Pest control companies are adding more green products to their repertoire.

On average, 21.3 percent of pest control products used by companies in the past year were natural, botanical, organic or eco-friendly, found the 2021 PCT State of the Naturals Market survey. In the 2019 survey, the average was 17.1 percent.

More than half (55 percent) of PMPs said green products typically were used for preventive treatments. Nearly half (47 percent) said they were the primary means of controlling pests, up from 37 percent in 2019.

Green products, however, generally come with a learning curve, which means they simply can’t be swapped in for conventional pesticides. “The botanicals don’t quite work the same way that a standard synthetic would for prevention,” cautioned Matt Eickman, Abra Kadabra Environmental Services.

Botanical products typically act as repellents. They also break down faster in the environment, providing a shorter residual.

“One of the attractive features of these products is that they are not persistent in the environment, so that means frequent applications to get a satisfactory result,” said Dean Trevisol, Nozzle Nolen.

They do kill on contact. Botanicals have “a really good knock-down initially, better than a lot of synthetics in most cases,” said Eickman, who has used them successfully for cockroach cleanouts.

For some, the odor of botanical products remains a deterrent to indoor use. Manufacturers, however, “have been able to manage the aromatics of them a little bit better” over the years, pointed out Darren Van Steenwyk, director of learning and technical services at Clark Pest Control.

Industry attitudes about green products are evolving. Nearly half (47 percent) of PMPs said they’d choose a green product over a traditional pesticide if both were proven to be equally effective.

And 31 percent of PMPs thought manufacturers have done a good job developing green products to meet the specific needs of the professional pest management industry.