An article published in the New York Post today offers some insight into improper pest management practices conducted in New York City. The article involves several pest control technicians and their over the top and irresponsible methods to treat bed bugs with an excessive amount of chemicals.
Finally, Frank arrived. At first I wasn’t impressed. He was a big guy, 6-feet tall, but he moved slow, and he dropped something heavy on the way up to my apartment. He seemed too eager to show me his technician’s certification, which he produced from a worn blue folder. Then he started spraying, and my doubts evaporated. He sprayed, and he sprayed and when I thought he was done spraying, he sprayed some more. He doused. He dumped chemicals in a way that made Mario and Gordon seem stingy. “I’m not cheap,” I learned, is one of Frank’s refrains.
I’m not only concerned about the health of the people these technicians treat, but also the health of the technicians themselves. It appear that some technicians have become complacent with the use of chemicals and have gradually increased their usage of them without concern for the possible side affects both short and long term.
As we park on 150th Street in Whitestone, I notice a handful of cough drops and half a bulb of peeled garlic on a little shelf above the dashboard. Frank says they’re for his throat, which is frequently sore, “and for vampires, too.” I ask him if he’s concerned about the health effects of persistent exposure to the pesticides. He says that he doesn’t want to be a technician forever; pretty soon he’ll apply for his applicator’s license so he can start his own company. Bedbug business is good, and Frank knows he makes a fraction of what he could if he was paid by the job and not by the shift. He says he stutters sometimes, and he never did before.
With proper pest management, less seems to be more when it comes to application of pesticides. Also discussed in the articles was the the technicians practice of covering the inside of his car with Delta Dust. I believe these technicians are either not too bright or their training was to say the least inadequate.
As we drive over Randall’s Island, I browse the collection of canisters and jugs piled up in the back. We’ve got, among many others, Bedlam spray (HARMFUL IF ABSORBED THROUGH SKIN); Gentrol Insect Growth Regulator Liquid Concentrate (KEEP OUT OF THE REACH OF CHILDREN); and PI Contact Insecticide gas (IF INHALED: Moveperson to fresh air. If person is not breathing, call 911 or an ambulance, then giveartificial respiration). Plus, everything in Frank’s car, including us, is covered with a fine white powder. It’s called Delta Dust, and its active ingredient is the neurotoxin Deltamethrin (AVOID CONTACT WITH SKIN, EYES AND CLOTHING).
The majority of pest control operators on New York City are highly trained and do great work, which is why its unfortunate that the practices of just a few were brought to light in today’s article. I personally find it sad that one of the technicians expressed concern that his recent stuttering issues may have been attributed to pesticides. Pesticides are a much needed tool in a PCO’s arsenal and can used safely if used as directed.