When ants invade, many homeowners take a big step and hire a professional pest control operator to get rid of the pests fast. However, new regulations from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) mean pest control companies will be following an updated set of guidelines governing their work.
The new regulations restrict the use of 17 pesticides by businesses that apply these pesticides to homes, other structures and landscaped areas. The regulations decrease the amount of pesticides used around structures in perimeter spraying and specifically prohibit pest control applicators and maintenance gardeners from applying pesticides when it rains, when puddles are present and over drains or natural drainage areas, according to DPR.
Why the new rules? Because runoff from homes and yards to storm drains is a documented source of water pollution. Spraying pesticides around the foundations of homes is a major cause of this runoff pollution. In fact, monitoring data from the California Water Boards indicates widespread pyrethroid pollution in suburban and urban waterways throughout the state; pyrethroids are a commonly used type of pesticide.
“Perimeter spraying of potentially harmful pesticides is a cause of water pollution,” explains Geoff Brosseau, executive director of the Bay Area Stormwater Management Agencies Association (BASMAA), a regional consortium of stormwater agencies committed to reducing water pollution. “These new regulations will be instrumental is helping to decrease stormwater pollution in the region.”
DPR Director Brian R. Leahy called the new regulations a “milestone” because they will protect surface water from structural pesticide use. “The pest control businesses already following these practices voluntarily have found they can effectively treat for ants and other structural and landscape pests. We are confident the regulations will significantly improve the water quality of urban area runoff.”
“BASMAA applauds the Department of Pesticide Regulation for enacting these new rules, and we encourage people to go a step further and choose one of the several pest control operators in the Bay Area who are certified in less toxic, integrated pest management (IPM) methods,” says Brosseau.
While traditional methods of pest control usually only involve periodic application of pesticides, IPM certified contractors are taught to look for the sources of pests.
IPM includes is a decision-making process that guides pest managers toward efficient, effective, and sustainable pest management that emphasizes pest prevention, use of non-chemical methods and has minimal impact on stormwater runoff, people, and the surrounding environment.
To find lists of pest control operators in the Bay Area who are certified in less-toxic integrated pest management or for more information on less toxic pest control, visit BayWise.org.