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At Universal, one of our core company values is to effectively eliminate pest problems while making the smallest possible impact on the surrounding natural environment. My team and I believe that all humans are stewards of the environment, charged with protecting and preserving it to the extent that we can.

In the field of pest control, this sometimes means seeking out non-toxic methods whenever possible. It doesn’t necessarily mean always using “green” products, as some of those varieties can actually be even more damaging to the environment than a traditional chemical product.

As I noted in a previous blog post, “…a lower dose of synthetics, used once, may be more environmentally responsible on the whole than botanicals that require repeated applications.”

In my quest to remain as eco-friendly as possible, I try to stay up on all the latest research and innovations. This week, I was absolutely fascinated by an article about a radical new pest treatment that uses something that might be sitting in your fridge right now: mushrooms.

I have heard of mushrooms being touted as immunity powerhouses in the past, but have never seen or heard of them being used to treat pests.

Here’s how it works…

Usually, mushroom spores repel insects. Intrepid mycologist Paul Stamets has developed a new type of patented mushroom that has been “trained” to attract insects instead.

After the insect has ingested the mushroom, the fungi sporulate (or sprout) inside the insect, effectively “mummifying” the bug and eventually bursting forth from its body.


Talk about a work-around!

There are several items to consider before widespread implementation could occur, of course. How can we control the growth of the mushrooms so that they don’t become an invasive species, wreaking havoc on insect populations wholesale? While ants, mosquitoes, flies, and other pests are annoying or even dangerous to have in your home, they are all an integral part of the natural environment’s balance.

Paul seems to agree.

According to Healthy Holistic Living, “He…ensures that the strain [of mushroom] he creates through this process is trained to harm only targeted insects. This is very important to Paul. He says, ‘We do not wage war against insects. We just want to protect our homes, crops or bees without causing collateral harm to the ecosystem.’”

If you’re curious to learn more about Paul and his various mushroom-related innovations (and there are several!) you can check out his website here.

Right now, the pesticide is pending approval by the EPA. If it doesn’t pass it may be dead in the water, which would be a huge blow to the planet, in my opinion. However, Paul’s invention is so disruptive it stands to put many pesticide companies out of business…companies with deep pockets and love of lobbyists.

(Paul is clearly an ardent believer in the power of mushrooms, and gave a fascinating TED Talk on “The 6 Ways Mushrooms Can Save the World” back in 2008. If you’ve got about 20 minutes, it’s worth a listen.)

If there are any further developments with this innovative technology, you can be sure I’ll be writing about it here. Stay tuned.

And, if you’re struggling with a pest control problem of your own, give us a call at 386-673-1557. We’ll do whatever we can to help.

Todd Stebleton is the owner and operator of Universal Pest Control, a family-owned business for over 25 years in Ormond Beach, Florida. He and his wife Natalie are proud to have built a company focused on conducting business with honesty and integrity: keeping customers first, protecting the environment, and providing trustworthy, personal service.

Universal: Honest, Environmentally Friendly Pest Control