“Green living” is something many American families are trying to adopt in their daily lives. Over the last decade this has become very apparent with regards to pest control. As noted in a recent PCT magazine article, “Trends of the Last Decade”, “more consumers are looking for kinder, gentler pest control solutions”.

Today’s consumers are joining the “green movement” wanting more products and services that are considered less harmful to the environment. Look at the increase in hybrid cars, “green” cleaning products and eco-friendly advertisements of all sorts. The pest control industry is no different. PCOs are adding terms like “eco-friendly” to their marketing pieces and even logos in response to this trend.

In this PCT magazine article Dr. Roger Gold of Texas A&M University points out that while most consumers are looking for “green” products and services, people don’t truly know what that means. Just because something says it is derived from plants doesn’t mean it is “green”. He explained that “plant-derived” and “safe” should not be considered the same. Still, Gold agrees the movement is important and in many cases beneficial: “People are constantly looking for products that are called least risk in terms of adverse impacts.”

So just what is “green pest management (GPM)”? It isn’t truly defined. It has no legal or regulatory definition and there is no such thing as a list of “green” pesticides. “Green” and “Natural” are subjective terms. Dr. Gary Bennett, professor of urban entomology at Purdue University describes this as “a method emphasizing inspection and monitoring rather than spraying, plus the use of the least toxic insecticides.” Greg Baumann, director of technical services for Rollins sees the term defined by consumers and how they perceive it.

In June of 2008, Bug Off Pest Control Center presented the “Green Pest Management Summit”, the largest green-themed event for PMPs in the U.S. to date. In it, we came to certain conclusions that are still relevant:

  • IPM is the starting point for GPM.
  • The goal is to solve pest problems while reducing negative impacts on humans and the environment.
  • Selection of pesticides should be based on their source and mode of action.
  • Application methods should minimize exposure: No routine applications; crack-and-crevice techniques should predominate; residues should not be visible.
  • The client should be an active participant in designing the program.

In the hopes of reaching a consensus on standardizing GPM, the NPMA introduced the GreenPro certification program in 2008. This program certifies pest control operators and gives them the NPMA’s seal of approval to present to their clients who are committed to a cleaner and healthier environment.

What is your definition of “green pest management” and how are you supporting it?  We encourage you to share your experiences with us.

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