With the conclusion of COP26 in Glasgow and the furore surrounding sewage discharge into UK rivers, the environment is certainly making headline news at the moment. As a company, sustainability and our impact on the environment have always been important factors influencing the way we operate.
When Cleankill was founded in 1995, it was to do things a little differently. Everyone involved had worked for one of the big national pest control companies and we had seen with our own eyes how things were changing with regards to customer service and environmental protection. We also saw how our employer wasn’t necessarily changing in the right way.
In contrast, we wanted Cleankill to be a proactive company that considered the needs of the community, the environment and the customer alongside the need for profit. This is why, ‘being green’, has always been important to us as individuals and as a company.
We can no longer ignore our impact on the planet
COP26 is once again focussing minds on our impact on the environment. With the exception of some extreme outliers, I think it is fair to say everyone is agreed there is a major problem. How we deal with that in a practical way is where the debate happens (unless you are a world leader of a country that exports fossil fuels, in which case you bury your head in the sand and hope it will go away).
Sustainability is now on the agenda for all companies. We only have one planet, and it is clear we need to find better ways to operate in order to protect it. After all, we, our families, and our children’s children must live with the consequences of how we treat the environment. On top of this, our customers and regulators are also now demanding more environmentally conscious business practices.
‘Green’ pest control?
Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? But it’s not. Obviously, we need to remove the pests and that can involve killing them but what we must always try to do is minimise the impact of our methods on the wider environment.
One of the main causes of concern in pest control is the use of harmful chemicals. From grain beetles to gulls, when we deal with the pests we need to do it in a way that is effective but doesn’t cause undue damage to the environment
A good example is that, prior to the arrival of the Romans, grain beetles were unknown in the UK. This was probably because there was no infrastructure to move grain long distances but, of course, that changed with the Roman army. Infestations became a major problem and they needed a solution. In York, there is evidence that when the problem became too big the Romans simply burnt down the granaries to eradicate the problem. With the exception of a bit of CO2 being released into the atmosphere (not a problem in a pre-industrial age) and a black line in the soil for archaeologists to discover, this method left no lasting negative impact. The problem was solved, and they could just rebuild the granaries.
Traditional can be ‘green’
In fact, many of the ‘old ways’ are sustainable. Snap traps, not nice for the mouse but reusable and better for the environment, and hawks are all traditional methods that can be highly effective when used in the right way.
Of course, a few snap traps won’t be sufficient to deal with an infestation like Australia has seen in recent months. Targeted correctly, however, they are very effective against small infestations in homes and offices.
One form of ‘traditional’ ‘green’ pest control I’ve been particularly impressed by is hawking. Our two falconers train and operate six adult Harris hawks and one Goshawk. They have recently been joined by the offspring of Luna and Reg, Jimmy the Harris hawk eyas. Learn more.
The hawks are flown in both urban and rural environments and are used to scare nuisance birds such as pigeons, gulls and parakeets. They don’t kill the birds, simply unnerve them to make them roost elsewhere. I’m always amazed at how effective it can be – the nuisance birds soon learn an area is being patrolled by the hawks and quickly try to move elsewhere. This is a brilliant example of humans using nature to solve a pest problem.
The bird control team has also recently shown me another very effective but ‘green’ way of dealing with roosting birds that have become a problem. In low light, they can shine a laser pen at the birds and this has a similarly disruptive effect. Birds don’t like to be disturbed and so any form of disruption causes them to move away. The good thing is, the pen can’t really be used when it is light when we can fly the hawks, and the hawks can’t be safely flown in low light, when we can use the pen.
It should be noted, we always get the permission of the residents before using either technique.
Why you need to keep your home clean and tidy
Finally, there is a lot we can all do to keep our homes pest-free in a ‘green’ way. Firstly, there is the old pest control mantra – prevention not eradication.
It is impossible to make a home 100% pest-free but making sure all holes are filled will make it far more difficult for them to access your property. If it’s hard for pests to access, they will go elsewhere and you can be certain one of your neighbours won’t have been so efficient. Finding all the gaps that a pest can get through can be difficult, but a professional pest control surveyor will know where to look and what solutions to employ.
Secondly, remove all sources of food. This means making sure food waste is cleared away and surfaces cleaned of debris. Also, make sure food products are stored in air-tight containers. All pests need food and so, if they can’t readily find it, they will go elsewhere.
Cleanliness is next to godliness; it is also stands alongside effective ‘green’ pest control. Effectively keeping our properties pest-free in a sustainable way is possible, but it does require pest control professionals to think in innovative ways and business and homeowners to employ good housekeeping techniques.
If you have a pest problem and want to know what effective ‘green’ pest control options are available to you, contact us on 020 8668 5477 or click here.
Photo by Alena Koval from Pexels