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The Truth About Natural, Organic, or Green Pest Control

Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs is a story we all know.  It was written in 1812.  Remember the poisoned apple?  I did some research and I could not find any synthetic poisons available at that time except for phosgene, which was a gas.  There were many natural poisons around… arsenic, mushrooms, anthrax, botulinum (botox), cyanide. mercury, ricin, strychnine, tetrodotoxin (pufferfish).  Which one did the Queen use?  They were all natural and, of course, organic.  So, what the heck does organic mean…. Trust me, It’s organic… I got it at Whole Foods.

Our society’s ever increasing environmental awareness has driven a booming desire for green products and services, and the pest control industry is no exception. A green product or service is defined as one that protects or improves the environment. However, green should not be confused with organic, which infers that the product or service is natural. Natural does not necessarily mean environmentally friendly either, especially if the end result of going organic is a greater use of energy. Venus Pest Company was originally founded as Venus Organic Company as Dr. Scott Lingren saw the growing need for environmentally friendly services. Although we have expanded to become Venus Pest Company with many options available, doing our part to protect the environment is still at the heart of everything we do.

You can find many theories out there regarding natural or organic pest control and some will actually work, although most will leave you scratching your head.  Even still, remedies that will actually kill pests on contact often do not truly eliminate a pest infestation and offer no residual, or long term control of the pests.  Here is a review of a few organic or natural methods of pest control that we have come across.  We want you to know which methods can be effective, but would also like to leave you with some realistic things to consider about them.  Our Bee GreenTM pest control service was developed to satisfy both the need to control pests in your home or business and the desire to protect your families, pets, coworkers, and the environment.

  • Plant Oils – Rosemary, Citrus, Thyme, Pyrethrum, Basil etc. 
    • We use citrus oils on occasion when we need a quick knockdown kill and cannot use any insecticides, like on an fire-ant mound at a day care while children are playing.
    • There is no residual, or long term control offered and they usually have very strong odors.
    • They act fast and dissapate fast. Spraying a wasp nest will kill any wasps currently there, but within minutes other wasps that were away from the nest can land safely.
  • Diatomaceous Earth – Made up of the remains of tiny sea creatures. 
    • This abrasive material is supposed to control insects by scratching their waxy under belly and cause dehydration.
    • It claims 48 hours to 1 week to control cockroaches, but we haven’t seen that.  It is so slow acting that we would argue that it doesn’t work at all.
    • Don’t waste your time on this one.
  • Spices – Cayenne Pepper, Cinnamon, Peppermint, Mint Tea Bags, Cucumber Peels etc.
    • Some insects will avoid things like cayenne pepper and will not cross a line laid out in front of an entry point, like ants coming out of a wall into your kitchen for instance.
    • It is nearly impossible, and probably not a good idea, to leave piles of spices or tea laying around if you have pets or children.
    • The insects may avoid one spot, or multiple spots if you want to spread cinnamon all around your house. But you still did nothing to control them, they’re still in your walls foraging for food. How long before they find a new entry point somewhere else?  Don’t forget insects are excellent climber
  • Soapy Water
    • Soapy water will have similar benefits to plant oils or spices. You can achieve some mortality, and soapy water won’t last in the environment.
    • Moderate efficacy and no residual, or long-term control, meaning increased applications and energy use.
  • Rice for Ant Control 
    • The theory holds that if you spread rice around an ant mound they will take it in, eat it, and die when they’re stomachs explode from the expanding rice.
    • How do you get the ants to eat the rice? Ants are not naturally attracted to eat rice, so you have to somehow trick them with a different ingredient to eat the rice.
    • Finding the right way to make this work is not worth the effort when extremely effective baits are available.
These methods of attempting to control pests naturally or organically will often lead to less than desirable results. But not to worry, there are other environmentally conscious options that are more effective. Below are examples of green pest control methods that we regularly practice and should be incorporated into a good pest management program. For more detailed descriptions of each of these, please visit The Truth About Natural, Organic, or Green Pest Control.
  • Integrated Pest Management (IPM) – In this 2002 study, Green & Breisch described IPM as the central technological paradigm for achieving pesticide reform and demonstrated IPM strategies reduced pesticide use by more than 90%.  Be sure that any pest control company you hire can clearly define IPM and how they use it.
  • Bait – Unlike cayenne pepper and other things that might repel insects from a particular location, baits will be taken back and shared throughout the nests, eventually gaining complete control of the pests.
  • Insect Growth Regulators (IGR) – Because they specifically target insects, IGRs are not harmful to other organisms.  They are most often used against cockroachesfleasbed bugsmosquitoes, and termites.
  • Boric Acid – Sounds scary, but this naturally occurring insecticide dust has been used for almost 100 years.  It is slow acting, but has a very low toxicity to humans and animals, and is very long-lasting.
  • Indoxacarb / Dinotefuran – These are two recent synthetic insecticides that have received fast track registration from the EPA because of their low environmental risk. Showing great promise for the future of green pest management, we began using Indoxacarb in 2009 as part of our green service offerings.
  • Bacillus thuringiensis (B.t.) – Bacillus thuringiensis is an insecticidal bacteria that is so specific that certain strains of it only kill one species of insect. It is invaluable against mosquito larvae because it can be applied directly to water and will ONLY kill mosquito larvae, commonly called mosquito dunks.
  • Spinosad / Abamectin –  Derived from bacterial fermentation, these two natural insecticides are used mainly in baits against ants or cockroaches and in animal applied products for controlling parasites. Spinosad is the active ingredient in some flea medications for your pets.
It can be difficult to filter through all the information floating around regarding natural, organic, or green pest control.  After extensive research, field trials, and experimentation with various control methods, our Bee Green service was created. Bee GreenTM pest control service is the best solution available to protect your home or business from pests while reducing the reliance on pesticides and minimizing harmful effects on the environment.Oh, and if you’re one of those that the plastic bag full of water over the door works for warding off flies, you are lucky and in the minority!
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About Dr. Scott Lingren

President and founder of the best pest control company in the world! Also, for search purposes... the best pest control company in College Station, Texas!