[Pest Perspectives] How Exterior Perimeter Applications May Look in 2013

Columns - Pest Perspectives

New EPA restrictions and label changes that took effect in 2012 will have an impact on exterior applications in the new year.

January 29, 2013
Kim Kelley-Tunis

EPA-mandated changes to labels for pyrethroid-based products took effect in 2012. These restrictions limit the types of exterior applications that can be made to and around a structure, and programs that focused on general methods or broadcast applications to control some common perimeter pests — cluster flies, boxelder bugs, brown marmorated stink bugs, kudzu bugs — must be modified to comply with the new, more restrictive label.

With a lack of products to fill the void left by the pyrethroid-based products, companies will be evaluating and modifying their exterior perimeter programs to meet customers’ needs.

Importance of Inspection. The inspection has always been the foundation of many pest management programs. However, with these changes to the pyrethroid label, the inspection will play an even greater role in exterior perimeter control programs.

The goal of any exterior program is to keep pests off and out of a structure; the exterior inspection needs to focus not only on identifying all points of entry into a structure, but also all those conditions that may be conducive to an infestation. The interior inspection needs to complement the exterior inspection by identifying any additional entry points not found during the exterior inspection, and identifying any harborage points inside the home.

Targeted Pest Control. Material applications will need to be more directive, based on the target pest and the new label directions. In the past, general applications for many of the more common perimeter pests were conducted on the exterior of the structure only, with the goal of preventing the pest from gaining entry — but the new pyrethroid label prevents these applications.

Exterior spot and crack-and-crevice applications around common entry points, such as around door and window frames, soffits and plumbing penetrations, are still permissible and necessary. However, interior applications in the most susceptible areas of the interior of the structure are also going to become more common. Attic, crawlspace and wall void applications are going to be necessary to provide effective control.

Non-Chemical and Ancillary Services. The use of chemicals to prevent a pest population from entering a structure is only a temporary fix, and that is why non-chemical and ancillary services will become a much more important part of the exterior perimeter service. These hands-on strategies foster a partnership with the customer, working as a team to identify and manage the exterior pest problem. The customer relies on our knowledge and expertise to identify why their home or structure is susceptible to these pest infestations.

Ancillary services such as providing and installing seals to windows and doors, sealing openings around utility penetrations and other cracks and keeping vegetation away from the structure will provide added value to our service.

The author is Rollins’ technical services director. She can be reached at ktunis@giemedia.com.