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Product Safety for Children and Pets

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Do you want pest control, but are worried about the safety of your children or pets? The health of people and their pets is our top priority. At Cook’s, “pest control” is practiced as “integrated pest management” where chemical treatments are not the only solution to a pest issue.

The word “chemical” has a negative connotation, and most people associate chemicals with words such as “harmful” or “toxic.” In our day-to-day lives, we deal with plenty of chemicals that are relatively toxic. We use bleach without wearing rubber gloves, we pump gasoline without protective clothing, we breathe in nicotine recreationally, and we ingest painkillers like aspirin. When it comes to toxicity, the dose makes the poison. Water and oxygen, both of which are required for life, are toxic in high enough doses. Most products that we use are diluted, with a low percentage of active ingredient. Placement of the product, too, prevents it from coming into contact with people or animals. There is practically no exposure to a dust product applied behind an outlet cover, for example.

We use the least toxic products to achieve control over a pest problem. Oftentimes, chemicals are not needed at all in areas where children or pets frequent, or they can be applied in ways that prevent or minimize their contact. All successful control programs incorporate non-chemical control measures like exclusion (which keeps pests out) and sanitation (which limits pest access to food, water, and shelter) before resorting to any sort of product treatment. Repairing damaged door sweeps, replacing worn weather stripping, and caulking up holes and cracks are all easy ways to prevent pests from entering your home, which reduces your need for indoor pest control. Depriving pests of food, water, and shelter by removing clutter and cleaning on a regular basis are also effective ways to nip an infestation in the bud, causing the infestation to falter before it can gain a foothold.

We have many formulations which reduce product hazard to humans and animals. In the case of a cockroach infestation, baits are applied in small amounts and in out-of-reach areas where cockroaches are hiding. Non-toxic glue boards are used to monitor their activity. Gone are the days of baseboard spraying.

For our outside perimeter treatment, we always ask that people and pets stay out of the treatment area until the product has fully dried. The same applies for our indoor flea treatments. A dried product does not translocate as easily.

We take extra care around pet birds and fish which are more sensitive than other pets. For birds, we may ask that they be relocated for several hours while a treatment is drying. For fish, we cover aquariums and ponds to ensure their safety. We avoid using granule products near outdoor fish ponds, since granules bear a striking resemblance to fish food.

For rat and mouse control, we use non-toxic glue boards and snap traps placed in inaccessible areas or within a tamper-resistant station to thwart any curious investigation by kids or pets. Rodent baits are a last resort, and they are always kept in tamper-resistant stations when used.

For termite control, we use Sentricon®, a baiting system which involves burying bait tubes in the soil or under concrete around your home. Children and pets can play near these stations safely. These buried tubes are flush with the ground, tamper-resistant, and require a special tool to open them. The bait inside has an extremely low amount of active ingredient, and the active ingredient disrupts chitin formation of the insect’s hard exoskeleton. Seeing as humans and pets don’t produce chitin, there are very few risks in using this product.

We always aim to use products with the lowest amount of active ingredient to achieve results. Placement and formulation of our products keeps them away from people and pets alike. And, whenever possible, we emphasize the importance of exclusion and sanitation to keep pests out and under control, as this minimizes the need for indoor treatments.