Kill a Bug, Spare the Planet

cockroach1.jpg When faced with the prospect of a cockroach-infested home, even the most eco-conscious among us might throw our principles out the window. Something about stepping into the shower and being greeted by a creepy crawler unleashes a primal desire to kill — and this nearly always involves using poisons and toxic chemicals. On a larger scale, while public outcry against the use of pesticides in agriculture grows every year, the farmer helplessly watching insects wipe out his livelihood clearly has a very different take on things. Inside and outside, pests are a problem.

Luckily, there?’s an alternative to uncorking that Raid bomb: non-toxic pest control. SpringStar, a nine-year-old start-up based outside of Seattle, has developed an array of earth-friendly products for home and agricultural use that are built around natural insect attractants and adhesive traps instead of poisons. Specific traps are available for everything from cockroaches to mosquitoes to garden slugs.

The traps don’?t always kill — depending on the nature of the insect, beneficial ones (such as Asian ladybugs) are spared, while more onerous ones (fleas) meet ?a sticky end,? according to the product? literature. A few products are even designed to attract more (good) bugs, such as the ?Fruit Booster,? which mimics the queen bee pheromone to attract more beneficial honeybees.

SpringStar? founder Michael Banfield first got into the field in the late 1990s. When other companies were looking to ban pesticides altogether, Banfield instead focused on natural bacteria-based fungicides and pheromone-based insect attractants to control pests without harming the environment.

As another sign that green industry now involves more than just producing an earth-friendly product, SpringStar says that all of its disposable products are either recyclable or compostable, and everything is developed and manufactured here in the U.S. Other than hitting that cockroach with your shoe, they may well be offering the greenest way to keep pests under control.

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