Robert D. Batman
PESTICIDES OUT OF THE REACH AND SIGHT OF CHILDREN AND PETS. The law
says you, Repeat You, must read and follow pesticide label instructions.
Read the entire label before you purchase the pesticide. Do not purchase
a pesticide from anyone who cannot tell you how to use it: "use" refers
to transportation, storage, mixing, application, clean-up of spills, and
disposal of the pesticide container. Wash your hands with soap and water
after handling pesticides or pesticide containers.
First things first. What is a pest? A pest is something which competes
with people for their food. It can also be defined as something that causes
injury or damage, or both, to people, their pets and domestic animals
or their property. A pest may be something which simply annoys either
people or their pets and domestic animals. There are animal pests, plant
pests, and even odor can be a pest!
What is a pesticide? Everything is chemical. Can you name anything that
is not chemical? A pesticide is simply a special chemical (a chemical
tool) designed by chemical engineers to aid in the control of a pest.
There are many types of pesticides: insecticides, fungicides, herbicides,
rodenticides, miticides, and many others. From the Latin "cida" for "killer."
Therefore, pesticide means "pestkiller."
What is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and what is the significance
of a pesticide being registered by the EPA? Federal laws regarding pesticides
are designed to protect those who use pesticides, consumers, pets and
domestic animals, and the environment. The first federal Law was the Federal
Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1906. It was commonly referred to as the
Pure Food Act and regulated interstate commerce of food stuffs: it didn't
actually regulate pesticides. The Federal Insecticide Act of 1910, was
a consumer protection legislation which regulated, to some extent, only
insecticides and fungicides. Skipping over some amendments, and moving
on to 1947, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA)
was passed into law and underwent several amendments. The Environmental
Protection Agency (commonly referred to as the EPA) was created in 1970
and became responsible for the administration of FIFRA. The EPA is now
responsible for Pesticide Registration. All pesticides must be registered
by the EPA. The EPA is responsible for overseeing the testing, extensive
testing, of pesticides. Before a pesticide can be sold it must be registered.
Before a pesticide can be registered, it must be tested. According to
the law, the EPA can not register a pesticide unless it can be used in
accordance with its label and labeling instructions without harming (injuring)
the user, people, pets and domestic animals, threatened and endangered
species or their environments. Label registration testing could take 5
to 10 years and cost $25 to $50 million dollars. Ask the service technician
about the pesticide label reentry instructions and times and common sense
should tell you to keep people and pets out of treat areas and off treated
surfaces until the pesticide is dry.
Do we need pesticides? Yes. Without pesticides we would be paying much
more for many of our necessary products including, but not limited to,
food products, and we would be doing a lot more stomping and swatting.
In many situations, if not most, pesticide application is still the most
economical and effective method of controlling a pest. Negligence with
respect to the upkeep of a structure and its grounds leads to conditions
conducive to pest infestation and re-infestation. Good Sanitation and
correcting conducive conditions (moisture problems, wood-to-soil contact
areas, sealing cracks in concrete floors and foundation walls, removing
debris from under decking and from within crawl areas, moving the firewood
pile away from the structure, caulking where caulking is needed, mowing
and/or removing weedy-brushy environments, cleaning up clutter environments
and; etc.), are good recommendations, but such action and other alternatives
will not replace the need for pesticides.
How do I know a professional pest control service technician knows what
he is doing and will use pesticides properly? You should have faith in
the abilities of your pest control service technician. Service technicians
are required to undergo special training in our area of operation: registered
technicians in Kansas and licensed technicians in Missouri. Certified
applicators must pass state certification testing in the various categories
which they use pesticides. We have been providing professional pest control
services for a long time and we are really good at what we do! Want to
know why? Training! We (Best) are sticklers when it comes to training.
We, at Best, believe the first step towards wisdom is the realization
one always needs to learn more. We are striving to become even better
technicians, and we are enjoying the journey! To find out more about Best:
click on our Company Profile.
Are your products "Natural" and/or "Organic?" "Natural" or "Biopesticides"
refers to products derived from animal, bacterial or biological, plant,
or mineral sources. Microbial pesticides contain one of the following
as an active ingredient: bacterium, fungus, virus, protozoan, or alga.
