PestAvoidance is an advanced technique for creating pest free areas that enables you to avoid environmental pests of all kinds. It obeys, at its heart, a fundamental medical precept attributed to Hippocrates (ca. 460 BC-ca. 370 BC), and expressed in the Hippocratic oath as a promise: ἐπὶ δηλήσει δὲ καὶ ἀδικίῃ εἴρξειν, “to abstain from doing harm”, and later, in the physician’s code of Thomas Sydenham (1624-1689), as a dictum: Primum non nocere, “First, do no harm“.
PestAvoidance focuses on (1) habitat modification, a methodology based chiefly on mechanical processes, in conjunction with habitat modifying sprays and mulches, and (2) the creation of permanent PestAvoidance Zones that typically begin small and grow to encompass the entire area you wish to keep pest free. As much as possible, it avoids the use of pesticides of any kind, and acts to produce an environment that neither nurtures nor attracts pests. As such, it distinguishes itself from the practices typically carried out by most of today’s licensed dispensers and applicators of pesticides. PestAvoidance does everything possible not to intentionally kill, repel, prevent, mitigate, or manage pests. Instead it seeks to simply avoid them by creating, from the perspective of pest organisms, a non-nurturing, non-attractive environment that such organisms have no compulsion to enter, linger or nest within, or infest. Further, it is designed so that home and business owners can carry out every facet of their particular PestAvoidance project on their own.
How many times have you heard (or said) these words: “If you want the job done right, you’ll have to do it yourself.” And, from experience, you know that’s generally true despite the existence of important, well-known exceptions:
— Even experienced surgeons should not (and usually cannot) perform major surgery on themselves, and lawyers who try to represent themselves before a court of law generally do, indeed, have a fool for a client.
Professional pest management, performed by specially trained applicators and technicians in order to resolve serious — that is, acute, existing pest problems — can be another important exception to the general “Doing it yourself is best” rule, too:
— Trained and licensed pest managers possess specialized knowledge, tools, and products that enable them to safely resolve existing pest issues more quickly, and at a lower cost, than an untrained, inexperienced home or business owner.
Remember that. If you have an existing pest problem, or if a serious, acute pest problem develops at your home or business at any time (even after you have what you consider to be a well-conceived PestAvoidance plan in operation), it is always wise to bring in a professional pest manager to deal with it. Acute pest issues should be dealt with by professional, trained, licensed personnel with the experience, know-how, equipment, and products necessary to deal with that pest issue safely, quickly, and economically.
Nothing in the PestAvoidance concept obviates that wisdom, because PestAvoidance is not intended to replace traditional pest management. What it does is enable you to reduce, or eliminate, the need for traditional pest management whenever and wherever possible.
Note the “or” in the previous sentence. The significance of that “or” depends strictly on you, because you are the one carrying out your PestAvoidance project. Done poorly, or even half-heartedly, it may not accomplish much at all. Done with serious attention to details, though, it will almost certainly reduce your need for traditional pest management. For those who attend to all the points described below, and who proceed to modify their habitats at home, work, and play, as those points suggest, the need for traditional pest management can actually cease altogether.
See the continuum I just laid out for you? You can reach its apex, if you want to, but how far you progress along that continuum depends strictly on YOU. The more time, effort, planning, and attention you lavish on that project, the better it works. Ultimately, you can expect to eliminate most if not all the chronic pest problems at your home or business. Along the way, you should see a demonstrable reduction in acute pest issues, and — over time — you may actually eliminate acute pest issues from your life altogether. Throughout, you will appreciate the value of what you are doing, for two reasons:
— First: PestAvoidance stops pest problems before they get started. It is, at its heart, a proactive process, rather than a reactive one.
— Second: PestAvoidance doesn’t involve using toxic sprays or pesticides of any kind to kill, repel, prevent or sterilize pests. Done right, you may never have to use toxic sprays or pesticides in your home, your business, or where you play, ever again.
Again, as mentioned earlier: Only someone personally interested in the outcome of a project can be trusted to do certain things right, particularly over the long haul. PestAvoidance is like that. The home or business owner having custody and control of the site where PestAvoidance is to be carried out has the most to gain, and is most familiar with conditions at that site. Furthermore, the owner also has the authority and motivation to make decisions affecting the nature and manner of any habitat modifications that need to be done at that site. Thus they are–in many if not most cases–the best people around to carry out, or at least directly supervise, the work that a good PestAvoidance program requires.
Although the PestAvoidance concept may seem quite novel, it is based on the application of natural methods and substances that were developed and honed, over eons of time, by the relentless forces of selective adaptation. During the thousands, millions, even hundreds of millions of years that have passed since life first emerged on earth, living plants and animals have constantly faced two choices:
(1) adapt and survive,
(2) fail to adapt and die.
What kind of adaptations did these organisms make? Some involved natural selection for certain anatomical characteristics, while others focused on the ability of individual organisms to make changes to their immediate surroundings. As the brains of complex organisms developed, they became capable of making decisions affecting their survival. For example, when such an organism finds itself in a less than optimal environment, it can dimensionally reconstruct its environment to make it safer and more conducive to survival. Much of the time simple mechanical changes of that nature are sufficient.
