Last week I wrote about How to Protect Fido from Ticks. I received a lot of direct inquires about why organic tick control is a better method than traditional technical material. Here’s a detailed breakdown of the differences.
Why organic pesticides-tick sprays in particular-over traditional sprays?
The technical material which has been available to all pesticide applicators for the past decade for residential tick sprays is called Bifrenthrin-a pyrethroid insecticide. This is what commercial applicators and companies have used to kill ticks on your property the non-organic way for over a decade, and this is certainly one way. Is it effective and does it do the job? Absolutely! Is it cost effective? Absolutely! What else does it do though? It leaves an unpleasant odor, causes you and your pets to stay off your lawn for 24 hours (hence the little yellow lawn signs when the applicator leaves) and leaves no where for Fido to “go” or the kids to play. Bifenthrin is highly toxic to fish and small aquatic organisms. It’s also very highly toxic to bees.
And what about what it can do to Fido? According to the National Pesticide Institute “Exposed pets may experience single-episode vomiting or diarrhea, reduced activity, twitching of the ear, paw flicking and increased drooling. Other signs can include hyperactivity followed by incoordination with diarrhea, depression, and dilated pupils. Some veterinarians have reported additional signs such as chewing, head bobbing, partial paralysis, and tremors.” It’s no wonder that people with dogs and roaming pets likes horses demand organic sprays.
Bifenthrin uses insecticides to kill. Further, with only 10 years of laboratory results on file, how do we know that it isn’t affecting people long term? What guarantee is there in 15 years that we won’t find out that memories and health of human hasn’t been compromised? There is none. The U.S. EPA classifies Bifenthrin as a possible human carcinogen.
If you’re not hiring a commercial applicator for your tick problem (and if you live in Connecticut you do have one) then you are hitting the big box stores to buy Sevin. Sevin is a carbonate class of pesticides; in lay mans terms it is toxic to humans, pets and bugs. It is cheap and widely used to control insects in and around the home. Cats are the household pet most sensitive to Sevin followed by dogs when tested by the EPA.
The average one acre lot will use 100 gallon of material whether it is organic or traditional. Given the choice of spraying 100 gallons of organic material versus 100 gallon of traditional technical material-what do you choose? And what is your doctor and nutritionist choosing? Where do the majority of customers who contact organic IPM businesses come from? The referrals come in from doctors, mothers groups for autistic children, veterinarians and educated homeowners who are health and environmentally conscious.
I’m excited the talk of organic pesticides is out there, there is zero reason to choose between toxic chemicals coming into contact with your children & pets versus catching a tick disease.