIng your part
                                             For any pest control to work,
                                             you must do your part. If the
                                             pest control company makes
                                             recommendations about clean-
                                             up, repairs, or other steps you
                                                                                      • Inspection — Ask how the com-
                                                                                        pany will find out how the pests are
                                                                                        entering, where they are hiding,
                                                                                        what’s attracting them, and what
                                                                                        they are eating. A less-toxic ap-
                                                                                        proach will begin with a thorough in-
                                                                                        spection to determine why you have
hire a professional pest control             should take to help prevent pest           a pest problem, as well as the extent
service, look for a company that             problems, make sure you follow             of the problem. The key to effective
offers less-toxic pest control or            their instructions.                        pest control is detailed information
Integrated Pest Management                                                              about the pest. It is very difficult to
                                                                                        control a pest if the company doesn’t
(IPM) (see “For More Informa-             less-toxic pest management pays for
                                                                                        know specifically what species it is.
tion” for referrals). IPM focuses         itself in the long term because it treats
                                                                                        The company should also ask you
on long-term prevention of pests          the underlying problem (why you have
                                                                                        whether anyone is present in the
                                          pests); conventional controls typically
and their damage through a                treat just the symptoms.
                                                                                        building, is pregnant, chemically
combination of techniques such                                                          sensitive, asthmatic, elderly, and if
                                                                                        there are any animals, or children
as habitat modification, biologi-         aSk Before you HIre                           under 1 year old, on the premises.
cal control, and physical control.        When you first contact a company, tell
                                                                                      • Habitat modifications — Ask what
Pesticides are used only if truly         them that you are concerned about
                                                                                        the company will do to prevent a
                                          the use of pesticides and would like
necessary and are selected to be          them to use only less-toxic pest control
                                                                                        re-infestation of the pest. Since pests
effective against a specific pest                                                       need food, water, and shelter to sur-
                                          methods. Some companies may try to
                                                                                        vive, eliminating or reducing one of
while minimizing risks to people,         convince you that chemical sprays are
                                                                                        these via habitat modification (for ex-
pets, wildlife, beneficial insects,       safe and more effective. Be persistent.
                                                                                        ample, by caulking cracks, screening
                                          Find out to what extent a company
and our environment. IPM is               you’re considering uses non-chemical
                                                                                        holes, and replacing door thresholds)
a common sense preventative                                                             will reduce the pest population.
                                          approaches to pest control and how it
approach and is less toxic than           would approach your particular prob-        • Other physical controls — Physical
                                          lem. Here’s what to look for:                 controls may be used to trap or kill
conventional spraying. IPM                                                              the pest, not just modify its habitat.
methods are based on extensive            ApproAch                                      Physical controls include vacuuming
scientific research.                      • Ask if they are willing to do pest con-     up pests or using traps or barriers.
                                            trol without sprays. Their response       • Biological controls — Some compa-
Save Money                                  will help you determine their philo-        nies will use other organisms, such as
Studies have demonstrated that using        sophical approach to pest control.          beneficial nematodes or lacewings,
less-toxic pest management or IPM         • Discuss various methods and de-             to control certain pests.
saves money compared to conventional        termine if the company provides           • Horticultural controls — Horti-
pest control. Because the initial costs     less-toxic options, such as those           cultural controls involve how the
are typically higher, companies that        discussed below. A company that             landscaping is cared for. For example,
haven’t adopted less-toxic approaches       offers less-toxic pest control or IPM       plants produce less top growth if fed
may believe they cost more. However,        should use conventional chemicals           a slow-release or organic
                                            for only a fraction of their jobs.          fertilizer — making them

