BPCA news archive

23 February 2018

Green pest control - Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

Smarter pest control | PestAware

For many premises managers, a proactive pest management strategy is low down the list of business priorities. But when selecting a pest control contract, care should be given to specify a contractor that can prevent pests rather than cure their effects and can do this using the minimum of chemicals.

Minimal use of pesticides

When a site embraces the need for proactive pest control and is working towards pesticide-free pest control at that, many pest problems can be stopped in their tracks. Some may not even see the light of day.

Green pest control might range from a firm claiming to spray fewer pesticides to one that will use every possible alternative to chemicals including heating, freezing, and deep cleaning.

The difference between these approaches is the point at which chemicals are used. At one end of the spectrum chemicals are used at an early stage, at the other they are the very last port of call.

Integrated Pest Management

BPCA’s members practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM). This is a sustainable approach to managing pests by combining biological, cultural, physical and chemical tools in a way that minimises economic, health, and environmental risks.

IPM has been around for thousands of years and started when man first became an agrarian society. It protects people and food as well as the environment.

Professional pest controllers use the minimum amount of pesticides wherever possible, using other means to limit the pest population through their understanding of the biology and habits of pest species, emphasizing control, not eradication.

Experienced pest control teams know how important it is to protect their premises, their staff and members of the public from unwanted pests. That’s why every facility needs a pest control policy based on prevention and monitoring with minimum reliance on chemical treatments.

Ralph Izod, Managing Director, Dyno-Pest

The alternative treatments administered include targeted measures such as heat treatments, new generation insecticide gels, pheromone lures and pesticide free materials in preference to the more traditional insecticidal spray treatments that are often dispersed over a wide area.

Routinely placed rodent bait boxes full of toxic bait must be replaced by non-toxic monitoring stations which pick up the earliest signs of an infestation. This is a legal requirement via the product registration process for rodenticides (Biocidal Product Regulations).

IPM control measure

Where possible it’s preferable to control rodents before they even enter the building by protecting the perimeter. Recently it has also become possible to control mice almost invisibly by using specialist bait stations that control rodents within the walls of a building before they become active within open areas.

Why should your pest control contractor be green?

But what is the business case for 'green' pest control? Apart from saving your business money by preventing infestation, contractors who practice IPM will also work with you to change the culture of your organisation, helping all your employees to change behaviours and thus make your premises less attractive to pests.

Site managers should not overlook the importance of implementing simple but effective pest prevention measures including finding and proofing possible pest entry points into the property such as holes around pipes, weep joints and air vents, installing fly screens, and having electronic fly killers in catering areas and front-of-house.

An infestation could have its origins in a delivery or even brought in by unsuspecting staff or visitors – pests can be adept at hitch-hiking. Therefore staff should be vigilant, especially when checking incoming deliveries and look for evidence of pests.

 Go green with your pest control

One area of concern is the rise in the number of sites reporting bed bugs, which might surprise many people who associate this pest with houses and cheap hotels.

Visitors and staff are unwittingly bringing them into the building, attached to their clothes or other personal belongings. However, if members of staff know how to spot the earliest signs of a bed bug infestation and crucially where to look for bed bugs, the problem can be contained with professionally delivered chemical-free heat treatment.

When chemicals become the last resort, IPM calls for their use at lowest possible concentrations and in the most targeted method possible. Baiting for cockroaches, who then who carry the bait in their bodies for other cockroaches to consume, is far preferable to spraying. Similarly, monitoring pest movement to place poisons where there is most activity significantly reduces chemical usage – ie the sniper approach rather than the shotgun.

Working dogs can also be used for detecting the early signs of bed bug infestations. This acute sense of canine smell that is widely used within the police force has also been adapted for pest controllers to use for sniffing out those hard to find bed bugs.

Working together to be pest free

One significant issue to note: IPM will not work without the active involvement of both the pest control contractor and the client. If the client carries out the relevant cleaning, proofing and other measures, control of infestation is established faster, more efficiently and with less risk.

In my experience, the main reason for failure in controlling an infestation is lack of client awareness of their responsibilities. Many building owners assume they simply hire a contractor to deal with the problem, but change must come from within as well.

Dee Ward Thompson, BPCA Technical Manager

BPCA offer a staff awareness training course which can be delivered at your workplace or online and may be a real cost saving benefit to you and your staff team.

Fundamentally for any site, sustainable pest control has to be assigned a much higher level of importance and should be included in the specification in order to prevent infestation while delivering cost-effective integrated pest management, to the benefit of both the planet and the bottom line.

Six green pest control methods

1. Physical control

The number one most efficient pest control procedure is to keep the pests out in the first place. By fitting bristle strip brushes, using cement and expanding foam with wire mesh, one London hospital was able to drastically reduce its rodent problem and improve heating efficiency policies and targets.

We also fitted numerous strip curtain doors which reduced flying insect ingress, and dramatically reduced heat loss, saving the Trust thousands of pounds each year.

David Lodge, Beaver Pest Control

However, if a pest gets in, removing food and water sources is essential.

2) External Proofing

One building has paid a pest controller to install bird spike, while the neighbour has chosen to go without.

Preserving the exterior of a site while proofing it from pest birds is now possible with low impact highly effective bird control treatments such as fire gel, trapping and electronic deterrent systems, bristle brushes, even discreet netting.

A combination of leaves and bird guano can quickly block gutters and downpipes, resulting in overflows which damage walls and may cause months of closure of an area for remedial work.

3) Electronic measures

Electronic fly killers in a warehouse

Flies within a property can be controlled using electrical fly killer units which also which mimic a light fitting and so can be used front-of-house.

4) Non-toxic treatments

While it may seem oxymoronic, pest controllers can use non-toxic dusts to kill insects. These work by acting as a desiccant, and are particularly effective when used in partition walls to limit insect growth.

The use of non-toxic monitoring blocks

Rodents can be controlled using catch traps. In certain limited cases, professionals will even use glue boards to catch rodents or insects.

5) Pheromone control

Predominately used for moths, this modern sustainable and chemical-free method of intelligent pest management causes a significant measurable reduction in pest moth populations. The treatment protects round-the-clock from the risk of damage caused by the five common species of moth.

6) Heat and cold

Used primarily for bed bugs, the treatments are also effective against a range of crawling pests.

Done properly, full control can be achieved with a single treatment as it kills every stage of the insect life cycle (adults, larvae, pupae, and eggs), but make sure your heat treatment company is fully trained. 

How do I find a green pest controller?


BPCA helps thousands of individuals and businesses find a trusted pest control contractor every year.

Our find a pest controller tool has an option for non-chemical pest control, so if you’d like to go green with your pest control contractor - it’s never been easier.

You can find one of our members using our Find a pest controller tool or by calling 01332 294 288.

Source: PestAware