Harsh chemicals and pest extermination don’t have to go hand in hand, especially now that so many natural products are available for exterminators to use, explains Carl Shaw. Shaw is the owner of Critter and Pest Defense in Orlando, and a critter control specialist who uses as many eco-friendly products as possible in his business. “Being an eco-friendly company means that we are responsible for the products that we choose to use in people’s homes,” he says. “And some of those include natural products that are made out of earth-friendly materials.” Among the natural treatments that Shaw uses when getting rid of pests in people’s homes and offices is an “instant kill” product called pyrethrum that is made from chrysanthemum flowers. “The chrysanthemum flowers are straight from Mother Earth, so the product is totally safe to use in most household situations,” Shaw explains. The way many natural pest control products work is by targeting the toxins to kill only the type of insects they are designed to get rid of. “In the case with the pyrethrum instant kill product, it turns out that the chrysanthemum flower is toxic to bugs but not humans,” Shaw explains. By finding a way to concentrate the chrysanthemum plant and turn it into pyrethrum insecticide, the companies that make this product were able to create a completely natural insecticide that is harmful only to bugs and not children or pets. The way that the creators of natural insecticides are able to formulate their products is by targeting their agents toward the chemical makeup of insects rather than that of humans. “Our bodies and pests’ bodies are made up of two different things,” Shaw explains. “They have exoskeletons and we are vertebrates.” The companies making natural insecticides have been able to create a chemical that targets the exoskeleton makeup of bugs specifically, without harming humans. “Since the natural solution that we spray is targeted at pests and not vertebrates, it is safe for pets, kids, and even birds—which are typically the most sensitive of all the pets a family could have,” Shaw says. Of course, Shaw cautions that people should never get any closer to pest control chemicals—even eco-friendly varieties—than they have to, especially when they are in a concentrated form. Families who need critter control in Orlando are much better off calling a pest exterminator to handle the job, because even natural pest remedies can be dangerous if people who are not experts start trying to handle these products and chemicals. When it comes to keeping pets and small children safe during an extermination process, there are a couple of things that Shaw recommends that families do. Firstly, he says that families should remove themselves from the home during the extermination and get their pets out of the house as well. “This is especially important when you start talking about flea treatments,” he says. One of the reasons that families have to get themselves out of the home during a flea treatment application is because the chemicals used have to be sprayed over every area of the premises in order for the process to be effective. “Those chemicals are meant to be used that way, so there is no way to make the environment safe for families to be in,” Shaw insists. Even the Orlando critter control specialists themselves have to wear face masks during a flea treatment to prevent the potential ingestion of dangerous chemicals. After the spraying portion of a flea treatment is done, Shaw explains that an exterminator will leave the house sealed for a period of time while the chemical sits and settles. “Pets, children, and parents need to be out of the home for at least four hours after a flea treatment,” he explains. And because flea treatments usually cover the full home, families should not expect to be able to hang out in one area of the house while another area is being treated. No matter what type of infestation has occurred in a home, Shaw explains that there is usually some way to treat it using natural remedies. Exterminators have access to a number of eco-friendly chemicals that are unavailable to everyday consumers, so it is always recommended that homeowners call a pest control specialist rather than try to handle any potential infestation problems on their own.