            Choose less toxic products for your home and garden. Look for this symbol before you buy.
  less attractive to certain pests. Good         be treated with warning signs or             peStIcIDeS anD
  horticultural practices are important,         flags — prior to the treatment and           Water poLLutIon
  since healthy landscaping will naturally       for 72 hours afterwards.                     Common household pesticides show up in
  resist or outgrow most pest damage.        •   Monitoring — Discuss the actions             treated wastewater and in local waterways,
                                                                                              sometimes at levels that can harm sensitive
chemicAl controls                                the company will take if pests               aquatic life. So, water pollution prevention
                                                 reoccur. Monitoring is important:            agencies have teamed up with participat-
Less-toxic chemical controls                     when less-toxic pest controls are
                                                                                              ing retail stores, pesticide distributors, and
                                                                                              manufacturers to reduce the risks associated
• Ask how the company makes                      used, insects will die back gradually        with pesticide use. This fact sheet is part of a
  decisions about when, where, and                                                            series of fact sheets and store displays aimed
                                                 instead of all at once as they do with       at educating residents about less-toxic pest
  what (if any) pesticides to use. A             conventional pesticides. The com-            management. For the rest of the series of
  less-toxic pest control service will           pany should place monitors around            fact sheets, visit
                                                                                              Also, look for the “Our Water Our World”
  not spray routinely and, if it sprays          the building and/or landscaping and          logo next to products in participating stores
  at all, will only spray where the pest         check them regularly to make sure            and nurseries. See the Pesticides and Water
  is a problem. Chemical sprays should                                                        Pollution fact sheet for information on active
                                                 the control is working and to change         ingredients in common pesticides that may
  not be used to prevent infestations.           it if necessary.                             cause water quality problems.
• Look for a company that chooses            •   References — Interview several               Pest control strategies and methods described
  less-toxic chemicals such as bo-                                                            in this publication are consistent with inte-
                                                 companies. Ask for and contact               grated pest management (IPM) concepts, and
  rates or boric acid, diatomaceous              references.                                  are based on scientific studies and tests in ac-
  earth (DE), insecticidal soaps, hor-       •   Licensing and training — Make sure
                                                                                              tual home and garden settings. Use suggested
                                                                                              products according to label directions and
  ticultural oils, and those contained           the company and on-site techni-              dispose of unwanted or leftover pesticides
  in bait stations. A capable provider           cians are registered and licensed.           at a household hazardous waste collection
  of less-toxic pest management or                                                            facility or event. For more information on
                                             •   Claims — Be cautious if a company            pesticide disposal, call 1-800-CLEANUP
  IPM will select the most effective,                                                         or visit: No en-
  least toxic chemical to complete the           claims it uses “safe pesticides” or          dorsement of specific brand name products
  job and will use it only in the areas          “safe chemicals.” Pesticides can be          is intended, nor is criticism implied of similar
                                                                                              products that are not mentioned.
  where the pests are a problem.                 applied safely, but no pesticide (even a
                                                 less-toxic one) is entirely safe. “Odor-
Conventional chemicals                           less” does not mean safe. Be cautious               acknoWLeDgMent
• Ask for copies of labels and “mate-            of claims that a company can control         The Central Contra Costa Sanitary District orig-
                                                 “ALL insects.” If they claim to con-         inally developed this IPM outreach program.
  rial safety data sheets” (or “MSDS”)
  for any pesticide a company plans              trol all insects, you can be sure they are
  to use at your home or business.               using a broad-spectrum pesticide that           for More InforMatIon
• Ask if the company uses chemical               will kill even beneficial insects such as    Bio-Integral Resource Center (BIRC)
                                                 ladybugs, honeybees, and butterflies.        (510) 524-2567;
  pesticides only as a last resort. If the
  pesticide applicator is going to spray,    •   Contracts — Be cautious of the               Landscaping
  look for someone who will spray se-            monthly service contract. A less-            Bay-Friendly Qualified Landscape
  lectively to reach the target pest and         toxic approach should ALWAYS                 Trains and qualifies professional
  won’t spray the whole area or the              include regular monitoring of pest           landscapers to design, construct, and
                                                                                              maintain landscapes using green practices.
  entire perimeter of the building.              populations but NEVER calendar     
• Ask to see a copy of the “service              applications of pesticide — whether          Green Gardeners
  ticket” they will use. Check to make           or not you have a pest problem. Do           Educates local gardeners in resource
                                                                                              efficient and pollution prevention
  sure the following will be on it: target       not authorize any pest treatment             landscape maintenance practices.
  pest, name of any pesticides used              without reading and signing a de-            See Quick Links at
  and their EPA registration number              tailed written contract.           
  (for non-food-grade products), how         •   Records and reporting — Ask the              Buildings
  much pesticide was applied and                 company to provide you with regu-            EcoWise Certified IPM Professionals
                                                 lar reports, including an inspection         Certifies pest management profession-
  where and when it was applied.                                                              als who meet stringent IPM standards.
• If the company must use a chemical             report with a specific pest identifi-        EcoWise Certified providers use effective,
                                                 cation and monitoring reports.               prevention-based methods, minimizing the
  spray, ask it to post the areas to                                                          need to use pesticides. Offers IPM Con-
                                                                                              tracting Toolkit.
                                                                                              (866) 858-6386;

                                                                                              Paper content: 25% post-consumer waste, 50%
                                                                             November 2008    recycled content. Printed with soy-based ink.

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