"Organic" refers to any substance containing carbon. "Natural-Based" means
the product contains some materials that could be referred to as natural.
"Organic Based" means the product contains some materials that are organic.
Most pesticides we use in residential structures would qualify as one
of the above.
Do I need to stay out of the house during professional pesticide application
and, if so, for how long? This depends on several factors: the label and
labeling instructions of the pesticide being used, the extent of the service
to be rendered (small area or entire house), the health and/or medical
status (also read question 14) of the occupants of the house (some medical
conditions may require you to leave for a while), the occupants control
over children and pets, and/or the policy of the company providing the
service. Ask the service technician about re-entry instructions and re-entry
requirements stated on the pesticide label. Your service technician should
be able to advise you regarding any requirements to leave during the
service and regarding re-entry requirements/recommendations. To minimize
your risk, you could wait outside in your vehicle during the service and/or
leave following the service and not return for the period of time recommended
by your service technician. Common sense should tell you to keep people
and pets out of treated areas and off treated surfaces until the pesticide
Do the pesticides you professionals use cause cancer? I hope not! I'm
neither a chemist nor a toxicologist, but, I can tell you this: before
a pesticide can be registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
it must undergo extensive testing and it must meet certain standards with
respect to risks, potential risks and benefits. The product must, with
reasonable certainty, be able to be used in accordance with its label
and labeling instructions without causing harm (injury) to the user, humans,
their pets, and the environment. There are a great many pesticides out
there; more than you might imagine. I have attended special seminars where
this subject was addressed, and I have not heard of, nor am I aware of,
any evidence, scientific or other, which proves any pesticide we (Best)
use to be carcinogenic to humans. But, don't take my word for it: I'm
not an epidemiologist. If you have concerns regarding a specific pesticide
being carcinogenic, you should contact the American Medical Association's
Council on Scientific Affairs. They will need the product's name, EPA
Registration Number, and perhaps the active and inert ingredients listed
on the label along with the percentage of each. You could also contact
the manufacturer's toxicologist regarding the product: call the 800 number
on the product's label. You should request a written response to the question(s)
you ask and to confirm any verbal responses you were given. Don't ask
a PCO to give you information and answers he is not qualified to give.
How can the insecticide you professionals use kill insects and not harm
people and pets? The principal is simple: the amount used, although adequate
to kill insects, is far less than that which would harm people, pets and
other mammals (big or small). You are exposed to low rates of various
toxic chemicals every day and no harm was done because the level of toxicity
was too low to harm you: same principal. This does not mean pesticide
applicators (anyone using a pesticide) have a license to be sloppy or
careless when using pesticides or that they (anyone using a pesticide)
can ignore the law (Federal, state, and product label) regarding pesticide
use. Professional pest control service technicians must undergo special
training before they can use pesticides for commercial purposes. Some
insecticides are chemically engineered to enter the insects system and
not a mammals. Some insecticides are chemically engineered to be sprayed
on food stuff (the fruit on fruit trees, crops in field, grains in grain
storage facilities, and etc.), but the residues, if the products are used
properly and the food stuff is not eaten or processed until specified
on the pesticide label, are not supposed to be at a level with would result
in any harm to the person or animal who eats it. Professional pest control
service technicians are specially trained to properly apply the appropriate
pesticides for the pest situation and environment. Also refer to questions
3, 7, 10, 14, and 15. NOTICE: The above principals apply to all the pesticides
we (Best) use, but it may not apply to all pesticides.
Are EPA Registered products are safe? The EPA will not state that pesticides
are safe. They, the EPA, don't like the word safe, and neither do I. Remember,
there are situations where pesticide use may not be safe. Pesticide use
inconsistent with the product's label and labeling instructions could
result in injury or damage to persons or property, or both. That's why
it is always better (better judgement) to have pesticide applications
and placements performed by a professional pest control service technician.
With all due respect, most pesticide injury and damage to persons or property,
or both, is the result of pesticide use' by untrained people. Use' herein
refers to the purchase, transportation, storage, mixing, application,
clean-up of spills, and disposal of pesticide and pesticide containers.
What about pesticides sprayed on my lawn or on my carpets: are they harmful?
