Many people prefer an all-natural, "green" approach to pest control that emphasizes non-chemical measures over the use of pesticides, and uses naturally-derived pesticides when they are needed. This environmentally-friendly, organic approach to pest control is also referred to as "Integrated Pest Management," or IPM.
There are many reasons why people prefer an organic approach to pest control. But whatever the reasons, organic pest control, or IPM, begins with a talk between the client and the pest control operator about which pests are particularly bothersome to the customer. The IPM approach doesn't try to kill every bug on the land. It's targeted toward those pests that are bothersome to the customer.
For example, a customer may have zero tolerance for cockroaches in the kitchen, but may not mind an occasional spider in the basement. Or a homeowner may want the harvester ants gone because they sting, but not be bothered at all by the non-stinging ants roaming around on the property.
Once we determine the customer's preferences, we design an organic pest control plan that is customized to the customer's wishes, and which relies on a combination of non-chemical pest-reduction techniques and naturally-occurring insecticides.
Non-chemical pest-reduction techniques include exclusion (keeping the pests out using simple techniques like installing window screens and sealing holes and cracks in your house's foundations), and habitat reduction (removing harborage areas such as organic mulches or thick weeds around your home). We don't actually perform this work, but we do inspect your home and advise you of non-chemical things you can do to make it less attractive to pests.
The three naturally occurring insecticides we use the most are pyrethrum, Hexa-Hydroxyl, boric acid, and diatomaceous earth.
Pyrethrum is a naturally occurring oil produced in varying amounts by plants in the genus Chrysanthemum. It is the active ingredient in many eco-friendly insecticides, and is one of the staples of our organic pest control service. Pyrethrum has extremely low toxicity to humans and non-target animals, but is highly toxic to insect pests.
Hexa-Hydroxyl is based on a combination of plant essential oils that have natural insecticidal properties. These naturally occurring oils target a neurotransmitter receptor called octopamine, which is vital to insects but doesn't even exist in mammals. Many plant essential oils containing Hexa-Hydroxyl are GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) and/or have been approved for food and beverage consumption by the FDA, making them eligible for preferential regulatory status with the EPA.
Boric acid is another environmentally friendly insecticide that we use. It comes in many different formulations that can be used to treat a wide variety of insects, including roaches, ants, termites, and many others. Boric acid is generally known as a desiccant; in other words, it kills by removing the moisture from the body of the target pests. It's also a stomach poison, the active ingredient in baits. It's highly effective against insects, but has extremely low toxicity to humans and non-target animals. It's another staple of environmentally friendly pest control programs.
Diatomaceous earth is a powder made from fossilized diatoms, which are a type of hard-shelled algae. It is a mechanical insecticide, meaning that it is not chemically toxic to insects. Although it may look very soft and powdery to the naked eye, if you were to look at diatomaceous earth under a microscope, you'd see that it's actually very rough and has very sharp edges. These edges are like broken glass to insects, and they scratch the outer coating of the insects' bodies, called the cuticle. This causes the insects to lose moisture, and they die of dehydration.
Long story short, our organic pest control service is ideal for customers who prefer an environmentally-friendly pest control solution that minimizes its impact on the natural world and avoids reliance on synthetic chemical pesticides. For more information about High Desert Pest and Weed Control's organic pest control service or any of our fine services, please contact us.