Green is in, even in a business like pest control. Although my company, Earth Guard Pest Management, offers a full arsenal of pest control services, by far the majority of calls we receive these days are from customers asking about “green” or environmentally friendly pest control solutions. It’s an encouraging sign for the future of our planet that so many consumers are concerned about the environment and want to make changes in their day-to-day lives.

Our environmental roots run deep at Earth Guard, so we’re glad to see our neighbors and communities embracing a greener way of life. We started out as a “green” termite pre-construction treatment business before branching out into other areas of pest control. Today, we’re proud to be EcoWise© certified, a third-party certification program created and funded by several Northern California government agencies and environmental organizations.

But as we begin to educate our customers about what “green” pest control really is, they often are surprised by what they learn:

1) It costs more. Typically “green” pest management solutions carry a higher price tag, for the simple reason that they are more labor-intensive and time-consuming than traditional pest control methods. For example, green services may include placement and periodic checking of monitoring stations or glue traps. Typically, green pest control methods add 10 to 20 percent to the cost of treating a home or commercial site. On the other hand, many “green” techniques, such as pre-construction wood treatment or proper sealing of a home can result in cost savings over the long run.

2) It’s more than simply using an environmentally safer product. While scores of new green products are coming on the market every day, there’s more to green pest control than that stuff coming out of your sprayer. Green means using an entire arsenal of techniques together, from sealing or screening to prevent invasions to carefully targeted applications of the safest and most effective products.

3) The customer has to do his or her part. Traditionally, the customer has picked up the phone, called his local exterminator, and said, “Take care of it.” True green pest management depends on the customer to ensure foods and other attractants are stored properly; that vents, electrical conduits, windows and doors are properly sealed; that basements and crawlspaces are kept moisture free.

Truly green pest control means protecting your home or property most effectively with the least possible impact to the environment. We’re excited about our customers’ interest in green and about the pest control industry’s continued commitment to professionalism, effectiveness and integrity.