Take a walk through the pesticide aisle at the home improvement store and you’re bound to see “natural,” or “organic,” on a variety of products. But what do those terms really mean?
When it comes to pesticides that are used (or not used) with organic food, the Environmental Protection Agency are the ones to step in and regulate the proper usage of the term, as well as the rules that go along with it. But in terms of pest management services inside and outside of your home, there are no current regulations or a specific definition of the terms “natural” and “organic.”
Although the EPA does intervene on which pesticides are safe for humans, animals and the surrounding environment, customers should be weary of products and service providers who offer these services with little explanation.
We spoke to Brett Lieberman of My Pest Pros about what homeowners need to know to protect their homes and get the products and services they’re looking for.
Lieberman has owned My Pest Pros with his wife for nearly a decade, and has offered organically based services in the Northern Virginia area since the beginning of the company. Highlights from our conversation are below.
How do you define organic pest management services at My Pest Pros?
So-called organic pesticides are typically those that are oil-based made with essential oils such as peppermint oil or cedar oil. They are designed to do the same thing as traditional pesticides, which means if I spray them on something, they will most likely kill it. The difference between them and traditional pesticides is that they typically don’t last as long and need to be applied more frequently, and they often can have a bit of a smell since they are oil-based.
Why should someone consider organic pest management services?
It comes down to personal preference as to why a client desires one type of pesticide over the other. If they believe the so-called organic products that we use would be a better fit for what they are looking for, then we are happy to provide them. It depends widely on their concerns. Are they looking to prevent a certain insect because of a severe allergy or sanitation issue? Then we will consider what’s best in that case. Are they looking to just avoid the annoyance of the insects or other pests? Then we will consider what’s best in that case. For example, some people just find mosquitoes annoying. Our mosquito treatment, whether organic-based, or the traditional, will work just as well, either way. Also, ‘organic pesticides’ aren’t necessarily any less or more safe than traditional pesticides in terms of having them around children or pets, but they are safer than most individuals trying to apply pesticides themselves.
What do you recommend in terms of organic pest management services and consumer protection?
Definitely always ask your pesticide service provider about what types of products they use, as well as the technician that’s treating your home. There are some companies who will falsely market that they are using “natural-based” products, only for customers to find out that they are actually still synthetic pesticides that are the same or very similar to traditional methods. Also, whenever you’re using any type of product or service, remember that you should always follow the label, and it will let you know if it’s truly organic or not, based on its ingredients and how it should be used. For example, arsenic is naturally occurring, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily safe to use organic. And definitely don’t fall into the idea that more is better, either. Some products can be detrimental both health-wise and environment-wise, and we always suggest to just call a professional.
Is there anything else readers should know about organic pesticide services or products?
Remember that they are an alternative that is designed to work just like the traditional (to kill the pesticide and prevent it from returning), and that it truly depends on what your concerns are as a homeowner. You might not want to use the organic pesticides that we offer inside of your home because they do tend to have more of a smell, although the ones we use are almost entirely odorless for the most part, and do need to be applied more frequently. Otherwise, we always want to give people peace of mind, no matter what method they prefer.
For more information on My Pest Pros services, visit mypestpros.com. // 3951 Pender Drive, Suite 105, Fairfax; Multiple service areas in the DMV
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