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Why You Should Avoid Pesticides When Treating an Infestation

By on Jan 06, 2014

Pesticides have long been used to treat residential, commercial, and agriculture pests around the globe. These toxic substances can be very effective in treating and preventing pests, but an ever-mounting body of evidence on their harmful side effects has raised much concern in both pest management professionals and environmentalists alike.

The problem with pesticides is they are extremely potent and effective, meaning they kill or harm everything they come into contact with. You may be trying to eliminate an ant problem, but the chemicals contained in the pesticide may end up affecting the health of your family and pets. Extensive use of pesticide can also have detrimental effects on the environment and natural biological-diversity that is necessary to sustain human life.

If you have an infestation in your home, here are some key reasons why you should seek natural alternatives to pest control, in order to keep your family safe and avoid harming the environment.


Pesticides, Toxic to Humans

When you or a pest control professional use pesticides to treat an infestation in your home, leftover chemical residue can remain on countertops and other highly-used surfaces. If your family or pets come in contact with these chemicals, the risk of acute poisoning increases, causing severe health disorders, including seizures, rashes, and gastrointestinal illnesses. Worse yet, high levels of pesticides can also lead to cancer in humans, as well as adverse reproductive outcomes. Be extra wary of using pesticides if children or elderly live in your home, as they are more sensitive to pesticide exposure and can be more adversely affected.

Environmental Impact

Pesticides used in pest control are designed to kill but, unfortunately, they are often too good at their job. Whether they are used indoors or out on a field, when they enter the soil or are washed into nearby rivers and creeks, they can wreck havoc on the environment, threatening biodiversity and weakening the natural systems that human survival depends upon.

For example, honey bees have been disappearing and dying at alarming rates throughout Canada, and many blame neonicotinoidsfor the millions of deaths. Without bees, nearly a third of the food we eat will no longer be available, since crop plants and fruit trees will no longer be pollinated efficiently. The problem is all the more serious when we realize that this drop in population is not happening with honey bees only: bats, frogs, and an array of wildlife are also being killed and seriously affected by pesticides entering their natural habitat.

Developing Resistance to Pesticides

If you use chemical-based pesticides to treat an infestation in your home, chances are it will only serve as a temporary solution. The more you use chemicals on invasive insects and rodents, the more resistant they become to the treatment. What may have worked for you this year to eliminate pests may be nothing more than a minor setback for next year’s infestation, because they will have developed a natural resistance to the chemicals by then. Using natural pest management treatments like live traps, exclusion from the structure, and other integrated pest management principles can keep insects and rodents out of your home naturally, without allowing them to build a natural resistance to the treatment.


Using pesticides to control and prevent an infestation may be effective, but their long-term effects can create a problem far worse than their benefits. Utilizing natural pest control solutions can be just as effective at treating pests, but without the harmful side effects that chemical-based pesticides provide.

If you have an infestation on your residential or commercial property and are planning on seeking professional help, make sure the pest control professionals you hire utilize the most environmentally-friendly treatment solutions possible. There is a growing number of eco-friendly pest control companies on the market that not only treat infestations while minimizing the use of pesticides, but will also provide you the knowledge and support you need to keep pests from returning in the future.

About the Author:

Daniel Mackie, co-owner of Greenleaf Pest Control, is a Toronto pest control expert well-known as an industry go-to guy, an innovator of safe, effective pest control solutions, and is a regular guest on HGTV. Mackie, along with business partner Sandy Costa, were the first pest control professionals in Canada to use detection dogs and thermal remediation for the successful eradication of bed bugs. In his free time, he is an avid gardener.

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