Jena Ball couldn't sleep—the noise was deafening and keeping her awake night after night. The racket wasn't coming from the next door neighbors, but instead was emanating from inside her condo wall. "It was bizarre," says Ball.
But even more bizarre was what was causing the sound. "Turns out, a hive of big black bees had bored into the outside walls of my unit," says Ball. "There were so many, the wall was actually warm to the touch. When the maintenance company found out, they sent in a special bee swat team. Apparently there are two varieties of these particular bees—one is noisy but harmless, but the other is very aggressive and their sting is toxic."
Ball was lucky—her bees were of the harmless variety, but the story is still frightening. Whether you are living in a condo in Japan or in the suburbs of Chicago, pests are an inevitable nuisance that can damage both landscapes and homes. Whether it's raccoons causing mayhem amongst your trash cans, termites lunching on your clubhouse, birds using your adjacent golf course as their own porta-potty, or deer grazing placidly on your meticulously-groomed grounds, it's a year-round task to keep pests away and property intact.
In this case, keeping pests away can sometimes be as dangerous as having them around. You and your family can become exposed to the pesticides just like the bugs you’re trying to kill. According to studies by the Environmental Protection Agency, various pesticides have been shown to cause eye, skin and respiratory problems, allergic reactions, headaches, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle weakness, and more, among humans.
“What wasn’t evaluated years ago was the exposure risk to pets and children and the persistence of chemicals in the environment,” says Steven Bessette, president and founder of EcoSMART Technologies in Atlanta.