SUSTAINABLE PEST MANAGEMENT & GREEN CONSTRUCTION
We all want a healthier environment; organic foods, natural products, better air quality, clean water and fewer pesticides. No wonder many ask us if and how can pests be eliminated without using harmful pesticides.
Along with green construction, sustainable pest control is achievable but does require a new way of thinking, planning and building. It also means a little more maintenance and using low-impact products and ecologically sound materials when necessary. In other words: “Working with nature rather than fighting it.”
Green Construction: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Consult first with your architect, contractor and pest control operator to avoid creating or leaving existing conditions that lead to infestations.
- Good drainage in and around structures to prevent moisture intrusion and water pooling in crawl spaces
- Moisture membranes and concrete soil covers to keep sub-areas dry, clean and unwelcoming to pests
- Sufficient Ventilation in enclosed areas to prevent stagnant and unhealthy air leading to mildew and mold
- Adequate elevation and grading away from the structure to prevent earth-wood contacts and faulty grades
- Ample roof overhangs, flashings, gutters, downspouts and drain lines to prevent leaks and deterioration
- Proper flashing and joints around exterior doors, windows, siding and trim to prevent moisture intrusion
- Borate based pre-treatment (Bora-Care or Tim-Bor) of exposed wood and foundations before enclosures
- Complying with and exceeding state and local building ordinances for a healthier and safer home
Sustainable Maintenance: “Use nature’s lessons and allies to your advantage”. Once completed discourage nature’s invaders and maintain the structure and its surroundings inhospitable to pests.
- Maintain the structure’s exterior siding and trim sealed, painted and watertight.
- Keep and trim vines, trees, shrubs and vegetation away to promote air movement and a dry environment
- Don’t pile, store, build or lay material, plants or added buildings against the exterior of the structure
- Keep sprinklers and other irrigation systems from watering against or near the structure.
- Don’t add planter beds, stone facia, brick veneer or raise soil grade against the exterior siding
- Keep ventilators unobstructed to promote air movement and replace torn ones to keep rodents out
- Clean and clear roofs, gutters, downspouts and drain lines, particularly during winter and spring
- Have your sump pumps, drain lines and plumbing checked and serviced to prevent leaks and moisture
- Keep all areas dry and clean to discourage common pests (ants, flies, beetles, fleas, termites, etc.)
- Know friends and chase away foes: Spiders, birds, lizards, and some beetles are all pest predators
- Use non-toxic traps or repellents to avoid secondary wildlife poisoning (e.g. birds of pray and reptiles)
- When using retail available products, always follow the label never exceeding recommendations
- Consult with a licensed professional before adding, remodeling or modifying any improvements
- Call to get a periodic pest inspection by a State Licensed Professional to discover infestations early
Low Impact Pest Control: Nature is tenacious and in spite of the above recommendations it may still find ways to infest. Gone are the days of creosote, chlordane and such other pesticides that were common around homes. Decades of public awareness, research and development have lead to more target specific and safer products eliminating pests without affecting occupants, the local ecosystem or surrounding environment.