A History of Pest Management: Looking to the Future
Most of the time when one pictures a green alternative, we just imagine an environmentally friendly version of a product that already exists, like household cleaners made with plant oils instead of bleach. While the pest control industry does have its own version of this two-sided coin, as previously discussed, they are also branching out further than just ingredient changes within the pesticides themselves. There has been a movement towards biological pest control, meaning treatments using organisms such as nematodes, and wasps, to name just a few. This is a replication of the generally low-impact treatments that were used in ancient times, before the advent of intensive pesticides like DDT, which caused a movement away from natural checks and towards extensive application of chemical products.
One of the more interesting inventions of the past few years has been the Mosquito-targeting laser system developed by Nathan Myhrvold, founder of Intellectual Ventures Laboratory. Myhrvold and his team created a laser that targets different species of mosquitoes, specifically the female insects that are carriers of Malaria. While the laser appears to be a few years away from use in Africa and other areas in the developing world, it is still a step in the right direction. The laser, and machines like it, can hopefully be used for two purposes: to reduce the need for pesticide-focused control and to provide a constant way to decrease the population.
In short, the future of pest control is shaping up to be cleaner and more concise than the industry has been over the past century. The main tenant of the new pest control technician is to act in a tactical manner, to follow research as it develops, and to change with the times to better serve their customer base.
Mosquitofish fact sheet. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://mda.maryland.gov/plants-pests/Pages/mosquitofish_fact_sheet.aspx
Zetter, K. (2012, February 11). Ted 2010: Death start laser gun zaps mosquitoes dead. Wired, Retrieved from http://www.wired.com/business/2010/02/death-star-laser-zaps-mosqitoes-dead