All Creatures Great and Small

Question !

Question! If you had four glasses of liquid in front of you and one glass was filled with a highly toxic liquid, one with a moderately toxic liquid, one with a least toxic liquid and one filled with a non-toxic liquid, which one would you drink? I think that is an easy question. Another question! If you have pests you want to control, which pesticide would you prefer to have your family and pets exposed to, highly toxic pesticides (Danger label), moderately toxic pesticides (Warning label), least toxic pesticides (Caution label) or non-toxic pesticides (EPA Exempt)? The answer should be the same as the first question, but almost every pest control company uses moderately toxic or least toxic pesticides in and around homes and very few, if any use non-toxic pesticides.

I am posting this because it is important if you have children or if you are pregnant or plan on having a family. How dangerous are pesticides that we routinely use in our homes, schools, businesses, medical facilities and other places? Pesticides commonly used in homes and outside can be very hazardous. Synthetic pesticides, which are used by many pest control companies can cause pregnant women to have autistic children and can cause children to develop serious problems. Children are three to seven times more likely to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma when exposed to pesticides than children who are not exposed. They are also more likely to develop leukemia than children who are not exposed.

Pesticide exposure has been linked to fetal death, miscarriages, long term infertility, male infertility and brain damage during pregnancy. A study has shown that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) may be caused by damage to neurotransmitters in the frontal lobe of the brain by pesticides. Parkinson’s disease has been associated with pesticides and other environmental toxins according to some epidemiological studies.

Active ingredients are the only components of the pesticide listed on the label. These are the chemicals that kill and repel the pests. Active ingredients also contain synergists, such as piperonyl butoxide (PBO) to help the pesticide work more effectively. Piperonyl butoxide, a very commonly used synergist, can be toxic to the liver and is a possible human carcinogen. Pesticides that contain pyrethrin and pyrethroids are pesticide products that most often use piperonyl butoxide.

The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) only requires manufacturers to list the active ingredients on the label. They allow the “inert” ingredients to be a trade secret leaving the consumer and the applicator unaware of the possible danger they are exposed to. Many inert ingredients are considered to be “hazardous pollutants”, “extremely hazardous”, “suspected carcinogens” and “occupational hazards.”

You have better options. You can require the pest control company to only use EPA Exempt pesticides, which are considered safe by the EPA and are not registered with a Signal Word (Caution, Warning, Danger). Caution may be the least toxic pesticide, but it is still toxic. Not everyone is affected by toxic pesticides, but some people certainly are and why take the chance. Another option is to require the pest company to follow the Precautionary Principle Philosophy, which basically states that pesticides can only be used if a pest infestation is present, and cannot be generically sprayed in and around your home on a regular basis. Also, have the pest control company sign an agreement that their pesticide is safe, and that they will be financially responsible for all medical and veterinary bills that may occur because of the pesticides.

Your best option is to control any pests you have yourself. In the majority of cases, you can do this without using toxic pesticides and spending a lot of money. In most cases you can control Cockroaches (beer and duct tape), Ants (peanut butter and jelly, grits, Coca Cola), Earwigs (newspaper). Silverfish (baby food jars and flour) Paper wasps (brown paper bags, Avon Skin so Soft), Bed bugs (alcohol, water & dish soap, hair dryer), Head lice (salt water, hair dryer), Fungus gnats (aquarium gravel), Fruit flies (vinegar) Carpet beetles (dirty socks and cheese), Spiders (peppermint essential oil) and almost all pests (alcohol, water and dish soap). There are many others and there are exceptions including termites. But for the most part you can control pests safely and effectively.

If you have a pest problem of any kind, I will help you solve it without recommending synthetic pesticides. Just tell me what the pest is if you know it, where it is in your house or business and what it is doing. If you are not sure what it is, you may need to send me some samples. I can identify any household pest in North America. Once it is known, I will tell you what, if anything, you need to control it, how to apply it and what you need to do to prevent a re-infestation. I will help you online with any pest problems you have and I will send you a handbook that covers non-toxic pest management. You can email me the information at or message me on FB. You can also visit my website at

If you need to send me some bugs to identify, my mailing address is 7595 Faith Rd., Las Cruces, NM 88012. Please put the pest samples in small plastic containers or vials with some cotton and pack them in a bubble envelope so they don’t get smashed by the postal process. This offer is good anywhere in the United States. How much do I charge? Money is tight with many so you can pay whatever the information is worth to you. Contributions are certainly welcome in any amount. The fee for commercial businesses will be negotiable but will be a fraction what you pay a pest control company. If you have termites or some other wood destroying insect, then you need a professional. I can recommend excellent companies in some areas. There are very rare instances where you may need a professional for household pests and again, I can either recommend someone or tell you how to pick one. However, in 99% of the cases, homeowners and business owners can do their own pest control. There is no reason to endanger your family, your pets or your customers and employees if you are a business owner, with the wholesale spraying of pesticides. I will be glad to help. We need to reduce, and hopefully, eliminate pesticides in society.


About askthebugman

I have been in the pest management industry for over 40 years. In that time I have used almost every pesticide available to control so-called “pests”. With this experience, I have learned over the years that the pesticides we use are far more dangerous than the pests we are trying to control. As a result, it has become a passion for me to improve the quality of life for humans and the planet, by assisting people to not only become more educated and aware of their environment – but also by learning to manage their home and business with a sustainable and healthier approach to tending to unwanted infestations of bugs. Please enjoy my blog posts, check out my publications, utilize my services, or simply stay in touch if you have a bug question…


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