How Mosquito Squad Products & Service Can Benefit Plants

Cape Cod Mosquito Squad owner Curtis Felix speaks with Ben Robertson, owner of digital marketing agency Menadena about the benefits to plants when a yard is treated for ticks and mosquitoes with its products which are derived from the flower of the chrysanthemum.

Interview transcript:

Ben Robertson:          Okay. We are recording.

Curt Felix:                  Okay.

Ben Robertson:          All right. Great. So this is Curt Felix and Ben Robertson, and do you want to just say hi so they know it's you?

Curt Felix:                  Yes. This is Curt Felix, and our topic today is Cape Cod Mosquito Squad tick and mosquito treatment and the benefits to plants throughout your yard.

Ben Robertson:          Great.

Curt Felix:                  What advantages this treatment approach may provide to your plants.

Ben Robertson:          Okay.

Curt Felix:                  [Some people think there will be] damage or negative impacts on your plants, and the reality is, it's quite the opposite.

Ben Robertson:          Excellent. Okay, so how does the treatment benefit plants?

Curt Felix:                  So, what we use is nature's insecticide. We're using a material that plants actually make, in particular, the chrysanthemum flower, and chrysanthemums developed an ability to fight off insects by developing its own defense mechanism, which is this material called pyrethrin, or pyrethroids.

Curt Felix:                  We use the chrysanthemum derivative called permethrin, and an encapsulated version.  What that does is that when we spray foliage, ground covers, plants, leaves on trees, and those sorts of things, it actually protects the plants from insects.

Ben Robertson:          Okay.

Curt Felix:                  Little side story. Before I started treating my own yard, two years ago, I did not realize how many fruit trees and fruit-bearing plants that I actually had in my own yard.

Ben Robertson:          Oh, cool.

Curt Felix:                  After we treated, all of the sudden I was finding raspberries that I had never seen before.

Ben Robertson:          Oh, wow.  

Curt Felix:                  Plums that I had never ... I didn't realize I had a plum tree. Our apple trees started to just do incredibly well with significantly more fruit. So my own experience with this was excellent and the yard health in general seemed to be significantly better for our customers.

Ben Robertson:          Wow. That's amazing. I would've never even thought about that.

Curt Felix:                  The other benefit, or at least the other thing that we do treatment for, is gypsy moths. So obviously, that's an infestation where caterpillars attack the leaves of trees, and again, by spraying the trees, we protect that foliage so you don't get defoliated trees that are at risk of dying.

Ben Robertson:          Okay. Now, one question, though. When you spray for anything, any kind of pesticide, a lot of people are concerned about that because they don't necessarily want to eat the fruit that comes from plants that have been sprayed with a pesticide. So are you comfortable eating the fruit that you found in your yard?

Curt Felix:                  Yes and a short explanation. Again, the materials we're using is are approved within three days of harvest.  But keep in mind the term pesticide's a very broad category.

Ben Robertson:          Okay.

Curt Felix:                  It includes materials that are very toxic or potentially toxic to humans, it ranges a whole gamut. Anything that kills pests, for example, soap, bleach, antimicrobial agents, those things are also considered pesticides, but obviously, you're washing your hands with them. And so this is similar. This is more in the medicinal category and something that degrades very quickly after having protected the plants and harvest posing little risk to people.

Ben Robertson:          Okay.

Curt Felix:                  So it's approved for that use. Again, it's non-toxic, it is plant-based.

Ben Robertson:          Okay.

Curt Felix:                  But our procedure is that we don't spray gardens.

Ben Robertson:          Yep.

Curt Felix:                  Unless the customer wants us to treat it, the very first part of the season, because it will help cut down on cutworms, and some other things that could potentially affect the plants.  But we don't spray herbs, we don't spray plants. And once trees, for example, are fruiting out, we leave those alone.

Ben Robertson:          Okay.

Curt Felix:                  [The treatment] basically protected them, and you've got material on the leaves, there's no reason to continue to treat that plant. So, just out of an abundance of caution, we don't spray flowering plants, we don't spray fruit, we don't spray vegetable gardens.

