See a crawling cockroach and your natural instinct may be to grab a spray can and saturate the roach until all antenna movement ceases.
You sigh, relieved that the encounter is over.
But it really is not, says Bill Ezzo, a professional exterminator.
Dangerous poisons float into the air or remain on the floor and wall, where children and pets can touch them.
Ezzo promotes a safer, natural approach to the bug battle, one that doesn’t start with an aerosol can.
“You have to think like a roach to control them,” said Ezzo, owner of Earth’s Best Pest Management, who took a course at Queens College in New York in which the professor came to class dressed as a roach.
Use a flashlight, get down on your knees, Ezzo said. Go where they go.
Cupboards, kitchen sink pipes, flaps of cereal boxes. “They love the glue,” Ezzo said.
Then arm yourself with information instead of poisons. Roaches love moist areas. Keep pipes dry by wrapping them in steel wool. Put cereal in plastic containers.
Ezzo gave his tips of natural mesa pest control Monday night at Republic Health Foods on N Dale Mabry Highway. Usually, the store hosts seminars on such topics as protecting yourself from pollution or building up the immune system.
Monday night, it was roaches, ants and fleas.
“Every time they spray my apartment, I feel poisoned,” said Sheila Hunt of Carrollwood. “There must be an alternative.”
Her German shepherd, Butterscotch, once had fleas. Sprays and flea bombs made Hunt only more ill. But boric acid from the laundry aisle of the grocery store got rid of Butterscotch’s itching permanently.
Similar methods may exist for the roaches in her apartment, Hunt thought.
They do, Ezzo told her. Any bug can be controlled naturally, he said. Grain insects in your flour? Put the container in the freezer. The sudden change from hot to cold kills them. Roaches? Get out the vacuum.
“Physically take them out,” he said.
Wasps? Wait for the queen to leave, then pry the nest off with a screwdriver and step on the nest.
Ladybugs can get rid of unwanted insects in the garden. Certain types of nematodes, microscopic worms, also can be used. They’re bought in dry pellets and when attached to a hose pipe come alive and swim into the lawn to kill pesky bugs.
Boric acid seeps into a flea’s ventricles and destroys an enzyme that helps it digest its food. The bug starves to death, Ezzo said.
The remains of a single-cell algae, mined from the sea and sold in a powder form called diatomaceous earth, nicks insects’ exoskeletons and dehydrates them.
These methods are safer for the environment and people, Ezzo said, whose New Port Richey company provides the service throughout the bay area.
“We have to think about what we are doing now,” Anna Gervait said. “Who knows how all those additives will affect us in 20 years.”