Natural Borne Killers

Green is gaining momentum in the hospitality industry, encompassing everything from natural cleaning products to ecologically-based design to dedicated energy management. Add pest control to the list, too. Green-conscious hoteliers are looking for effective ways to control pests while protecting the health of their employees, guests and the environment.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an approach to pest control that stresses multiple methods of preventing pests in an environment, versus a reliance on pesticides only. Techniques may comprise the biological (predators or parasites), mechanical (traps or exclusion) or even cultural (focusing on better sanitation to prevent pest-conducive conditions). Pesticides are used only when necessary. IPM has been practiced for 10-20 years or more, and it's pretty much a standard practice, particularly among the larger pest control companies, says Frank Meek, technical director, Orkin. “Most progressive companies are using IPM techniques,” says Meek. “However, the problem in this approach is defining IPM — ask and you'll get a hundred different answers.” At Orkin, it comprises several different methods: inspection, facility layout analysis, pest identification, a customized treatment program, sanitation consultation, treatment strategies and ongoing maintenance and monitoring. Insecticides are still a vital component of pest control, but today applications are done less arbitrarily. “You don't see a technician simply spraying all the baseboards anymore,” says Meek. It's more about prevention and containment.”


Man's best friend has joined the arsenal of weapons in the fight against bedbugs, a particularly invasive and hardy pest. These bed bug buddies are given up to 1,800 hours of training, by the same organizations that train bomb- and drug-sniffing dogs, to ferret out the hiding places of these insidious pests, says Carl Massicott. He's the owner of Advanced K9 Detectives, a bedbug dog-sniffing service based out of Mitford, CT. Massicott has witnessed steadily increased demand for his service. Bed bugs, apparently, provide him a thriving business.

The service works like this: a handler and dog will enter a guestroom and, within a minute, says Massicott, the dog will be able to determine the presence of live bedbugs and/or their eggs. They alert the handler by sitting and pointing a paw or issuing a sharp bark. It's 95-98 percent accurate, claims Massicott. “My dogs never call in sick, they don't ask for a raise and they don't complain,” he says. “The exterminators love us, too. We make their job easier.”

For more info, check out these firms and circle numbers: Advanced K-9 Detectives (50); Orkin (51); Sterifab (52); Terminix (53).

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