There are a lot of things going wrong in the world. Global warming, plastics and many others. One issue that we need to deal with is the misuse of pesticides. Pesticides are weapons of mass destruction and should almost never be used.
The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act prohibits pesticide manufacturers from stating that their pesticides are safe on the label. However, many exterminators and other people who use pesticides like to say the pesticides they are using are safe. They are not.
It isn’t illegal for them to say that, but it certainly isn’t correct. If a pesticide label has a signal word on the label (caution, warning or danger), it is not safe.
Many pest control companies spray baseboards in homes as part of their method to control pests. I asked my boss when I started in the business more than 45 years ago why we spray baseboards. He said we have to make the customer think they are getting their money’s worth. That was true then and it is true now. Very few pests run along the baseboards in a house. Children can be exposed as can pets. It is a gimmick and nothing more.
Some pest control companies also power spray pesticides around the outside of homes and that is equally bad. That method of spraying may kill a few cockroaches, but it also kills beneficial insects such as praying mantids. More importantly, many songbirds will eat insects and when they eat insects sprayed with pesticides it can kill them or seriously compromise their health. Insect eating songbirds are legally protected in New Mexico. Pesticides should never be power sprayed around homes. There are non-toxic methods for controlling pests inside and outside your home.
Mosquito spraying is the epitome of pesticide pollution. It kills very few mosquitoes but will kill other insects that feed on mosquitoes and can kill or harm nesting birds in the area as well as other animals. It will also chase any bats out of the area and one bat can eat a thousand mosquito in one night. It will also kill important pollinators like honeybees.
The reason agencies spray for mosquitoes is to make it look like they are doing something. Larvicides are far more effective as is public education. People can be told how to control mosquitoes on their own property without the use of toxic pesticides.
Not everyone is negatively affected by pesticides, but children can be affected as can people with health issues and people with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) can be seriously injured by pesticide exposure. Nobody should be exposed to toxic pesticides.
We have to realize that the Environmental Protection Agency does not test pesticides. The manufacturers test them and give the results to the EPA and they approve them. They will occasionally ban some pesticides after many people have been made sick or died. DDT, chlordane and many others were used for years until they were finally banned. Why expose anyone to any pesticides unless they are proven safe? That will never happen.
If you have to use an exterminator wants to spray for mosquitoes, require them to sign a document saying they will be financially responsible for all medical or veterinary bills caused by the pesticides. If they refuse, don’t hire them.
I will help anyone control their pests without using toxic pesticides and I don’t charge anything for my consultations. I also have handbooks available via email that will help people control pests in their homes. My handbooks are also free.
If you have any pest questions you can email me
Richard Fagerlund, guest columnist
Richard "The Bugman" Fagerlund is a non-toxic pest management consultant. He can be contacted at [email protected] with pest or pesticide questions.