I get the question at least a dozen times a week, “Are insecticides safe?” The short answer is no. There is no such thing as a “safe insecticide.” If they were “safe” a technician would not need to wear protective equipment such as nitrile gloves, long sleeve shirts, and chemical resistant footwear.
HOWEVER, the manner in which a pesticide is applied can be done with safety as the utmost concern. A pesticide can be applied in a safe manner and a pesticide treated area can be safe to re-enter after the completion of a job.
So if a “bug-guy” or his advertisement tell you that their pesticide is safe, ask them why they are mandated to wear PPE (Proper Protective Equipment) by the EPA.
The Truth Behind The Matter…
The predominate products we use are micro-encapsulated. The micro-encapsulates, MC’s for short, help to minimize odor and is a major reason why you no longer need to vacate your home while the pest control specialist treats.
The best way to imagine MC’s is to imagine a Tylenol time release pill in the palm of your hand. Acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, is safely contained within the polypropylene coating, the same is true with micro-encapsulated insecticides. The difference is when the MC’s are mixed with water a thin adhesive coating around the MC’s activated (wet glue). As the water from the spray evaporates the adhesive dries (dry glue). So now the MC’s adhere (become glued) to the treated surface.
As the bugs travel over the treated surface they pick up the MC’s. When the pest grooms itself the MC’s are ingested and just like when you take the Tylenol pill in your mouth, the active ingredient is released and the insecticide does its job.
Only when the treated surface is dry it is “safe.” However with the chemistry professionals utilize these days small children, animals, the elderly, and the sick can typically remain in a room being treated at the home while it is being protected from unwelcome invaders
Located below is a picture from a microscope showing a micro-capsule on the hair of an insect.
Hopefully this blog helped to clear up some misunderstandings. If you have any questions please post them below.
Have A Great Day