Treating in the rain? #whatbugsme
Years ago we were like the mail man. Come rain snow sleet, or shine, we treated outside for the control of creepy crawlies. Take your hand away from your open agasp mouth and ask me why it’s a problem. It’s not. And it never was.
These days if 1 rain drop falls from the sky I am legally prohibited from using most of the weapons in my arsenal. Why is that you ask? The short version, if you have ADD, is that unless it in coming down a monsoon, it doesn’t matter as far as efficacy is concerned. But the laws changed a couple of years ago due to concerns about runoff of chemicals into water ways. Some hippy got their panties in a bunch because there was 1/1000000th of a micro gram of pesticide found in a body of water. I hate to tell you but if you took samples of just about anything including your body, you would find traces of pesticide. Oh lordy the sky is falling!! But wait, there is more to the story. What is a pesticide? ANYTHING that can kill a pest. My boot is often a pesticide, and an effective one at that. You would be horrified to find that chemicals and compounds used in pesticides are used in your food, clothing, and heaven forbid yes… in kids toys. The truth is just because something can be used as a pesticide doesn’t mean if you touch it your head will fall off.
So they find this in the water and here in America fear causes the “ban hammer” to come out. So now we have laws that are supposed to protect our drinking water and make sure itchy algae continues to thrive. The truth is that properly treating your home in any weather condition short of a flood will not contaminate any water source. It’s just silly. Most of the products we use only last 3 months and that is under perfect conditions which rarely exist. On top of that, the amount of active ingredient used to treat your home is tiny. The active ingredient is mixed with… wait for it… WATER in order to apply it. In an even sillier example there are pesticide granules designed to be broadcast around the house and are activated by water. Water Soluble Granule(WSG). The government mandated language on the label states that it cannot be applied “during a rain event”. In the very next sentence it instructs you to “water it in”. When I first read that my head almost exploded. Customers ask if rain will wash it away. No, normal rain will not wash it away because it soaks in very quickly. Now, to be fair, over time, exposure to all the elements degrades the pesticide until it is gone which usually last until it is time for you to see my smiling face again. It is designed that way. You would not want something that lasted forever.
The next question I get is about the rain diluting the treatment to the point of ineffectiveness. Hold on because I’m going to throw some science at you. If I mix 1 oz of a concentrated pesticide in 1 gallon of water and I apply that gallon of solution to your home following all the instructions correctly then it rains adding another gallon to the area I treated, how much concentrate pesticide is left? All of it. The water evaporates and if I used 1 oz of pesticide it matters not whether I mixed it with 1 gal or 2. The same amount of the important stuff is still there. How can you dilute something if there is not a defined container? Sure the whole of the solution contains a lower percentage of pesticide but you drastically changed the ratios. Again, the same amount of the important stuff is still there.
This whole discussion is about runoff. The “all knowing” government says that if it is raining, my treatment will magically flow to the Tennessee River kill a bunch of fish and turn us all to zombies because it got into our drinking water. Consider this, my 1 oz of pesticide in a river of let’s just guess 1 billion gallons of water comes out to be such a small percentage I’m not going to waste the zeroes to figure it out. And that’s if I am an idiot and just pour it over the dock. All of this makes the assumption that my treatments enter bodies of water which it does not.
So, they found the traces in the water, where did it come from? That is the million dollar question which can’t be fully answered. Here is what we do know. Les than 1% of pesticides applied come from the pest control industry. The rest comes from agriculture and most of it comes from YOU! Yes, that’s right, consumers use more pesticides than any one else and they do it all without the benefit of any training or knowledge of the subject past what Aunt Mable told mamma years ago. Even then, barring some dunderhead pouring it in the lake, it still doesn’t get to the water ways. Most of the contamination comes from mass spraying of your food. Freaked out yet? Don’t be, if it weren’t for that you would starve because bugs and disease would decimate the crops causing world wide famine.
Even knowing all of this, the water we drink is supposedly filtered, sanitized, and many other things before it gets back to us. That water used to be pee… just sayin’… Any traces that have ever been found have been very small. On a side note, as we over-sanitize our world we rob our bodies of the opportunity to come into contact with small traces of bad stuff and learn how to fight them off. And don’t forget that no matter what these compounds are used for safely in every day life, if it can be used as a pesticide it goes on the naughty list of public opinion even though keeping the pests away keeps us clean, healthy, and fed every day.
All I want to do is take care of my customers. Sometimes I need to work in bad weather just to get to everybody and there are things I can do in inclimate weather but I find myself with an even bigger opponent, public perception. I’m not going to argue with a customer, if they want me to come back later, OK. I will try to explain reality to them but there is no benefit in pushing for understanding. So the bottom line is I can service your home in the rain or snow but may choose not to depending on what needs to be done to keep you bug free. And I have to follow those pesky laws whether they make sense or not because I like to eat.