Answering Questions from Customers

October 9, 2019

I wanted to share some of the things people will often ask me or Robert. I had Robert look it over and he added some additional thoughts..

1. I don't want you to spray while I'm home because I don't want to be around chemicals.

If you don't want to be around chemicals, you should get rid of the Clorox, the fabric softener, the laundry and dish detergent, your perfumes and colognes, your deodorant, and your table salt. They're all chemicals, far more dangerous than what we use. Did you know that the U.S. Postal Service rates pool chemicals, hydrogen peroxide and bleach as Class 5 hazardous materials, but Concentrated Pesticides are classified as Class 6? You might want to get rid of all your water too. Am I being facetious? Not really, but water is a chemical too. Not dangerous, you say? One can die from water intoxication causing your body to release deadly toxins, or one can drown. But that would require a lot of water, might be your argument. Exactly. When used correctly, and measured appropriately, any chemical that we spray in your house can be perfectly safe for humans, and our company has yet to make any pets or humans sick.

2. I don't want you to spray while I'm home because I'm allergic.

We have a wide variety of products with differing ingredients. Just because one is allergic to lemons does not mean one is allergic to all fruits. If you know you have allergies, please let us know exactly what active ingredient in some pesticides you are allergic to. We can craft around that. Thinking it will smell is most often false and is not an allergic reaction.

3, Aren't you afraid you're going to get cancer being around all those chemicals?

No, there's no fear of cancer, because we use the correct measurements, and use all precautions as described on the label of each product. And most, if not all the products we use, are not carcinogenic. If they were, they would have a much more extreme Warning Word on the label. The pesticides you hear of that are carcinogenic or poisonous (technical term not common usage) or have shown to toxify land or water are almost exclusively not what most people think. They are not the pesticides used in homes nor the ones used for bugs. They are the ones used for weeds, nematodes, molds and fungi. Your lawn care guy is using vastly more toxic chemicals than your pest control tech ever does and in much higher quantities. BTW so does your painter and housekeeper.

4. What precautions should I take in my home if I have a baby vis a vis pest control?

We would wish to give a wide berth to the baby's room, crib, and playpen because, "Better safe than sorry" and in the case of a newborn even wildly, irrationally too safe is a workable plan. Toys and such which the child could put in his mouth should be picked up before we come. But let's be very clear, responsible use of very low toxicity pesticides is much much safer and less likely to harm your children than spider or fire ant bites or German Cockroach infestations. The baby's room should still be inspected, even if no treatment is done, to make sure the real threats to health are not present.

5. Can you spray a stronger solution so you can get rid of the bugs quicker?

See #3 above. I cannot, by law, use a stronger solution. We have to abide by Federal laws that dictate how to mix each solution. Stronger is an ignorant understanding of how pesticides work. If a doctor cut off a growth on your skin and then it was back a month later, you would not suggest they use a hacksaw instead of a scalpel because it is stronger. If a product isn't working at the legal maximum limit it will not work with more of it. It will almost certainly work worse and it will surely make it less safe to you and yours and the technician and our company's pocketbook and our freedom (It is a fineable, state and federal crime that will land us in jail).

6. Do we have to leave for four hours during a flea spray because it is dangerous?

What I spray for fleas is very dangerous – to the fleas. The reason we ask you to vacate the premises for about four hours is so that the spray has a chance to dry. You wouldn't want to have your upholstery or carpets cleaned, and then have someone sit/walk on them while they were still wet. Or mopping a floor and then walking all over it while it was still wet.

7. I want you to use something more natural, because I want to “go green”.

If you're trying to “go green”, you should start by getting rid of the pine straw around your house; trim back bushes and plants away from the house; keep the gutters cleaned out; repair any leaks right away (bugs love your house when you have a leak); repair or replace any broken screens; beware of the bird seed you keep in the house; shake down any plants before you bring them in for the winter. As to using something more natural, many products advertise that they're natural and intentionally let you think that that necessarily means safer. If there were a natural, safer, similarly effective pesticide to be used we would be using it. Orkin Pest Control would be using it. Most every company would be using it. The fact is, none of those claims is accurate.

A) Many pesticides are natural. Boric Acid occurs naturally and our own bodies make it in small amounts. Permethrin, one of the oldest and most common pesticides, although now synthetically made, originally came from chrysanthemums and it is still based on that same basic chemical structure. What is more natural than a flower?

B) Those products get to call themselves natural and not get monitored, tested and verified by the EPA because of a legal distinction, not a safety distinction. If they are based on anything that is edible they do not have to apply to the EPA, they do not have to get a Material Safety Data Sheet and they do not have to be tested to show they have any efficacy on bugs. You can take your left over apple core, lettuce nub, banana peel, and sausage casing and puree them up in a blender, then sell it for $50 per ounce as the greatest pesticide in the world and it is completely legal. It won't help. It will likely bring you more bugs. It will be more expensive. And you can throw in some peanuts in the mix to make it potentially deadly. But it is legal and it is natural.

C) Natural does not mean safer. I have a list of natural things for you: Peanuts, poisonous mushrooms, Poison ivy and oak, Sumac, pollen, hurricanes, pufferfish (fugu), wasps, snake venom, fire ants, rhubarb leaves, oleander, cherry seed pits....shall I continue? As a fun note, eating so-called organic fruits and vegetables that do not have pesticides applied to them to keep bugs off, in some cases, may expose you to greater amounts of more toxic pesticides. Some varieties of potatoes (Lenape, for instance) have been taken off the market for this reason. The thing is, the most hardy varieties of fruits and vegetable that can survive shipping and time make their own pesticides for their own plant protection. And guess what? An apple tree doesn't care if its own evolved pesticide is safe for humans.

D) Many natural products can have some control, usually by repellent effect, on insects. But it is generally very specific and it would take one hours of study and hundreds of dollars to concoct enough different "natural" remedies to handle the menagerie of insects invading your home. For instance, mixing green jelly and Boric Acid in just the right amount and consistency is extremely safe and can be very effective on sweet eating ants. But if you have Red Imported Fire ants or Carpenter Ants or Argentine Ants it will do very little, if anything to help. And that is just ants. What of roaches and spiders and earwigs?

Most advertised natural products have a very small scope of what bugs they control and a questionable success rate in controlling those, but since they bypass the EPA and the testing phase, they can over-promise and literally mislead about their effectiveness and safety.