Is IPM Worth It?

Saturday October 27, 2012


Mr Pest Control


First, can you help me find ancient or even Biblical references to pest management chemicals and concepts? I have read of some, but perhaps you have others. Second question, do routine barrier sprays actually do more unnecessary kills of insects than good kills, such as carpenter ants or roaches trying to trail up the side of a house? I understand the need to stop ants/roaches from crawling into the home, but the Pyrethroids restriction of only “3 ft up” is kind of a bummer. I’d prefer the worded it instead like “a barrier no taller than 3 ft”, to imply that it could begin at 3 ft high and stop at 6 ft up the wall if the PMP wanted. My third question regards servicing using IPM, and I have actually read and found through personal experience that customers expect chemical to be sprayed, even with no pests there. I think the idea of hiring a PMP to come on a routine basis and having him do only an inspection and leave seems like it wouldn’t be as worthwhile to the customer as if he came, did a nice maintenance spray, maybe some bait, and left. I generally don’t do a dedicated inspection of the property first and have been doing routine sprays in and out. I think NOT spraying would just raise the odds of pests being there next time. I am skeptical of the value of a technician doing only spot applications around thresholds or behind equipment. Do big companies really send a guy out, charge a standard fee, and maybe not even offer a guaranteed perimeter-type spray? I feel like the IPM stories in the magazines allude to a world where PMPs are more into fixing doors, trimming bushes, handy man type tasks, and sometimes use chemical. Imagine you are a homeowner who noticed a few roaches inside, called a pest control company, got a quote for a start-up, and hired someone to come out. He talked to you, walked around the place, and only sprayed C&C inside areas, pointed out an air gap in the door, and offered to fix it for an EXTRA fee. Would you really be satisfied paying as much as most companies charge plus the door-fix fee? I feel like IPM encourages fixing seals and outside conditions but not much in the realm of preventive CHEMICAL treatments, like hitting it with a 2-month routine spray even if nothing’s there at the time, and I think that’s what most of my customers expect they are paying for. Leaving them with a note that they didn't have any bugs and that they should hire someone to fix that front door gap does not really, in my opinion, justify the price. I do believe in being reasonably respectful of Nature, but I believe there is almost zero demand for a true IPM service in my area. What are your thoughts on these things? A final question. Are Masterline Bifenthrin 7.9% and the original Talstar going to provide the same results? I know both brands contain 7.9% bifenthrin, but are the other inert ingredients important in the end residual properties?

Christopher, FL

Mr Pest Control


Your question is a very interesting one, and I hope it was OK to reword it a bit to reduce the length, and hope the meaning is still intact. First, I think you should expect MasterLine Bifenthrin and Talstar liquid concentrate to provide pretty much the same results. All things considered, once everything dries following the application what you are left with on the surface is the bifenthrin, and this is what will kill the pest insect. Second, on the new restrictions for pyrethroids outdoors, we probably should be happy for now with the ability to treat up to 3 feet above grade (California has reduced this to 2 feet). The issue of pyrethroids moving off site and into natural waterways is a hot one, and we probably have not seen the end of the challenges from anti-pesticide groups who would prefer pyrethroids were not used at all. We can accept that most PMPs could be given the ability to make their own decisions, but every industry has its, shall we say, bad apples, and there would be those who would take that ability to do as they wish and misuse the products. 

On historical references to pest management, I am no authority on The Bible, so I cannot help you there. But, of course, The Bible does... Read more

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