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  • Writer's pictureChelle Hartzer

We’re saved! (AKA: Magic bullets)

You know with a headline like this I absolutely have to find out what’s going on:

And since it is 100% effective, pest control companies will be going out of business and we will never have to deal with rodents again. Yea!

So is it clickbait? What’s the real story here? Simply put, most pesticides aimed at killing pests are all 100% effective when used correctly under controlled conditions. When manufacturers test their products, the first tests are done in a lab, under perfect conditions, and the pests get an exact dose of whatever the product is. Then you get out into the real world where pests may escape from treated areas, hide and not be dosed, and weather will impact the products. This particular product is very effective for the rodents it is treating.

A product can only treat what it can get to. The areas that are being treated, at the right dose, for the right amount of time, under the right conditions is going to kill everything in that area. While rodent burrows can be extensive, you still have to target each burrow one at a time. Same with every pest: you may be able to treat a restaurant for cockroaches and eliminate them, but you still have a few thousand other restaurants to deal with. Most of us don't have the time to go out with an eyedropper and get the product onto each and every cockroach.

Speaking of getting to the pests, NYC (and many other places) don’t have a way of restricting their rodents to ground burrows. Rats are infesting the subway system, mice are in the walls, roof rats are…well… in the roofs. This particular treatment can’t treat those areas. It would be great if we could shut down the city, cover it with a sealed dome, and gas the place for a few days. That would eliminate all the rodents! But it’s not an option.

Right after using a product on a pest, you have eliminated the pest in that area. Outdoors, that leaves a void that other pests will move into and re-infest. So now that the burrows in Central Park are empty, some of those sewer rats are going to find that prime real estate and move in. There’s no giant fence with “keep-out” signs to stop the rats from relocating. While some pesticide products have a residual, it’s not a lifetime guarantee. It may work for a month or two, then it doesn’t have enough activity to stop pests.


Is there a magic bullet? Yes. But that's not going to help us here.

Moral of this story: no method will ever be perfect at eliminating every single pest we have except maybe the earth falling into a black hole. That’s not a great option for the humans.

Next time someone comes at you with a sure thing, it’s definitely too good to be true. We can win many of the battles with pests, but I don’t think the war will ever be over. I call that job security. You can call me. I’ll save you tons of time and eliminate the uncertainty when dealing with pests.

Lagniappe - this could work...

Urban Pest Consulting

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