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From January 28, 2005

Pest Management Company Wins IPM Star Rating
(Beyond Pesticides, January 28, 2005)
D'Bug Lady, a pest control company in Cincinnati, OH, has been certified as the first IPM STAR operation in the state, recognizing excellence in managing pests while reducing reliance on pesticides.

Integrated Pest Management – or IPM – is a common sense approach to pest control. “Routine pesticide applications are not economical, effective or smart,” says Tom Green, entomologist and president of the IPM Institute of North America, which grants the award. “IPM relies on long-term solutions.”

A persistent cockroach problem at a local business is a case in point. According to the food services director, weekly “bombing” of the cafeteria with a pesticide fogger was not working.

“It was money down the drain,” relates the director. They were paying to spray, yet they continued to experience problems.

The business hired Carol Kauscher, CEO of D’BugLady Pest Management, to try the IPM approach.

“We started with a thorough inspection,” says Kauscher. “We used sticky traps to help us determine where the roaches were nesting. We caulked cracks and crevices to seal off possible hiding and nesting places”.

“We also discouraged using cardboard boxes for food storage, and suggested plastic, glass and metal containers. And we applied small amounts of boric acid in a paste with a bait that attracts cockroaches – just a dab here and there in out of the way places where roaches are likely to hide.”

Boric acid is a component in many low toxicity pesticides and in some antiseptics, eyewashes and even food supplements. Yet it’s lethal when ingested by cockroaches.

Within a short time, the infestation was over.

Pesticides are never the first line of defense for Kauscher and with good reason. According to Green, “Even pesticides with low toxicity to humans should be used sparingly, and only when non-chemical methods aren’t enough to solve the problem. The first steps should always include eliminating pest access to food, water and nesting and hiding places.”

By overusing pesticides, we increase the chance that pests will develop immunity. Cockroaches have a long history of overcoming the effects of pesticides. “We need to preserve the options we have,” says Green.

The award is presented only after a company passes a rigorous onsite evaluation, including visits to at least two customer accounts. Company staff must demonstrate a solid working knowledge of pest biology and an ability to address pest problems effectively with pesticide use as a last resort.

The IPM Institute began the IPM STAR program in 2003 with funding from the US Environmental Protection Agency and the National Foundation for IPM Education. The Institute is an independent non-profit organization based in Madison, Wisconsin, working to increase IPM adoption in agriculture and communities.

TAKE ACTION: If you have a pest problem that you need addressed by professionals, consult Beyond Pesticides' Safety Source for Pest Management. Each company includes information regarding what least-toxic and non-toxic alternatives are offered. Read up on Carol Kauscher's business D'Bug Lady here too! If you know of a company that offers non-toxic or least-toxic alternatives, please let us know.