Part of the answer to this question has already been addressed in previous
questions. Ask the service technician about reentry restrictions and keep
people and pets off the treated surfaces and out of treated areas until
the pesticide has dried. Revisit previous questions: numbers 3, 7, and
9 of this FAQ's. Response "A" above refers to services performed by a
well trained technician from a reputable professional pest control company.
However, I will not comment regarding the possibility of harmful effects
resulting from the use of pesticides by untrained homeowners other than
to say: I could write a book on the possibilities, and I've seen things
that scare me!
If a pesticide stinks, will the pesticide harm me? To answer this question
one would have to know which pesticide is being referenced. Many pesticides
stink, but the active ingredient parts per million are at such low levels
no actual harm to mammals (people or pets) should result. Methyl bromide
actually has no odor, but if you breath it, you could die. Certain pesticides
may for a short time emit, during evaporation, harmful fumes. When a professional
pest control service technician uses certain pesticide products, the technician
should tell you to leave the treatment area and not return for the period
of time stated on the pesticide's label. If or whenever you have doubts,
its better to err on the side of safety than to be sorry. Again review
questions 3, 7, and 9 of this FAQ's.
I have a pesticide I purchased at the hardware store. How should I use
it? No disrespect intended, but; if you have to ask such a question, my
only recommendation would be for you to take the product back to the hardware
store and call a professional pest control company for the service you
need. We do not permit our service technicians to give pesticide use instructions
to anyone. STORY TIME: I was shopping at the grocery store. A child (approximately
5 years old) had removed a can of fly spray from the shelf and was spraying
it up and down the isle: he must have seen a bug! Our industry (the pest
control industry)is closely regulated: we can't even have pesticides stored
in our service vehicles where children can get to them. Other businesses,
evidently, (retail outlets) are not as closely regulated and/or inspected
as our industry is regarding the pesticides they store, sell, and use
themselves in their facilities. Numerous pesticides are within reach of
children in most grocery and hardware stores! Do you think this is a matter
which needs attention?
I'm with child (pregnant). Should I leave the house during pesticide application?
Yes. My rule of thumb recommendation would be to leave during the pesticide
application. What's a little time away from the house compared to your
peace of mind. You should consult your doctor and follow the doctor's
advise. Also, read question number 7.
My tomato garden is adjacent the house exterior foundation wall. How will
your termite soil treatment affect my tomatoes? Should I still eat them?
Adversely and no. Don't eat any plant or part of a plant that may have
its roots in soil treated with a liquid termiticide: that is my standing
recommendation, and it is a good one.
Are the pesticides you professionals use better than the ones I can buy
at the hardware store? I will get far better results using my products
than you will using yours.
Some companies advertise pest elimination and eradication. What kind of
pesticides do they use? There is no magic pesticide potion. We (Best Exterminators,
Inc.) can purchase any pesticide made. We elect to purchase the finest
quality pesticides and equipment available. Our service technicians undergo
extensive initial training and are continually attending recurrent, update,
and continual education training sessions/seminars: they really know what
they are doing. Best offers the best of everything, and that is not a
play on words: it's a fact! If it can be done, we can do it! But we do
not and never have advertised pest elimination or eradication and for
a very good reason: there's no official scientific proof' to support any
claims of pest elimination or eradication. If the public's conception
of the terms elimination and/or eradication can be defined as zero base
or in terms of "total" (meaning no more pests), it would only take one
live specimen of one stage of the pest's development (egg, immature, pupa
or adult) to defeat a claim of pest elimination or eradication. Therefore,
those who advertise either pest elimination or pest eradication are taking
a position that is, at this time, probably not very defendable.
I have roaches in my kitchen cabinets, drawers and pantry. I don't have
time to clean out my cabinets, drawers and pantry. I'll wash everything
when I get home. Can't your service technician spray' in there anyway?
Sorry, no can do! The results of the (your) service will be much better,
if you clean out the cabinets so they can also be treated with liquid
residuals, baits and flush agents. Depending on the situation, our technician
may be able to apply gel baits and enclosed roach bait stations in certain
areas of the cabinets and pantry and on the framing behind and beside
the drawers. Our service technician would have to make such a determination
at service time. POINT OF INFORMATION: Certain pest problems require certain
pre-service preparations on the part of the customer. Failure on the part
of the customer to properly prepare limits the thoroughness of the service
that can be performed, and it has a direct and adverse affect on the effectiveness
of the service provided.
