I get this question a lot as an owner of a pest control company in Vancouver, Washington. When people think about pesticide applications, they immediately have this picture in their head of some spray jockey hosing down their house with toxic chemicals. Maybe the generation older than myself remembers a very potent product called “DDT” that was commonly used, before being banned, that killed bugs (and just about everything else). On top of this, we are in the age of the “Green” revolution. Consumers demand green, organic products and have spurned the chemicals and products of the past that have put us at risk. Growth of Green, natural products have been a very positive development, but consumers tend to assume that pest control products are of the toxic variety. However, this is simply not the case.
Over the past decade, pest control operators like myself have been introduced to a new breed of pest control products that are far removed from the toxic products of past generations. It began with the advent of “Pyrethrins” which are organic compounds that are naturally derived from a chrysantheum. These products have been around for a while, but have become more widely used rather recently. I have been using them as a pest control operator for about 10 years and have found them to be quite effective in controlling ants, spiders and a whole host of other common pest issues.
Unfortunately, if you are dealing with sugar ants in your home, Pyrethrins can actually be counterproductive. I discussed this in detail in a previous post, but Pyrethrins (and other repellents) can cause sugar ant colonies to spread and reproduce at a faster rate. It is for this reason that we primarily utilize baits when treating for sugar ants.
When baiting for ants, we usually use either Advion Ant Gel Bait or Optigard Gel Bait. Both of these are great options, but neither can be considered “Green”. Many of my most Eco-Friendly customers have been very leery to use anything that I have on my truck that is not green, but these products are no less safe than my “greenest” products. As an example, my pest control product supplier told me an interesting story. She said that she was giving one of her friends a tube of Advion Ant Gel Bait when her friend said “I can’t use that! It is not a natural product and is not safe”. My supplier, who is very familiar with the product, went ahead and squirted some of the product on her tongue, swallowed and smiled at her stunned friend!
Please do not try this at home, but it just goes to show how people who are very familiar with the product feel about its safety. It is designed to only be effective on an exoskeleton, rendering the ingestion from a mammal virtually harmless. With this in mind, we follow strict safety procedures when treating for ants.
What I have found when working with customers that are concerned about doing an ant control treatment in their home is that education is key. Once I describe our products and our treatment procedures, most people tend to feel comfortable afterwards.
If you have more questions about doing an ant treatment in your Portland, Oregon or Vancouver, Washington home, please do not hesitate to call or email.