Posted by RC Willey Community on May 19, 2015
There are a lot of things you want in your home including family, friends, food and pets and then there are the things that invite themselves into your home without you asking such as: spiders, ants, and roaches! I have been wondering if there is a way to kill the creepy crawlies without harming our children, pets, and plants and in this search I found a business in Ogden, Utah, called Seagull Pest Control. Seagull Pest Control and a handful of others are using natural products to rid the home of unwanted pests without strong chemicals or harmful fumes. I sat down with Lance from Seagull Pest Control and asked a few questions.
Kerry: Lance, can you tell me how your product is safer for the home than other forms of chemical pest control?
Lance: We use natural products, such as essential oils, to get rid of and repel pests. Take a look at this MSDS (material safety data sheet) label right here. MSDS labels have instructions, cautions, and warnings concerning the chemical or product in the container. Traditional chemical pesticide MSDS labels are usually full of cautions and warnings due to their toxicity. We’ll let the MSDS label for our product speak for itself.
It says the following:
- Respiratory protection not required with adequate ventilation.
- Carcinogenicity National Toxicology Program results: No
- OSHA results: No
- Ecological information concerning the aquatic impact, specific data regarding toxicity to fish or other aquatic organisms is not available for this product.
When you compare our solution to the chemicals used in the past and by most of our competitors today, you will see that they use synthetic pyrethroids. While pyrethroids are a synthetic version of an extract from the chrysanthemum plant, they have been chemically engineered to be more toxic with longer breakdown times. They are often formulated with synergists, which increase the potency of the mixture but also compromises the human body’s ability to detoxify the pesticide.
Kerry: So what are some health effects in humans caused by pyrethroids?
Lance: From the research I’ve done, I’ve found that exposure to pyrethroids can vary from contact dermatitis and asthma-like reactions. People, especially children, with a history of allergies or asthma are particularly sensitive. Other symptoms of acute toxicity due to inhalation include sneezing, nasal stuffiness, headache, nausea, incoordination, tremors, convulsions, facial flushing and swelling, and burning and itching sensations. The most severe poisonings have been reported in infants, who are not able to efficiently break down pyrethroids (ETN, Pyrethroids, 1994). With orally ingested doses, nervous symptoms may occur, which include excitation and convulsions leading to paralysis, accompanied by muscular fibrillation and diarrhea (ETN, Pyrethroids, 1994). Death in these cases is due to respiratory failure. Symptoms of acute exposure last about 2 days. Many pyrethroids have also been linked to disruption of the endocrine system, which can adversely affect reproduction and sexual development, interfere with the immune system and increase chances of breast cancer.
Kerry: Wow, very scary indeed. Have you spoken to any of your customers who have experienced any negative reactions to former pyrethroid pest control?
Lance: Yes. Just in the last summer alone we had a few customers switch over to our service from another service because of problems with their pets after another pest or lawn company had treated their property. One family lost their brand new puppy after their pest control company sprayed. It was confirmed by the vet that it was due to pesticide poisoning. Another family's cat started to have involuntary twitches after their lawn company treated for bugs. Most of the pyrethroid products contain neurotoxins, which attack the nervous system and can cause such nervous twitches.
Kerry: So I don’t want everyone freaking out when they read this wondering if their children or animals are being poisoned—everyone needs to do some research on their own and decide what they are comfortable with, but, what are some questions that the average homeowner can ask to see what their pest control company is using?
Lance: Of course. If you want a quick response, you can just request the MSDS label from them or just ask them the name of the product they use. You can also check the invoice from the service. Invoices generally contain a chemical sheet, which tell you the products and amounts used on the property. You can then simply look up those products online to do a little research. Simply asking “What types of products do you use on my property?” will usually produce a response of “our products are pet and people friendly” or “our products are environmentally responsible.” Pushing beyond that, a customer will get a response similar to “they are derivatives from the Chrysanthemum flower.” At that point, you will know they are using pyrethroids, which are synthetic derivatives from pyrethrums like the Chrysanthemum flower instead of more natural products like they make them sound like at first.
Kerry: Thanks, that’s great. Does using a natural pest control service like Seagull Pest Control cost more? Do customers need more or less treatments than the competition?
Lance: Some companies charge less than us and some charge more. Even though our products cost more than the normal chemicals that our competition uses, we have positioned ourselves to remain price competitive. That way people who want a healthier alternative don’t have to pay two to three times as much as they would with a company with the traditional chemicals. We’re trying to provide a healthier alternative for people and their environment and to cut down on the millions of pounds of chemicals used each year, so we figured it wouldn’t make sense to price it so high that only a small percentage of people would be able to take advantage of it. As far as needing more or less treatments, it depends on the location of the property and the amount of preventative pest control customers do on their own. Homes located near open fields, big trees, and ravines are more likely to need more treatments than homes in younger neighborhoods. It’s the same with homes that have a lot of ivy, bushes, and other vegetation, especially near the home. For these reasons and because different bugs come out at different times of the year, changing seasons and fluctuating weather change the bug activity, it is a process to eradicate and control pest problems and to keep them from getting above the comfort threshold of most customers. We, therefore, recommend a bi-monthly service plan, where we come by for a full treatment approximately every 60 days. Because of the differing factors listed above, we have a warranty; we will come by for free between the regularly scheduled visits if the pest problems persist.
Kerry: Lance, thanks so much for taking the time to share your expertise in natural pest control. For more information we invite our readers to check out the Seagull Pest Control website. Maybe we can talk again sometime about some simple ways to deter pests from getting in our homes in the first place?
Lance: Thanks for your time, Kerry. I think that would be a great topic to tackle next time. What we’ve found is it is a cooperative effort between a pest exterminator and a home owner to really get rid of pests in the long run. I mentioned some factors that make it easy for pest populations to thrive on a property and next time we can talk about what homeowners can do around the house and in the yard to help supplement the pest treatments they are receiving from their pest control providers.