The soap suds solution
It was hosted by Steve Tvedten, whom you might call the "Mother Hubbard of Pest Control Operators."
Rather than relying on chemically based protocols, Tvedten - who runs Get Set Inc. from his home in Marne-believes in first exploring less hazardous ways of ridding our world of flies, fleas and their friends.
"When grandma got done doing the dishes," says Tvedten, "she threw the dishwater out onto the garden."
Because grandma was no dummy, says Tvedten, explaining that most the varmints after your peas and tomatoes can't tolerate the soap in soapsuds.
In our frenzied quest for quick and easy ways to control our world, through, we've lost our grasp on home made formulas which might require a little more work but probably work just a swell and provide greater measures of safety.
That's Tvedten spiel when he hits the road, to lecturing to schools and other institutions about options they should consider when it comes to eradicating pests.
His presentations are anything but boring, often laced with humor and hype. "Lady asked me the best way to get rid of lice," Tvedten recalls, "so I told her, go stand naked for five minutes on a hot day in downtown Phoenix."
It conjures up some interesting scenery. But there's a scientific side to his proposition: Lice die, he says, if exposed to five minutes of temperatures 124.5 Fahrenheit or greater.
Safe, homemade methods
Realistically, Tvedten suggests that victims of lice hang out in a hot sauna, or at least try a shampoo called "Not Nice To Lice." But he loathes the prospect of using kerosene or some of the supposedly" safe" over -the- counter shampoos casually recommended by doctors and nurses, citing chemicals which he says can do more harm than good.
Got moles? Tvedten says you can hardly beat lit charcoal briquettes. Just insert in the critters' tunnels, and the burning coals will suck oxygen while giving off deadly carbon monoxide.
Ants? Combine 1 part active yeast, 2 parts molasses and 1 part sugar. Mix well and drop by the teaspoonful onto small paper squares. Place along ant trails, where ants will eat the mixture. The yeast produces gas in their bellies and causes them to, um, explode.
Mice? Fill a deep pail with water and coat the top with Cocoa Puffs. When Mickey and Minnie jump into what they think is a sugary smorgasbord, they'll wish they'd worn PFDs.
Tvedten knows he's a maverick among other pest control operators, especially those who routinely resort to chemical sprays and powders.
Poison has its place
Their criticism doesn't faze him. "If I'm talking with another (operator) I'll ask him if he's trying to control pests or sell poison. If he's trying to sell poison, we've got nothing to talk about. If he's trying to control pests, we can talk."
Tvedten doesn't discount entirely the use of chemicals. "But if you do something more than twice and it doesn't work, don't do it anymore, "he says of powerful agents that can cause reaction in humans and pets.
He regards his detractors' rebuttals as veiled attempts to resist needed change for the sake of profit.
"At one point in time, you wouldn't have thought of buying a furnace unless it was wrapped in asbestos," he says.
Tvedten holds a degree in business administration. With regards to pest control, he's largely self-taught. His brochures, as well as a book he's written --- "The Best Control"---are available through the Internet, at www.getipm.com.
You'll find some of his 1,500 recipes for success there, too, with ingredients as far-flung as garlic, hot pepper sauce, vinegar, banana peels, Borax, basil and apple jelly. Some might particularly enjoy one of his solutions for fire ants. It involves drinking beer. -
(some emphasis added)