Ben Robertson:          Okay, interesting. So that's all part of the training for the crew?

Curt Felix:                  Right.

Ben Robertson:          Okay, cool. So basically, that's a huge benefit, that you're getting all these fruits that you didn't even know about after you spray. You're protecting the plants, you're protecting the trees from gypsy moths. And you're saying that it's safe for humans even to consume after it's been sprayed within three days of harvest, so overall, that sounds like a huge win for the yard.

Curt Felix:                  Yeah, it is, and what's really amazing is when you see the results. You look at yards that we're treating, and they're just so healthy.

Ben Robertson:          Right. That's amazing. Again, I just never would have even thought about that. Because everybody's like, "I don't want to get bit by mosquitoes or possibly get a disease from ticks." But that's really cool that it's having that effect. So are there any other benefits you want to talk about related to the treatment of the yards, as far as protecting plants?

Curt Felix:                  Yeah, I don't know if we have this as a topic, so I'll mention it here.

Ben Robertson:          Sure.

Curt Felix:                  We can get to it in more depth. But the other feature that's protecting your yard and protecting your house, especially on the Cape, most people have wells from which they get their drinking water.

Ben Robertson:          Oh, yeah.

Curt Felix:                  And those wells are on their properties. And one of the other really protective features of the system is that when we spray the material on foliage, it dries and creates a film. It's not a chemical that will wash off.

Ben Robertson:          Okay.

Curt Felix:                  So that it stays in place providing maximum effectiveness for about 3 weeks.  Sunlight and microbes degrade it so that after about six weeks it begins to break down to carbon dioxide and water so the break down products are inert as well.  While it is in place protecting you and your plants, it is a film on the foliage that does not wash off which also protects your well and the watershed.

Ben Robertson:          Now, what does that mean? I don't fully understand what you mean by how is it protecting the watershed?

Curt Felix:                  Well, if, for example, if you sprayed something that was a chemical, or that would wash off or move around-

Ben Robertson:          Oh, I got it. It's not going into the watershed.

Curt Felix:                  Yes. It could get into the surface runoff, it could get into...

Ben Robertson:          Yes.

Curt Felix:                  Rivers or streams, whatever. Or if it seeps into the ground, it could end up in your well.

Ben Robertson:          Yep.

Curt Felix:                  So this is something that is more like latex, so if you were to take latex and paint a leaf on a tree, it's never going to go anywhere. It just stays there until it degrades.

Ben Robertson:          That's very interesting. And you said that it degrades into carbon dioxide and water?

Curt Felix:                  Yes, UV from the sun and microbes break it down.

Ben Robertson:          So basically, what you're saying is, you can spray this on your yard. It's not going to get into your water, and it's going to help protect your plants from bugs so that they can grow and be healthy and produce fruit and leaves. That all sounds like amazing benefits that I never would've considered for a tick and mosquito control pesticide.

Curt Felix:                  Right.

Ben Robertson:          And it's also approved for agriculture within three days of harvest, so it's not going to harm humans if they choose to eat the fruit.

Curt Felix:                  Right, but again, we don't treat that.

Ben Robertson:          And you don't even spray the fruit, right, once it's evident. Or the flowers.

Curt Felix:                  Right. Once things are growing or once things are food, we don't touch them.

Ben Robertson:          Right. So you're being extra cautious just to make sure that if people do choose to do that, they won't be exposed to anything other than the food that they're eating.

Curt Felix:                  Right. For me, that's kinda the ultimate organic, because you didn't even treat it. There's nothing on there.

Ben Robertson:          Yep. That's great. Well, I think that's a wonderful topic. I had no idea that your products could have all those benefits to help benefit plants.

Curt Felix:                  It's one of those things that wasn't immediately apparent to me, either, until I saw it with my own yard, and then I started to see what was going on with our customers. And everybody was getting the same kind of result.

Ben Robertson:          Yep. Wonderful. Well, I think that about covers it as far as questions, I think we're good to go. Is there anything else you want to add?

Curt Felix:                  No.

Ben Robertson:          All right, cool. Well, I will take this, and we'll roll with it.

Curt Felix:                  Awesome.