Arachnologists are constantly amazed at the ways various species of spiders make dimensional reconstructions of their environments that improve their ability to survive. Entomologists note with amazement how insects do the same thing and become able, not only to survive, but thrive, in unusually forbidding environments.
We tend to think of humans, who are capable of reasoning from cause to effect, as particularly able to make such changes to their environments. Today, in the macrocosm, that ability is reflected in the architecture of our homes and offices, and in the engineering design of our automobiles and aircraft, as well as in the chemistry and structure of our clothing, sunblock lotions, and so on. In the microcosm, that ability is demonstrated in the way we constantly examine, modify, repair, and maintain all those accouterments that make our lives more comfortable.
Examination, modification, repair, maintenance… all these expressions are needed because of one important fact: nature is never static. It changes all the time. To remain comfortable, safe, and happy, we have to adapt to those changes using the processes behind those adjectives.
Adaptive change is a process, not an event. It requires constant vigilance and modification. Nature does not balance itself without our help. You may have thought (or were taught) otherwise, and if so you are in the majority. The myth of the natural balance of nature, though quite enduring, is — hold onto your seat, now — just that: a myth.
The myth of the natural balance of nature:
It is generally believed that, left untouched by human intervention or unusual calamities, most natural ecosystems manage, through ordinary adaptive stratagems, to achieve a more-or-less static balance between pests and beneficial organisms. Pest organisms, some authorities assert, tend to constitute less than 1% of the organisms found in such ecosystems. The remaining organisms are either neutral (often said to be usually less than 1%) or beneficial (over 98%). Beneficial organisms are so-called because they tend to keep pest populations under control. In fact, they are often touted as so effective that, within “balanced ecosystems” maintained in their theoretically “natural” state, it is common to find small oases where beneficials reign supreme and pests are practically non-existent.
In truth, though, the widely-believed natural balance of nature is an out-and-out myth. Equilibrium is not the norm. Chaos -– its opposite -– is. Nature is a constantly changing soup of competing organic and inorganic and forces, and rarely produces a static balance on its own.
Despite that fact, however, with man’s intervention the balance of nature can easily be tipped toward such a static state, either to an undesirable one that favors pests or to a desirable one that discourages them. Unfortunately, it is just as easy to tip the balance in the wrong direction as in the right one. Using pesticides does that more often than not, because most pesticides are indiscriminate toxicants that kill beneficials as effectively as they kill pests.
Habitat modification techniques that objectively balance beneficial organisms and pests, allowing beneficials to thrive, and causing pests to decline, form the backbone of the PestAvoidance program.
How balanced is your eco-system? Find out by monitoring the kinds of organisms that are crawling around inside your home.
When, within certain locales in such a balanced ecosystem, conditions exist that are devoid of pest nurturants and attractants, those limited locales will often not be troubled by pests at all. This is because (1) pests are only present in low populations throughout such ecosystems, and (2) the remaining areas of the ecosystem are sufficiently nurturing and attracting to keep them satisfied to remain there, but not so nurturing that they enable pest populations to explode, out of control.
Note that two specific conditions must exist for PestAvoidance to take place: first, the ecosystem must be maintained in a balanced state, so that it has a low percentage of pests throughout (usually less than 1%), and second, the target PestAvoidance zone must be devoid of pest nurturants and attractants. Nothing else is needed, most of the time. No pesticides, repellents, pest preventers, pest mitigants, pest growth regulators, or anything else.
Contrariwise, when broad-band poisons are used to kill or repel pests within any kind of ecosystem whatsoever, they destroy or repel that ecosystem’s beneficial organisms as efficiently as they destroy or repel the pests. Since nearly all of today’s pesticides are broad-band, indiscriminate poisons, introducing them into such an ecosystem initiates a vicious cycle, such as we see in the dysfunctional, unbalanced ecosystems of our own making today. That ruinous cycle requires constant pesticide applications to repeatedly wipe out an ever-rebounding endemic pest population. In such ecosystems, the desired balance is reversed, to the point that pests tend to outnumber beneficials by a wide margin.
That’s why PestAvoidance methods avoid the use of broad-band poisons and pesticides. Rather than requiring that we kill, prevent, mitigate, or repel pests, they simply create conditions under which organisms that only become pests when present in large numbers are not inclined toward overpopulation, while pests that are such even in small numbers tend to become naturally habituated elsewhere, and are only rarely, if ever, found within the managed PestAvoidance zone. The process is mediated entirely by the use of mechanical, non-lethal, non-toxic approaches and substances, and ultimately creates relatively large oases that are -– for all intents and purposes -– devoid of pests, much like the small oases found in objectively balanced ecosystems but more expansive.
Benefits of a Balanced Ecosystem
It takes but a little reflection to realize that, in a balanced ecosystem, it is much easier to establish, and maintain, such oases. Even in a dysfunctional, unbalanced ecosystem, things can be turned around and pointed in the right direction by simply using natural, non-toxic habitat modification techniques and substances throughout. Gradually, but inexorably, a desirable balance will be achieved. Then, because the habitat-modified ecosystem neither nurtures nor attracts pest organisms, they will not forage, nest, or even linger there. That, in a nutshell, is what PestAvoidance is all about.