My pet is a really large amphibian type person. Will the pesticide hurt
him? I'd recommend removing pets during treatment from the area(s) being
treated with pesticide. In your case, your doing this for two reasons:
1) to protect you pet and, 2) to keep it from scaring the service technician
to death! Ask the service technician when the pet can reenter the treated
Why do some pesticides stink and others don't? It has to do with the formulation.
For example: products which have certain emulsifiers and solvents will
generate odor. Many products actually have very little, if any, active
ingredient odor: it is usually something other than the active ingredient
you are smelling. Some people think, and mistakenly so, that a pesticide's
odor strength relates directly to its effectiveness. Odor usually doesn't
have anything to do with a pesticide's effectiveness.
What is this new Integrated Pest Management (IPM) I keep hearing about?
Buzz words and phrases: how I hate thee, let me count the ways. I suppose
you want the short of it before the long of it: ok, no problem. Briefly,
the acronym, IPM, is of recent (over 20 years ago) origin, however, the
utilization of more than one pest control method ( pesticide control'
is one control method, mechanical' is another control method, and there
are others) dates back to 1,000 B.C. Therefore, the concept and practice
of Integrated Pest Management is certainly not new. About the year 1,000
B.C., there was a Greek poet by the name of Homer. Hey! I remember Homer.
Wasn't he the guy who sat in the front of the class and made straight
A's? Well, in about 1,000 BC, it is recorded by Homer that houses of the
time were fumigated by the burning of sulfur: the first recorded history
of pesticide use. It was also known that a lot of bug whacking went on
back then too: another method of pest control. There you have it: IPM
dating back to 1,000 BC. I rest my case.
How many ways (methods: we call them methods) are there to kill/control
pests? There are basically two (2) classifications which the various pest
control methods fall into: 1) Natural Forces: those of nature which people
have little or no control over and, 2) Applied Methods (sometimes called
Others): initiated or applied by people. These are further subdivided:
see below. Natural Forces: 1. climatic (temperature fluctuations, rain
and drought); 2. natural enemies (disease agents and predators); 3. topography
(mountains, large bodies of water and soil types), and; 4. food and water
supply (survival depends on food and water supply). Applied Methods (the
result of human action): 1. host resistance (selective breeding and hybrid
verities); 2. biological (man's use/introduction of natural enemies);
3. cultural methods (crop rotation and cultivation); 4. mechanical methods
(traps, screens, metal or other barriers, electrical, or you could shoot
the sucker); 5. sanitation (keep it or them clean); 6. legal (quarantines);
and, 7. pesticides or chemical (use of pesticides).
Certain special interest groups want to get rid of pesticides. Do we really
need pesticides? For what its worth, here's how I see it. Fact: Millions
of deaths and disablements are attributed annually to insect-borne diseases.
Fact: Well over 100 billion dollars of damage and injury to personal property
is a direct result of pests annually, according to our industry. Fact:
There's a world food shortage and millions, if not billions, of dollars
of food crops are lost annually to insects and insect-like pests. Fact:
Over half the world's population is undernourished. Fact: There's worldwide
political unrest in many parts of the world: areas where people are going
hungry, insect transmitted disease is going unchecked due to little or
no pesticide use. Meaningful improvement in these areas doesn't look very
promising at this time. Fact: Indeed the future of world economy (agriculture
and industry), not to mention human health, depends on the control of
harmful pests now more than ever! Fact: Pesticides are essential in protecting
the world's rapidly expanding population: their health, their crops and
processed food products, their pets and domestic animals, their clothing,
their priceless possessions and other works of art, their structures,
and their living, working and recreational environments. To legislate
against pesticide use will, in my opinion, adversely affect our standard
of living because: 1) the expensive alternatives have not proven they
can do the job, and; 2) the average citizen can't afford the alternatives.
Fact: I work with pesticides every working day, and have for over 25 years,
providing my customers a safer and healthier living, working and recreational
environment. My use of pesticides has never caused any harm to me, my
customers, their children, pets, domestic animals, crops, food or water
supplies, property, or their living, working or recreational environment
nor have I harmed any endangered or threaten species or their environment.
