Untrained pesticide use can do more harm than good

As the economy continues to slog along and homeowners become more frugal in response, a new do-it-yourself trend has caught on. More families are enjoying home-cooked meals rather than eating out. The backyard vegetable garden rage has permeated all the way to the White House. Householders are tackling home renovation projects and auto repairs on their own. And undoubtedly, more people are eyeing their pest control service as another potential way to cut costs with a do-it-yourself regimen. But pest management is one area where do-it-yourself is a bad idea. Here’s why.

Pest control is a highly regulated industry requiring extensive and continuing training of personnel. During training, technicians learn about the life cycles and habits of each species of household pest, and more to the point, they learn what kinds of treatment are most effective in eliminating infestations, how to prevent recurrences, precise quantities of chemicals to apply where necessary, and how to handle and dispose of chemicals with the least impact to homes, people, pets and the surrounding environment. Few home- or business owners, regardless of how much online research or reading they do, achieve the level of knowledge and skill that each pest control professional receives in order to be licensed. And the results of well-meaning but non-professional pest control efforts can be disastrous.

As a recent Sacramento Bee article reported, researchers have found high concentrations of pyrethroid pesticides in the American River and many area creeks that feed into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, one of the most significant ecosystems in the world and a source of drinking water and agricultural irrigation for much of California. The source of the pesticides: urban Sacramento. Scientists believe consumers may be overapplying pesticides to their lawns, gardens and homes or pouring or rinsing them down the drain.

Whereas a householder may figure, if a little is good, more is better, a trained pest control professional assesses the situation, determines the most effective treatment to meet the customer’s needs and cost considerations, and then applies a precise amount of pesticide to a defined location. And a pest control professional is trained in safe disposal and storage of unused chemicals, the source of far too many accidental poisonings and other household tragedies.

Since 1987, Pest Control Operators of California has conducted a public service campaign, Chem-Safe, to educate consumers about the proper handling of household chemicals. The U.S. Poison Control Center estimates that half of all accidental poisonings in the United States are caused by household chemical such as cleaners or pesticides. Every year hundreds of thousands of California Children under the age of 5 years of age are poisoned in the home with household chemicals and medicines.

As proud members of Pest Control Operators of California, we at Earth Guard urge you to handle and dispose of all household chemicals carefully and to consult a trained pest management professional to assess and address pest problems in your home or business. You can learn more about Earth Guard by visiting http://www.earthguardpest.com. Here are some safety tips from PCOC:

PCOC Safety Tips for handling Household Chemicals
• Keep all chemicals and pesticides locked up and out of reach of children.
• Use pesticides and household chemicals in accordance with manufacturers’ directions.
• Don’t saturate: using twice as much of a product does not mean it works twice as well.
• Don’t put products in unlabelled bottles or cans—keep them in their original containers.
• Never play chemist! Don’t mix products together because poisonous or explosive chemical reactions may occur.
• Always wear protective equipment such as goggles and gloves when using chemicals or pesticides.
• Avoid breathing mists or vapors, especially from aerosol products.
• Keep children and pets away from the area being treated or cleaned.
• Wash carefully after handling chemicals and pesticides.
• Dispose of the products carefully: containers tossed in the trash may still contain harmful amounts of the product.

Source: Pest News4
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