Sustainable Pest Management

By Arthur Weissman President and CEO, Green Seal, Inc. | October 28, 2008

Almost every property has to deal with pests in some way. The environmentally preferred way is through Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which is offered by some major hotel service providers. This article will describe the fundamentals of IPM and what to specify from your service provider.

What's the Problem?

Every property has to control pests such as insects or rodents, but you want to do so in a way that doesn't compromise the health and aesthetic quality of the environment you create for the benefit of your guests. In particular, the concern is that potent, toxic chemical pesticides may very well eliminate a pest problem but create a human health or environmental problem. Having your guests become ill - or suspect that they may - is not a good alternative to their finding a roach in their rooms. On the other hand, you want to ensure that pests are not part of your guest experience, so you must find an effective as well as safe way of controlling or eliminating them.

Principles of IPM

IPM is fundamentally a systematic approach to pest management that considers a number of factors before or instead of just applying conventional chemical pesticides. Key is to understand the cause of the pest problem and to use prevention to control the problem over widespread chemical eradication.

Human factors that may invite pests are first considered along with the particular behavior of the pest species involved. Then preventive measures such as behavior control, physical or mechanical barriers or traps, or biological agents (such as pest pathogens or predators) are applied (in that order) to eliminate or sufficiently control the problem. Only as a last resort, if these do not work, are chemical agents applied, and then the "soft" ones (such as repellants or growth regulators) are tried before the more toxic exterminating kind.

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