Pest control methods have come a long way since the ancient Egyptian approach of using cats, ferrets and mongooses to control rodents or the Sumerian use of sulfur compounds as a form of insecticide. Our modern-day methods of habitat modification, growth regulators, and the use of baits, traps, repellents and other means of pesticides are on the verge of benefiting from advances in modern technology. Read on for a glimpse at some of the fascinating innovations in pest control technology.
Improving Upon the Current Methods
Currently, pest control companies use an integrated pest management strategy, or IPM, which relies on early detection and the use of selective pest control products designed to preserve the ecological health of farmlands while limiting the negative impact on those beneficial insects that help put an end to the targeted pests. While IPM is already an environmentally friendly and proactive approach to pest control, biorational materials go a step farther in sustainability.
Biorational materials are becoming increasingly important as a way of enhancing current control methods. The use of pheromones is not new to pest control. However, adding pheromones to insecticides is. Ongoing scientific research at the University of California has resulted in what they are calling the pheromone-assisted technique to maximize the effectiveness of insecticides. Their target species in this work is the Argentine ant.
To understand how effective this approach is, we must understand how the insecticide works. By itself, an insecticide for ants is not bait and therefore does not act as a lure. Typically, the ant crosses the path of a treatment zone containing the slow-acting agent. The ants naturally pick up the treatment and carry it back to the colony where it will be spread, and they will eventually die. When the insecticide is combined with a pheromone, this treatment actually lures the ants away from their colony and toward the insecticide.
This new product shows great promise for controlling invasive pests as it lowers the environmental impact and limits the negative effect on human health and other non-target species. Think of the effectiveness of some pheromone treatments such as those that could be used in food processing plants or food storage warehouses. As a mating disruption technique, this is a new tool that will lead to a greater reliance on biorational materials.
From Pheromones to Hormones
Insect Growth Regulators, or IGRs, involve the use of synthetic copies of insect hormones. IGRs are already used by pest control experts to interrupt the life-cycle of pests by inhibiting their growth. The latest method to come from the research combines the disruptive IGRs with those that prevent the development of certain protective aspects of their bodies rendering them defenseless. As a means of undermining their capacity to survive, this IGR combination is expected to be effective against such infestations as cockroaches.
Of course, this new science makes it crucial to ensure your pest management professionals demonstrate they understand the new and evolving food safety regulations and they have knowledge of the National Organic Program (NOC) and of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). These will be an integral part of their intelligence in determining where or when the use of biomaterials can be incorporated into existing IPM programs.
The Evolution of What It Means to Be Green
Public health has been much of the perspective when it comes to green products. We are seeing the demand shift toward eco-protection as the EPA has focused on how these products impact the environment. The next generation of green products will have better ingredients for greater effect with fewer downsides. One example is the unpleasant smell from insecticides that contain plant-based essential oils. The concentrations of original ingredients can reduce the smell without reducing their effectiveness.
Communication Technology Is Changing Everything
We have seen how social media is transforming the way we live. Many of these same tools are allowing pest control professional to capture real-time data relating to the nature of pest problems and their locations. By storing these data in a central database, facility managers as well as pest control experts can access them. In addition, tracking the status of multiple facilities allows the necessary timely response for instant diagnosis for more effective treatments, corrective actions or recommendations.
Some of these tools include:
- video recording
- real-time communication devices
- apple’s face time
- GoPro cameras
This improves the ability to perform real-time co-inspections between pest control experts and clients as well as using video to record, narrate instructions and leave a copy for the facility manager if they are not able to be present.
Other improving technologies include rodent birth control. This is good news for those who have experienced how mice and rats can be such prolific breeders. This one is yet to hit the market, but rodent birth control may soon be another means of targeting a species without having an impact on the environment or other non-target creatures.
Finally, the new fly baits are one of the latest innovations in fly control methods. Targeting the common housefly, blowflies, fruit flies, bottle flies, phorid flies and fungus gnats, a small sticker coated with both insect food and an insecticide can be discreetly placed to eliminate the flies upon contact. When used indoors, these powerfully effective stickers can last seven months.
We are moving beyond the targeted processes of attempting to control all manner of insect species and pests to an overarching focus on decreasing the negative impact on our environment, other non-target creatures and, ultimately, the residential, industrial and urban bottom lines.
All these advancements are good news for both commercial and domestic environments. As more roll out, more are being tested and sure to follow. This gives pest control professionals like American Pest Control Inc a more effective arsenal to solve your pest control problems. Contact your pest professionals to learn more about what new treatments may be appropriate for your home or facility.