Originally published Friday, March 11, 2011, updated March 28, 2016
The pillars that hold up the structure of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in structural pest control are arrogance, deceit, deception, ideology, lies, ignorance, scare tactics and its foundation is the Precautionary Principle; the bulwark of junk science.
The predictions and scares thrown up by the environmental movement has become conventional wisdom by repetition, yet have proven false by time. That's the trouble with conventional wisdom. Conventional wisdom is merely what everyone believes at the moment, and may be as fleeting as the latest ladies fashion. To become traditional wisdom it still must face the march of time.
Unfortunately, these philosophical flavors of the day have left devastation in their wake in so many countries around the world.
From Malthus to Paul Ehrlich (look them up) they almost have a monopoly on being wrong. So why do we so readily accept their scare mongering? The goal for those who wish to implement IPM as a separate, practical pest control concept is the elimination of pesticides. I seem to have to repeat this over and over because so many claim this isn’t true, which makes me wonder what planet they are living on. If we are to eliminate all of these products that have been so effective and beneficial to mankind we had better ask three questions. (I am paraphrasing these questions from comments made by Thomas Sowell. RK)
1. IPM or green pest control is better as opposed to what? If bed bugs are any indicator, IPM is an abject failure as opposed to using effective, inexpensive, easy to use chemistry available to everyone.
2. How much will it cost? Once again. If bed bugs are the touchstone we are to use. IPM is an abject failure.
3. What hard evidence is there? The reality is most of what the EPA promotes is based on “risk assumptions”, not actual science.If the environmentalists truly are concerned about people’s health, why aren’t they taking stands to support DDT? Why aren’t they supporting genetically modified foods such as “Golden Rice”? Golden Rice is a genetically enhanced product that would bring much needed Vitamin A into the diets of the children in Asia and Africa. This one item alone would prevent 500,000 children from going blind every year. Americans have been using genetically modified (GM) foods for years without any adverse effects. Yet, well-fed activists living in industrialized countries blocked aid in the form of corn that is GM to starving people in Africa between the years 2002 and 2004. This action alone caused the deaths of thousands. Then again, is it possible this is exactly what they want?
If they really are concerned about indoor air quality, why aren’t they supporting power plants in Africa so those poor people won’t have to breathe the fumes of cooking fires made from dried dung and the resulting respiratory problems?
They are against chlorine in drinking water. What is the result of such thinking? Thousands died and tens of thousands were sickened when environmental activists convinced South American leaders to eliminate chlorine from their water supplies.
They oppose every one of these advancements, and as a result afflictions, disease and starvation in Africa, South America and South East Asia is rampant and devastating to these poor countries. So few resources are spent on so many problems that could easily be fixed with modern agricultural techniques, modern chemistry and modern technology! Who is to answer for all of the misery, squalor, diseases and deaths in the third world as a result of environmentalist policies?
It would seem to me that those that have supported and fought against all of the above items, including DDT, are guilty of crimes against humanity. At the very least they surely must be guilty of depraved indifference. Are these the people we are to listen to? They talk about theoretical risks while real devastation is taking place. Do they really care about the health and safety of our families or is all of the just a ploy to rid us of the tools needed to keep our society from becoming the nightmare that the third world has become?
However, I have to ask this. Let us suppose this isn’t a ploy, and let us assume that they really do care so much about us and our families - then we have to ask - why do they hate the families of third world so badly?
Do environmentalists really believe they have created an environmental paradise in the third world with the policies they promote? If that is the case, why haven’t they moved there instead of continuing to stay in this environmental horror of well-fed comfort, economic advancement and chemical technology known as the western world? The real question we have to ask ourselves is this - who are the real killers here, pesticide manufacturers and applicators or environmental activists?
If IPM gains traction with consumers it will be because the environmental movement and their junk science allies have undermined all that we have done for the last 70 years. This will have been accomplished by consistently ignoring the actual science in preference of junk science by the activists, regulators, media, society as a whole and our own industry. We must begin to immediately recognize that any pest control concept called anything other than pest control diminishes us and what we do as an industry and is in reality an attack on our industry.
What we do is more important than some indefinable concept called IPM. In the real world of pest control we protect children, we protect homes, we protect food. We are on the front line of defense for the health and safety of the people of the world. We save lives! We are part and parcel of the public health service that stands on the wall and says to the world - no one will harm you on my watch! What we do isn’t just a job - it is a mission, and we can’t carry out that mission without preventative and corrective applications of pesticides.
I'm often told by pest controllers who've taken upbrage with my position how they use the tools and techniques of IPM daily to protect homes, people and food stuffs. I've made this same statement to them for years: You use the tools and techniques of IPM! Really? Name one!
I'm not opposed to these so-called tools and techniques they claim they're using because these tools and techniques are what we have preached and practiced in structrual pest control for 150 years. The names of those tools have changed, but the tools are the same. Liquids, powders, baits, traps cleaning up debris and trash, sealing up access and harborage areas, drying up wet areas along with trapping and netting. These tools and techniques are over 150 years old, and newspaper clippings going back to 1850 prove that. Just because we have added some new products such as IGR’s and some new baits doesn’t make it some kind of brand new thing called IPM. It’s still just pest control.
The very idea of calling pest control anything but pest control is what I am opposed to. Words mean things and meanings have consequences. They provide the basis for ideas and concepts, including bad ones that can become pathways to unforeseen disasters. Words create ideologies. Junk science ideologies can only survive if they are fed by demagoguery. “IPM is an ideology, not a methodology.”
In summary, I object to using the term IPM, which needs to be eliminated from the lexicon of pest control terms. I object to attempting to create something outside of traditional pest control called something other than pest control. Something, which can't be defined and will ultimately be used against our industry because someone says, “I don’t buy it”.
I object to concept without form. I object to philosophical flavors of the day. I object to change for change sake. I object to the condescending arrogance of those caterwauling about IPM. But mostly, I object to the decisions made or influenced by the leaders and IPM harpies of our industry who then move on leaving the rest of us, and the companies we leave to our children, to live with the outcome.
Lastly, we need open and public debates regarding IPM. Let those that have views on this subject stand up against each other in a public forum and take their best shot before an audience of stakeholders. Let the manufacturers, distributors and applicators get a good look at what is presented and then finally after all has been said and done, let the industry decide if there really is a logical foundation for such a thing as IPM in structural pest control, and then decide what to do about it. I would love to see the NPMA, the trade journals, the distributors and manufacturers sponser such an event. And I'm prepared to publically debate anyone in our industry who disagrees with me on any of this, irrespective of position or education.
Final thoughts to ponder.
When the leaders of the environmental movement make misanthropic comments about humanity being a virus, and how the Earth is better off without mankind supporting every misanthropic, irrational and morally defective policy leading to that end - we should ask ourselves: Why do we believe them when they say what they do is “For the Children”?
To see the truth we need to see the historical outcome of their policies (Starting with the unscientific and unappropriate ban on DDT) which has probably killed more innocent people than Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pot Pot and Castro combined. Once we've done our homework, then and only then can we see their policies don't do things "For the Children". Their policies do things "To the Children"!
This is the final part in this series - but it's not the final word. "Walk toward the fire. Don’t worry about what they call you. All those things are said against you because they want to stop you in your tracks. But if you keep going, you’re sending a message to people who are rooting for you, who are agreeing with you. The message is that they can do it, too." -- Andrew Breitbart
The Pillars of IPM: Part I
The Pillars of IPM: Part II
The Pillars of IPM: Part III