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Pesticide-free Pest Control

April 14, 2011
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There is both extensive public concern about excessive use of pesticides in the United States and widespread academic interest in the threats posed by increasing pesticide resistance among insect pests.

With one survey indicating that 31 percent of U.S. consumers wanted the government to ban pesticides completely, there is clearly a need throughout the nation for technologies capable of controlling pests effectively without the use of pesticides.

At the 2010 ISSA/INTERCLEAN North America trade show, interest in new products in this category was keen, particularly where systems were designed to tackle the increasing bedbug problem, which has become a serious issue throughout the U.S., particularly in large metropolitan areas like New York and Philadelphia.

Spot Them Early

Bedbug populations grow extremely quickly and, once they take hold within an area, they become almost impossible to eliminate completely.

Identifying bedbug infestations early means that they are easier and less expensive to deal with.

Bedbugs are small, largely nocturnal and hide in crevices and hard-to-spot places; they are extremely difficult to detect and are often not reported until they are well entrenched.

One new two-part system takes the bedbugs'' own behavior and uses it against the pest.

The active part of the system proactively attracts bedbugs by simulating a human host''s warmth and respiration, which bedbugs use to identify their human prey.

A chemical-free replaceable activator, when opened, generates heat and moisture for up to 10 hours, attracting bedbugs that are looking for a blood meal.

On the inside of the base is a layer of adhesive, making for easy inspection of the catch.

The bugs are able to get in easily, but have no way out.

The second part of the system is a 24/7 bedbug detector that is placed discreetly behind or near to the headboard of the bed.

It provides bedbugs with the perfect harborage following a blood meal.

The presence of bedbugs is monitored by checking the plain white band around the detector for blood spots — a sure sign of bedbug activity.

Working best when used together, the two devices provide a vital advantage in detecting bedbugs early.

Daily checks are easily integrated into the regular housekeeping regime, particularly in hotels and motels — where bedbugs are a major problem — to ensure a proactive stance against the bugs.

Another solution is a completely chemical-free and pesticide-free system to eliminate bedbugs that are hiding in mattresses, bedclothes, electrical items, clothes and other sensitive items.

The system works using the proven technique of oxygen depletion.

Items to be treated are placed in a specially designed bag with activators and the bag is sealed.

The chemical-free activators remove the oxygen from the bag and kill any bedbugs on the items in the bag.

This is an extremely effective way of treating expensive goods, saving the unnecessary waste of money usually incurred by throwing them away after infestation.

Rodent Threats

The key danger of rats and mice is disease.

Food contaminated with rodent feces can cause food poisoning; rat urine can cause leptospirosis, which attacks liver function.

Hantavirus, a rodent-carried virus, causes severe respiratory diseases in humans and sometimes death.

Simply sweeping an area that has rodent feces among the dust on the floor while not wearing a mask can cause cleaners to catch dangerous viral diseases.

All cleaning businesses, whether in-house or outside contractors, should ensure that staff are fully protected.

One of the most innovative solutions to rodent infestation is a pest station with sensors, an electronic technology that identifies when rodents are on the move in a customer''s premises and calls out the pest controllers to deal with them.

The sensors send a text message or an e-mail from the customer''s premises to the pest controller when triggered by any pest activity.

Before the customer — or the rodents — know about it, the pest control professional is taking care of the problem.

This is an important advance for the pest control industry because it means that, instead of making speculative biweekly inspections to find signs of rodents, pest control professionals can wait until they get an e-mail or text message triggered by the rodents, allowing them to provide a more targeted and efficient rodent control service.

They also use fewer toxic chemicals because the system tells them where the rodents are.

The system is easily installed and activated with no plugs, no wiring and no batteries.

It provides constant monitoring of all critical areas with no limits to coverage and real-time alerts to give the customer confidence in the priority response and treatment.

Alert data is automatically held on a Structured Query Language (SQL) database for transfer to the client''s on-site reporting system or via the Internet to remote systems for review of hot spots or trends analysis.

The system is compatible with Google Maps for immediate site identification and provides complete proof of service and response records for full Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) compliance.

Insect Control In The Spotlight

Various new devices expand the capabilities of the established ultraviolet A (UVA) insect light trap technologies and make their presence in restaurants, retail food stores and fast food outlets less obvious.

Consumers are increasingly aware that food safety and food protection regulations in many states have been tightened in response to this.

Increased ability to control insect infestations without the use of pesticides is the key to reducing the problem and improving public health.

Another new design uses patented translucent technology to provide a wider spread of UVA light and attract flying insects from a greater area, providing a significantly increased catch rate.

There is one variation of a light trap that seizes hard-to-catch fruit flies.

An optional all-new integral ultraviolet C (UVC) lamp — the first of its kind — can even provide protection from airborne pathogens carried by insects caught.

Jonathan Kitto is the marketing manager at Brandenburg Ltd., the world''s leading manufacturer of insect light traps. Brandenburg, a company based in England, is currently establishing a new facility in the U.S. and researching new ways to control pests without pesticides. For more information on Brandenburg''s new products that were exhibited at the 2010 ISSA/INTERCLEAN North America trade show and are referred to in this article, go to or e-mail

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