It Ain’t Easy Being Green!

    With all due respect to that famous frog, the global movement towards environmentally sound policy, while perhaps a bit late in arriving full swing, has now become a full throated effort. Going “Green” is now mainstream. So, what does that mean to industries that have relied on less than green technologies up to now? The US Auto industry is reeling, both from poor financial management as well as a failure to tool up fast enough to meet the new green demands. Plus, many US companies have closed up shop and gone to foreign lands, where green is not a consideration (at least not the green we’re talking about here), taking thousands of jobs with them. So is there any good news here?

    Yes, there is. All you have to do is take a good look at the pest control industry. Probably the last place one would expect to find a green conscience, the industry has begun to re-tool itself, and profitably. One of the primary catalysts for this effort has been the sudden and dramatic re-emergence of the bed bug. While unfortunate indeed for the victims, this blood sucking little pest has rejuvenated an industry.

    Once all but eradicated by the now-banned DDT, the bed bug, aka cimex lectularius, has come marching back into the lexicon of the American human condition, forcing a whole host of pesticide companies and other related businesses to re-evaluate their processes and tools of the trade. Where at one time, so-called spray jockeys showed up at your door, and wantonly sprayed unknown and most probably toxic chemicals everywhere they could think of, now a more cautious approach has taken root.

    As part of the overall effort to green itself, the pest control industry has rolled out a number of products that, while we wouldn’t suggest mixing it in with your breakfast smoothie, are markedly improved and certainly less taxing on Mother Earth. For example – Diatomaceous Earth. This product comes directly from tiny fossilized shells (diatoms) and acts as a desiccant, or drying agent. Very effective on a whole host of insect pests. Another one is good old fashioned steam. Just vaporize the suckers. But, it’s limited, so how about freezing the pests? Yes, a great marketing piece, and it works well on paper, but the pros who know say not so much.

    Another hot item with excellent results is the anti-bed bug mattress encasement. These may look like ordinary mattress covers, but are actually scientifically engineered and very hi tech items. They are used for both bed bug prevention and as part of an overall treatment solution. Hotels, institutions and homeowners are lining up to guard against the financial, physical and yes, emotional damage that bed bugs can cause. In addition, it turns out that they are very effective anti-allergy barriers as well, keeping dust mites, pollens, pet dander and a variety of fluids away from the interior of your mattresses and pillows. A definite plus, since that’s where you statistically spend 1/3 of your life.

    Along with the re-invention of the chemicals and other tools, a concept known as Integrated Pest Management (IPM) has also taken root. This hands-on approach to pest control allows the customer to participate in the process, both in decision making and implementation, with a focus on non-traditional, non-toxic methods in combination with the more traditional chemical approach, in moderation, where needed. The reviews are in, and it’s a hit.

    But, that’s not to say there are some stragglers. There are. Some ‘old school’ pest control firms have resisted the move to green, and are still employing more old-fashioned, more toxic methods. But the end is nigh. It has become such a pervasive mindset that not only the consumers are demanding, but legislators are leaving no choice, as well. Bans of a whole host of pesticides are in effect, and more are on the way, which gives even more fuel to the IPM/Green approach.

    Overall, the trend seems entrenched. Green is the buzzword in boardrooms across the globe, and as it turns out, it’s getting easier to be green, after all. Thanks, Kermit.