Opinion: I'm a professional, and I'm really good at what I do. So, what
do I think about the environmental activist groups who want to do away
with pesticides? Opinion: I sincerely believe in their right to voice
their opinions. It doesn't mean they are right nor do I have to agree
with them. I do not have to support their causes, and I can question the
basis of their claims and their actual agenda: that's my right. As for
what or who you should believe, that's something you'll have decide for
yourself. You've seen a brief listing of facts supporting the use (proper
use) of pesticides: many more could be presented. Recommendation: Whatever
you decide, you should support the interest groups that think like you
What about spraying trees when the neighbor to the north east has a swimming
pool in his back yard? Spraying (launching pesticides into the air) presents
the very real possibility of chemical trespass which could result in contamination
of the neighbors swimming pool, especially if the wind is from the S.W.
My house sits near a lake and I have a nearby water well and cistern.
Can anything be done about the termite infestation in my house? Yes. Based
on the general information provided, a termite baiting service would be
the appropriate choice in this situation.
How do insecticides work? This simple question is much more complicated
than it appears. The briefest explanation would be to say that, depending
on the insecticide, it will either be ingested, inhaled, or absorbed,
and the desired result occurs. All pesticides have one thing in common,
they block one or another metabolic sequence, but how they do it (their
mode of action) is not always clearly understood. The same can be said
of many of our pharmaceutical drugs. Time doesn't permit pursuing this
further than to explain the following: A) Insecticides are classified
by mode-of-action into the following seven (7) classifications: 1) nerve
poisons, 2) muscle poisons, 3) protoplasmic poisons, 4) metabolic inhibitors,
5) cytolytic toxins, 6) physical toxins, and 7) alkylating agents, and;
B) The EPA requires detailed mode-of-action studies before they will register
a compound. Their supporting data requirements are very explicit regarding
mode-of-action. This data is the basis for understanding the pesticides
behavior in animals as well as for aiding in developing antidotes and
safety precautions for humans as well as other animals.
Can you prove that the pesticide(s) you employ and the service you provide
will result in elimination or eradication of the pests in my residence
or workplace? No. To eradicate or eliminate a pest implies zero base (no
pests left, in any life stage). Let's look briefly at a roach control
situation. If a pest control company is performing pest control measures
for German roaches in a house or restaurant, how can s/he prove their
service killed the entire roach population (adults, nymphs, and eggs including
those within the walls and other inaccessible areas) in the building?
If you can't prove it, you better not advertize it or guarantee it. To
intentionally misrepresent one's capability for self benefit is to dance
on a very narrow fence with fraud beds on both sides. One could easily
slip and land in the wrong spot at the wrong time!
What about a service warranty? Certain types of pest control services
includes a service warranty and others do not. Remember, we are dealing
with, trying to control, living organisms! Does you doctor give you any
guarantees or warranties when he deals with your parasites? Pest control
service isn't magic. Refer to the previous question (#27).
Following a pesticide application there was a light color stain on my
dark brown mop board. What should I do? Contact the pest control service
company to let them know what happen and ask for their advice. Some professional
pesticides, depending on their formulation and dilution strength, could
leave a visible residue on dark color surfaces. Such a residue can usually
be easily removed without causing any harm to the surface.
How many pesticides are there? The last time I read such data, there were
only about 120 American firms manufacturing pesticides (base level production)
with fewer than 20 providing the majority of the production. In addition
to the base manufacturers there were some 2,000 formulators providing
over 20,000 different pesticide products. Remember, the structural pest
control business is not the only business for which pesticides are produced.
As a mater of fact only a very few of the pesticides produced are labeled
for structural pest control use. KEEP PESTICIDES OUT OF THE REACH OF CHILDREN
AND PETS. READ THE ENTIRE PESTICIDE LABEL BEFORE USING THE PESTICIDE.
DO NOT REUSE THE PESTICIDE CONTAINER (the container the pesticide came
in) ONCE IT IS EMPTY. Protect the pesticide container: you may need to
read the label later! Dispose of the empty pesticide container immediately following the
pesticide label instructions.