Is The Green Pest Control Debate Over?

What is the latest debate in the pest control world? ‘Move forward, responsible pest control, minimum risk’ and the ever popular, “get out of the past.”

My question, (actually I have two) is why?

Why are we even having this debate & why do we have to move in any other direction then the one in which we’re going? I mean when your talking about moving the industry forward- which side of the pest control industry has made the most advances?

Case in point;

Move forward? Who could debate we haven’t? I didn’t have a gel bait gun 20 years ago. Back then pest customers had to spend hours emptying ALL their cabinets of food and dishes in preparation for treatment. It took some people hours to get ready only to have a tech come in and mere minutes treat. Now we’re EFFECTIVELY treating with so much less work, killing generations of roaches with safer applications. So who spurred this? Was it the green movement? The government? No, it was the industry itself. To top that it was big chemical companies- you know the huge greedy conglomerates. They saw a need, looked to the future and spent untold millions on R&D and put it out there. Granted the first generation baits weren’t the greatest but most companies and techs took this ‘industry’ advancement with open arms. There are soooo many other examples.

How About Responsible Pest Control

Whose idea was this and hasn’t this already been around for decades? Let me just answer that by saying – How many ‘state or government’ associations do you see out there? None that I know of. Pest control men and women themselves are the ones who have started each and every association out there. This, usually at great sacrifice of personal time and money. Years ago they set the goals, they established standards, ran the classes, etc. and still do today. Sure Big Brother is the authority but who do you think they’ve leaned on HEAVILY over the years for guidance and even enforcement? That’s right-the pest control industry itself. There’s no need for any new ‘forward thinkers’ to come in and ‘get this ball rolling,’ it’s been churning along for years. We should be proud of this distinction, instead we’re told we’re going in the wrong direction. I challenge you to tell me how.

Treatments Of The Past

This zinger I’ve heard so much of is that we “have to get out of the past.” Ok, sounds laudable, admirable and who could disagree? But I’m gonna turn it around on you for a change. It’s said that pest control poisons the earth, kills kids pets and fish and causes just about any disease or sickness you can mention. However it’s always the same when I go to the cited links, books or sources. The studies I see are inconclusive and about archaic products like DDT, chlordane, dursban and the like. All these have been gone for years! – argue if you will but just take an honest look around. Or better yet cite one that says without a doubt such and such a product causes Parkinson’s disease or DDT was a huge killer of mankind. There is no definitive study. That aside, these chemical examples they use haven’t been around for decades and yet they are used as a catalyst to move forward the green agenda. Seem’s skewed to me.

But hey! If you want to get out of the treatments of the past lets do that. Let’s stop using peppermint, DE, Borax, citrus, eugenol oil, etc. etc. These and so many more have been around for centuries, talk about the past! What’s more you should read some of the studies on these items, it’s the same or worse than the ‘conventional’ list of villains above. Also, there’s two things most of these green products don’t have. #1 is registered labels (so I ask can these even be a tool of a professional tech?) and # 2 is residual (so I ask isn’t monthly pest control something the green movement is against?) This we’re told is looking forward.

Is The Debate Over?

It’s just odd to me, this debate was started by the green movement over a change of direction which the industry was already on. I don’t know why but this was never enough (nor will it be) even with the continuous amazing advancements in chemical and application technology. It seems that until the day comes when we’re all sprinkling Borax and using recycled trim boards and caulk to seal in the treatments, you just won’t be satisfied. The discourse has gotten louder over the years but (and this is just my opinion) when the green movement didn’t get the mass support they thought, they reverted to this last tactic that seems to be the most popular right now. “The Debate Is Over.” This classic strategy of claiming victory when nothing could be further than the truth is effective, I give you that, but without the facts or support I don’t see it lasting.

So Ok, the debate is over as you say but we as an industry are continuing to move forward with or without you. My advice, be proud of what we’ve accomplished, stop your wrangling and just embrace the change.

About The Bug Doctor

Jerry Schappert is a certified pest control operator and Associate Certified Entomologist with over two and a half decades of experience from birds to termites and everything in between. He started as a route technician and worked his way up to commercial/national accounts representative. Always learning in his craft he is familiar with rural pest services and big city control techniques. Jerry has owned and operated a successful pest control company since 1993 in Ocala,Florida. While his knowledge and practical application has benefitted his community Jerry wanted to impart his wisdom on a broader scale to help many more. was born from that idea in 2007 and has been well received. It is the goal of this site to inform you with his keen insights and safely guide you through your pest control treatment needs.

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  • xm41907

    While we might not have moved forward in the last several years with as much umph as with the advent of gel baits, there has been steady progress throughout the industry. Take a look at bed bugs. Five years ago, everyone was recommending customers trash their mattresses, and a blitzkrieg of pesticides were used to get the job done. Now, mattress covers, are common, and alternative treatments are the norm. The pest control industry will always be criticized for what we do, putting toxins into the environment, but we are doing so in a much safer manner, with less impact on the environment.

  • I chose gel baits as the example but there is as you say a “steady progress” which I applaud. Funny you mention bed bugs because I had the idea to include that example but for a shorter writing I left it out but was hoping someone would bring it up.– much of the rise of our recent bed bug invasion has been accredited to the absence of conventional treatments. = as treatments went more outside and nothing placed in the home, they were unrestricted and we all know the results of that. “Responsible” pest control has been around a long time and this is a prime example of the benefit.

  • stuto1

    I’m all for new treatments and safer products but there is a movement out there to ban all pesticides use and their voice is being heard loud and clear in government. They tell us where to spray pesticides and when and its only going to get more restrictive. Companies have jumped on this ban wagon movement mostly because they see how it can speed up service and squeeze a few more customer onto their routes. Less services per customer in a given time period at a faster rate for basically the same price if not greater. We go from monthly to quarterly and skip the inside. The anti-pesticide opposition ignores all positive pest control news(new products and treatments) and focuses on the negative whether its back up by concrete research or not. This anti-pesticide stance is then picked up by our own industry and used to ridicule others that go against the “green” movement. Make no mistake about it, they have an end goal, and it is to ban pesticides use one restrictive rule at a time.

  • Well put— I do think however that “green” service has to go out ‘more’ often due to the lack of residual–I’m seeing ad’s now that are trying to attract more green svc. with newer products that eliminate this.. (in their tag lines) I don’t mind “green” whatsoever—I just detest the campaign (as you so eloquently said) that demonizes the safe practice that we’ve been doing for years. If I’m put down as a bad operator because I spray–spray inside–spray preventively–then I want to see the proof of that. Not just the popular opinion. I could go on but I think I’d just urge people to re-read your comment and think about it.