The foundation of green pest control is integrated pest management (IPM), which includes practices like improving sanitation, performing exclusion and modifying habitats, among other activities.
When control products are necessary, some companies strictly use FIFRA-exempt materials, such as botanical oils, diatomaceous earth and boric acid, while others may employ low-risk or conventional pesticides. Some services take a hybrid approach that falls somewhere in between.
Nozzle Nolen, based in West Palm Beach, Fla., gives clients a choice with two IPM-based approaches. Its All-Natural Treatment program uses only botanical and naturally derived materials. Its conventional service precisely applies minimal-risk materials to the exterior. “We will opt for baits, desiccant materials and vacuums for removal whenever possible,” explained Dean Trevisol, the company’s organizational trainer. For bed bugs and drywood termites, the company’s go-to treatment method is heat.
Parker Eco Pest Control solves about 80 percent of pest problems using IPM and green control products. But if a pest problem escalates or the client’s tolerance for an occasional insect is non-existent, technicians will apply a conventional pesticide with the client’s consent, said co-owner Wesley Parker.
At Abra Kadabra Environmental Services, green pest control is “really about the process, not necessarily a product,” said Matt Eickman. Staying true to the IPM process is not easy for some companies. “A lot of pest control companies talk about IPM, but the actual utilization and implementation of that isn’t necessarily widespread from what I’ve seen,” he said.
According to the 2021 PCT State of the Naturals Market survey, 42 percent of PMPs agreed that green products should be a key component of any IPM program.