Is green pest control like the metric system?

map of metric system user countries pestcemetery.comAlmost every country in the world uses the metric system of measurements, the exception is the United States. As the story goes the U.S. was in line back in the 1970’s to become only the 2nd country to convert but the change came with resistance from several key sectors and now it is the last. I remember as a kid going to math class and trying to learn the conversions but just as suddenly the curriculum was dropped. (I was thankful for sure) Weather reports were done for awhile in both celsius and fahrenheit but it was felt there were too many numbers being thrown at the audience. Metrics again, were taken out. Manufacturers were probably the key to keeping the meter out of your daily language because they found a superior way of measuring in ‘decimal inches’. The decimal inch is actually 4 times better than measuring in millimeters unless you were to use 1/2 or 1/4 millimeters which only adds fraction and defeats the purpose. By 1988 the push was gone and an amendment was made to establish the metric system in government first and then the public once a foundation was set. Typical of our elected leaders, the system has all but faded away. Maybe that’s not all bad, a 4 year political term in metric would be about 8 months longer and I’m not sure we could stand our elected leaders for that long.

Is green pest control much like the metric system? By all accounts we the people are told over and over about benefits of going green and according to some the movement is picking up steam everyday. We’re constantly reminded that pesticides are bad and that the standard we’ve lived by all these years must be changed for the betterment of us all. Our children are subjected to theories and scientific studies showing cancer as the main by product any pesticide produces. I’m not aware of any beneficial text book or even a chapter in a book that explains the benefits of responsible pest control. I really don’t want to get off topic so I’ll continue with my theory.

Much like the metric system green pest control is now being pushed forward by the government. Schools are taking the ‘least risk’ approachmixing pesticides and mandating organic materials only in many districts and states. Chemical manufacturers seem eager to pounce on this new market but are not so quick to pull all the old stand by’ off the shelf seeing how they are still the lions share of the pie. Confusion seems to rule the debate because no one can nail down a solid definition for green, organic or even Ipm. (Integrated pest management) While the public wants to be safe and have a clean world your local pest control technician would like also to go home every night a happy and healthy soul. Nobody wants pollution or dead fish, birds dropping from the air because some bug guy killed a ground bees nest with something that wasn’t certified organic. Much like the metric system any opposition to this ‘new’ way is seen as heresy and met with criticism. Still, Americans want dead bugs and when push comes to shove I don’t think the majority care if you are using dried red peppers or a gallon sprayer filled with a micro-encapsulated pyrethroid. Just kill the damn things! Incidentally, most concentrates of pesticides mix up using milliliters, how ironic.

anti metric system pestcemetery.comI’d like to hear what you think; are you a company owner sold on the virtues of green products or a home owner who is concerned? Please if you’re a bug man still using chlordane don’t comment, even I might have to get on you about that. Or are you like me and don’t see the huge need to ban all things pesticide and feel that the current trends are well within the bounds of professional and responsible use. I’d like to put in a poll here but I wanted to save room for a David letterman top ten list. It’s not about pest control but about the demise of the metric system. Maybe some creative person could make one for the pest industry & I’ll be happy to post it here. For now however I gotta get some sleep, I have continuing education classes tomorrow for my license renewal and I’ll bet by now you can guess what the speakers are slated to talk about.

Top 10 reasons we should convert to the Metric System (with apologies to David Letterman)

10. People will finally understand my joke about driving attoparsecs per nanocenturies.
9. Gas will seem cheaper at 50 cents a liter.
8. Being 22 kilos overweight does not sound as bad as 50 lbs.
7. Defense will be easier if the offense has to drive 10 meters for a first down.
6. Arizona summers will not seem as bad when its only 40 degrees outside.
5. Its not “metric”, its “Digital”!
4. Imagine all the exciting math you will do converting your favorite recipes to milliliters.
3. Less fractions to deal with like, “Do I need a five eighths socket or a nine sixteenths to loosen this nut?”
2. The boy band 98º will not be as popular calling themselves 36.7º.
1. Half a liter is more than a pint, which means, MORE BEER FOR EVERYBODY!

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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  • Jeff Ledford

    Well, as a business owner, I am glad to see a movement toward what I guess you can call a “greener attitude” in pest control. I am not for getting rid of all things not botanical or organic. When used properly, pesticides, as we pest control professionals use, can definitely add to quality of life. But it is nice to have organic and botanical options, too. However, I will say that around 50% of my customers use me because they know that when I commit to a “green” program for them, I will respect their wishes for no synthetic pesticides (read pyrethroids, etc.). The other 50% or so don’t care what I use.

    However, I do think the IPM mindset is a good thing. The days of the “scorched earth” service – where pesticides were sprayed all over the exterior of a home or business to kill everything in sight – should be over. There are better ways than killing off all the insects and spiders. We know, or should as pest professionals, that many insects and spiders are actually beneficial. It should be our obligation to manage pests and make as little of an impact on the other insects as possible. For me, if the insects are residing outside – where they are supposed to be – I usually leave them be, unless, of course they present an immediate danger to the humans, animals or structure.

    So the “green” movement is good, so long as we don’t become radical extremists either for or against pesticides.

  • Options are good and more ‘tools in the box’ – well that’s just smart business.
    Well said and thought out.

    Thanks for commenting