Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Pacific Northwest Pest Control Conference

Kurt and Diana Treftz of Cascade Pest Control attended the Pacific Northwest Pest Managment Associations annual conference, April 2008.

This years speakers included Joanne Tank of Buffalo Exterminating, Jeff Smith of Univar USA, Herb Field of Lloyd Pest Control, Michael Rottler, president of Rottler Pest and Lawn Solutions of St Louis, MO and Linden Griffin, president of Griffin Pest Solutions, Inc.

This years main focus of interest was "green" pest control. What it means, how it works, what materials can be used for it, what elements can we as pest control companies in the northwest incorporate.

In one session Diana Treftz commented that she believes that it matters not so much how we as an industry define it, but more importantly, how does each and every one of our clients define it. Each and every persons definition is different. She said that her company trains their employees to explore what the clients understanding is and that to answer their concerns they must first understand their definitions of the terms.

Jeff Smith of Univar USA stressed that if our clients ask for "green products only" discuss it with them to find out exactly what their meaning is, and what products and practices are acceptable to them. Their concept likely differs slightly from other clients and from what we in the industry understand it to be.

Different states have created different "green list" definitions of pesticides:

Huge fallacy: many people including legislators believe that "natural pesticides" are better than organics. However, as we know there are many people who are allergic to natural substances used in pesticides and not allergic to those same substances synthetic cousins. Also, the "natural" insecticide pyrethrum, if sprayed to control aphids on landscape plants also kills all other insects contacted... is this green? While Merit 75, a "synthetic" insecticide, applied to the soil around trees and shrubs is taken into the foliage to kill ONLY those insects feeding on the plant. It has no effect on other organisms on that plant.

So much to educate the public about. So much confusion and misunderstanding often driven by fear..and not knowldege. Organic, natural pesticide is not always better than synthetic. Some common "Natural" pesticides affect insects (and other animals ) in ways identical to synthestic pesticides. AND...Nearly all of them are "neurotoxins". From the Unicersity of Georgia-The Bugwood Network....
The source of a chemical (synthetic vs natural) is irrelevant when considering its toxicity.
Organisms cannot differentiate between "natural" and "synthetic" chemicals
Mode of action, not source, is the concern of toxicologists and " informed" users of pesticides.
Theophrastus Phillippus Aureolus Bombastus von Hohenheim, a Swiss physician and alchemist, father of modern toxicology once said: "The right dose differentiates a poison from a remedy" (the dose makes the poison)

Other items of interest.

in my opinion, best business tip was given by Joanna Tank of Buffalo Extermination.
She has years of banking experience and showed a 5 year comparison of Profit and Loss statement. Her belief is that 2 year comparison is definitely not enough. Having done two year comparisons at Cascade Pest Control for many years I can see the great advantage of going back another 3 years. This way we can tell if a change in percentage of cost is a one time event or a pattern that has developed.

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