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Green Pest Management

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Green Pest Management

Green pest management is a pest control strategy that sets pest action thresholds, monitors pest levels, takes steps to prevent pest problems and uses control methods that are organic (plant based) materials or materials of natural origin. Green pest management is an extension of integrated pest management and is similar in all regards except for the control methods. While both integrated pest management and green pest management choose the least risky pest control material, green pest management uses organic (plant based) materials or materials of natural origin.


Green pest management (GPM) is the natural extension of integrated pest management (IPM). Pest management occurs in three primary arenas, first, the agricultural arena, second, the urban or structural arena and third the turf and ornamental arena. Green Pest Management programs and service providers can be focused on agricultural, structural, turf and ornamental pest control. A GPM service plan follows the foundations of an IPM service plan with the exception of the type of pesticide applied when necessary according to the IPM or GPM plan. GPM service providers (pest control applicators or pest control technicians) use naturally occurring and low risk materials as the primary pest control material instead of a synthetic pesticide when a pesticide is called for as part of an integrated pest management or IPM plan. These may or may not include materials listed on the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI)[1] Pest management at an agricultural setting would include a farm or garden. Pest management at an urban or structural site includes residences, either single or multi-family, apartment houses and condominiums, hospitality such as restaurants and hotels, all types of food processing and manufacturing, warehousing, and industrial sites. Turf and ornamental pest control occurs at recreational sites, such as a lawn, park, playing field or playground, and may include plants for human or animal consumption or plants for utility, such as playing turf, or decorative use, such as a rose garden.

Government regulation

Currently there are no regulations on the use of the term "Green Pest Control". Indeed, any pest control company could advertise a "Green Pest Control Service". Efforts to move toward a standard are being made by the pest control industry. Consumer should beware that the term green pest control is still too vague to carry much weight. The terms environmentally friendly and organic are regulated terms within the pest control industry.

The government has regulation on exempt products. Exempt products comprise only materials that are on the EPA's exempt list. These materials may include materials listed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as biopesticides. Biopesticides or biological pesticides are materials of natural origin or certain minerals.[2]


Pesticides are used to control pests, some examples are avicide, herbicide and insecticide. Green Pest Management usually deals with insecticides and herbicides. For Green Pest Management the preferred materials are of natural origin. Materials of natural origin may be either organic, such as plant oils, or inorganic, such as boric acid. Not every material of natural origin would be preferred. It must also be low risk. Some plant oils used include Rosemary, Wintergreen, Eugenol (Clove Oil) and other oils. They act as insecticides at some concentrations and as non selective herbicides at other, higher concentrations. These low risk materials are often known as exempt or minimum risk pesticides or "25b products." The term 25b refers to the section 25b of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act or FIFRA. Due to the nature of the active and inert ingredients in the pesticide these materials are exempt from registration.[3] Other biological controls include use of biological pest control, the use of natural mechanisms in primarily agricultural or home lawn and garden pest control. Examples include bacteria, bacillus thuringiensis, or nematodes for example, for control of grubs, such as Oriental Beetle grubs or and in the case of bacillus thuringiensis, for control of mosquitoes.

Examples of Materials of Natural Origin
1.0 Plant Oils
1.1 Rosemary
1.2 Wintergreen
1.3 Eugenol (Clove Oil)
2.0 Inorganic Materials
2.1 Boric Acid
2.2 Diatomaceous Earth (Freshwater & Salt Water)

Low impact pest management

Green pest management does not include traditional chemical materials. However, recent advances in chemistry have yielded materials that have extremely low mammalian toxicity. Some key materials that are used that are chemicals not of natural origin, include insect growth regulators (IGR's). IGR's have action that is usually specific to insects, or that would affect insects primarily. Hydroprene or Methoprene (linked), are two examples of Juvenile hormone Analogs or JHA's. These are chemical materials, so are not usually appropriate for organic pest management strategies. However, given the low mammalian toxicity of the JHA's, they may be appropriate for low impact structural pest management as part of a complete IPM approach.

Certification and accreditations

There are services available to certify or offer accreditation to businesses that provide green pest management services, to sites that use green pest management or to the manufacturers of materials used to control pests. The most widely used product list for materials acceptable to be used on operations that are certified organic under the United States Department of Agriculture(USDA) National Organic Program(NOP)[4] is the aforementioned Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI).[5] Regional organic farming associations are resources for accredited providers. An example would be the Northeast Organic Farming Association's Certified Organic Landcare or Organic Dairy Program.[6] Other examples include certification or registration through industry associations or private certification or accreditation service providers. For structural pest control this would include industry examples such as the National Pest Management Association's (NPMA) GreenPro Accreditation [7] or private certification resources such as GreenShield Certification.[8]


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