Every industry has a unique lingo, its own language, that seems unintelligible to the layman, and pest control is no exception. This post will attempt to define a number of industry-specific terms and phrases that might be encountered in the texts of product labels, government regulations, and advertisements.
residual – Residual insecticides, once applied, continue to work for several hours (or much longer). A general treatment, such as the spraying of baseboards and/or the structure’s foundation, is an example of the application of a residual insecticide, as are spot treatments and crack and crevice treatments.
non-residual – Non-residual insecticides, on the other hand, are effective only during the time of treatment. Space treatments (fogging an attic, for example) and contact treatments almost always require non-residual insecticides.
restricted use – The federal classification for a pesticide that may cause unreasonable adverse effects on the environment, including injury to the applicator. Certified applicators are trained to use restricted-use pesticides (which are generally not available to the general public) properly.
general use – The federal classification for a pesticide that will generally not cause unreasonable adverse effects on the environment.
granules – Many pesticides are available in the form of tiny granules, which are easily applied with a hand-held seed spreader. They can be substituted for liquid pesticides on rainy or windy days, but the space that a 20-pound bag of granules takes up, as compared to a small bottle of concentrated insecticide, makes the regular use of granules rather impractical.
dusts – Dusts are often used to control crawling insects, such as cockroaches, ants, and silverfish. Applied with a hand duster, a dust pesticide penetrates inaccessible crevices and wall voids.
baits – Most baits, which come in the form of gels, pastes, and granules, kill two birds with one stone (so to speak); they attract the pest, and expose it to an insecticide. Baiting is an important part of cockroach and ant treatments.
crack and crevice (C & C) – Sprays, dusts, and baits are ideal for crack and crevice treatments, which involve applying small amounts of insecticide into cracks and crevices throughout the structure.
spot treatment – A spot treatment consists of the application of one or more insecticides to certain areas that are likely to be visited by insects.
general treatment – A general treatment is the application of an insecticide to large areas or surfaces, like walls, floors, ceilings, or the outside of a structure. A barrier treatment, in which an insecticide is applied around the structure, is an example of a general treatment.
space spray (or space treatment) – As mentioned above, space treatments often involve the use of non-residual insecticides to control flying insects. Foggers, misters, and aerosols are used for space treatments.
ultra-low volume (ULV) – An ultra-low volume application is the application of a concentrated pesticide over a large area.
insect growth regulator (IGR) – An insect growth regulator, or IGR, interferes with the growth and reproduction of insects. This prevents an insect population from increasing in size, but will not necessarily exterminate it. IGR’s are non-toxic to humans and pets.
resistance – Pesticide resistance is an effect of natural selection. When an insect population is treated with an insecticide, most of its members are killed. The few survivors — which, for one reason or another, did not succumb to the insecticide’s effects — reproduce, passing on the genetic traits that enabled them to survive in the first place. Over time, the population becomes resistant to the insecticide.