Pest control is not a glamorous industry, however, we all can be our best selves and contribute in a meaningful way. No one grows up wanting to be in the pest control industry unless you’re born into it. We are here to change that.
We are killing insects that cause a threat to our families, control diseases, and destroy structures. But, the individual state honeybee is one we should be helping to survive.
Pest control is important to the survival of humanity, and in order to keep it that way we must acknowledge our part or lack thereof in the honeybee ‘crisis’. Many in our industry believe this is just public perception, but perception is all we manage in reality. Therefore, it has become our mission to navigate the conversations and opinions to continue to be an essential industry.
The pest control industry plays a vital role in the health of the communities we serve. As a second generation pest control business operator, I find it imperative that the pest control industry leads the charge in a difficult and potentially hostile conversation. The industry needs a cause to champion – so why not make it the friend everyone thinks is a foe? The honeybee crisis is different than the ozone being affected by cow gas emissions. This is not just environmental, the honeybee is an insect that thrives or dies in our communities as well as pollinates the food we eat. We are killing insects that cause a threat to our families, control diseases, and destroy structures. But, the individual state honeybee is one we should be helping to survive.
We need to ensure our future generations continue to flourish and have a purposeful role in society. No doubt we are working in an industry where science, news, and environmental groups are passive aggressively pointing one of five fingers straight at us, but it’s simply not the truth. There are numerous reasons why the honeybee is in danger; one of the main ones is a misapplication of pesticides, but get this….by homeowners and spray jockey technicians.
Some countries are taking extreme measures bureaucratically to protect the honeybees. For example, France has most recently been in the spotlight for heralding a ban on specific pesticides that harm bees because of the record number of losses. The pest control industry wants to control and facilitate the conversation and U.S. Pest is the starting point.
The decline of the local United States honeybee is real from California to New York to Tennessee, and pesticides are on the radar for attack. Some of the other points of the honeybee decline discussion are:
- Migratory bees and the beekeepers who transport with little regulation of bees in and out of states.
- Large box stores growing plants with a product called neonicotinoid which can cause colony weakness.
- Homeowner misapplication of pesticides bought in DIY suppliers.
- Invasive species such as the varroa mite that has just shown up in recent years.
As an industry, we have a paramount opportunity to lead the way to where we are inevitably going in the not-so-distant future.
The problem is complex and has various issues affecting the decline and, ironically, most of it has nothing to do with the pest control industry. U.S. Pest has honed in on the homeowner misapplication and consumer education. Taking a stand will separate us out from our competitors and the do-it-yourselfers. Deep diving into the realities of the problems that face our industry head on instead of ignoring the pink elephant in the room. As an industry, we have a paramount opportunity to lead the way to where we are inevitably going in the not-so-distant future.
Public awareness can result in positive peer pressure to hire a professional pest control company instead of slapping some store bought products on their rose bushes. But if they must buy that DIY product, two big box stores are taking their own stand on the honeybee crisis. Lowes and Ace Hardware are notably leading the charge in their industry by eliminating bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides from the products and garden plants that they sell. You can learn more in an article here published in February 2019.
Teaming up with the local beekeepers and cultivating a relationship of trust and engagement, we have flourished into a blueprint for how the beekeeping world, bee lovers and the pest control industry work together.
Teaming up with the local beekeepers and cultivating a relationship of trust and engagement, we have flourished into a blueprint for how the beekeeping world, bee lovers and the pest control industry work together. The greatest part is after the initial shock wears off, we come to find we actually really like each other and are on the same page and same team. The beekeeping world needs our help, and we want to do our part not only to lift up another industry and our own, but also join the battle to protect what matters most. The Tennessee Honey Festival was a huge success with over 10,000 people gathered in Nashville, TN to celebrate honey and U.S. Pest’s posture on protecting the honeybee. Tennessee is one of only 3 states that have a statewide Honey Festival dedicated to promoting awareness. Tennessee hosts the only honey festival started by a pest control company, U.S. Pest.
Our industry and chemical suppliers are putting the bee symbol on the labels to raise awareness internally, yet the alarm is mute due to the lack of education and answer to solutions. The EPA released the BEE Advisory box to raise awareness of products harmful to honeybees and pollinators. You can see that here. If the science is correct that is being reported all over the world, that pesticides are one of the main reasons for local honeybee decline, or the honeybee crisis, then we have a responsibility to act boldly.
U.S. Pest has developed robust internal practices and training including:
- Monitoring lawn maintenance before we treat for mosquitoes.
- Monitoring wind drift.
- Favoring non-neonicotinoid products (maybe even claiming being a neonicotinoid-free company.)
- Consumer education.
- Joining local area beekeeping associations as well as speaking at their associations.
- Having local beekeepers on call.
- Conducting extensive training internally with our team on honeybees.
- The owners raise honeybees on their property and utilize all services offered by U.S. Pest.
The next five years in the U.S., the pest control industry will continue to see an increase in public awareness of the health threats of ticks and mosquitoes. We must continue to fight and protect against the horrible diseases these insects carry. Consequently, the next five years will also see an influx of public awareness and heightened concern regarding pesticides’ impact on the honeybee decline. The pest control industry can and will be a beacon for navigating the conversation rather than waiting for a potential PR nightmare, or worse, an industry that does nothing to help. Homeowners in Tennessee are choosing U.S. Pest because the honeybee matters and whether we like it or not, the honeybee equals quality food production.