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Environmentally Safe-Pest Control: An Interview with Rick Moskovitz, President of A-Plus Pest Control

By Kristen Bosse

Please describe a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

My wife, Marsha and I started A-Plus Pest Control, Inc. in 1979. We are an environmentally safe, full-service company. The only pests that we do not service are termites and large animals (We do termite inspections, officially called WDIR or Wood Destroying Insect Reports). When we are asked about these issues, we recommend expert partner companies. We also manufacture and distribute a natural line of pesticides and cleaners under the name Plus Natural Enzymes. We sell them on our Plus Natural Enzymes website and in stores. We live by the company motto, " We Do It Like We Live There!"

What is your position at A-Plus Pest Control?

I am the President of A-Plus, which is our service side and the Vice President of Plus Natural; Solutions Worldwide, Inc., our sister products company. Marsha is the President of Plus Natural.

You pride yourselves on being non-toxic and environmentally safe. What are some ways you make sure you follow this philosophy?

First of all, both A-Plus and Plus Natural are independently certified Green by two different organizations, Green America's Green Business Certification and Green Building Connections. The information for these organizations can be found online at http://www.greenamerica.org/greenbusiness and http://www.greenbuildingconnections.com.

These certifications not only cover the pest control & products, but our office practices such as recycling and the fact that I speak at environmental functions and am interviewed on radio and TV regularly about our Green practices and products. I have also been appointed to the Village of Skokie Sustainable Environment Advisory Commission. I also have given lectures at the City of Chicago green building, the Chicago Center for Green Technology. I also testified at the City of Chicago Bedbug Ordinance Hearing in January, 2013.

In the field, my technicians have developed our IPM (Integrated Pest Management) philosophy. This simply means, inspect first, formulate a plan of action and then treat. We might tell a customer to seal a hole or fix a screen on a window. When pesticides are necessary, where we can, we use natural products, including our own Plus Natural Enzymes line. When we need to use regular pesticides, we use the safest and most effective products. We use natural products where we can in all of our service, ants, cockroaches, fleas, flies, bees & wasps, etc. and even bedbugs.

Do the green pest control products work just as well as chemicals used by other pest control companies?

In most cases, the answer is an emphatic yes. There is "Green washing" going on in many places. This means companies that say they are green. We know that our products work in the real, pest control world. Before we put a new product (Plus Natural Enzymes) on the market, we test it for months in our pest control company (A-Plus). Our technicians give us full reports. They are the real experts. I just get to talk about it. In the IPM philosophy, we are allowed to use "real" pesticides if the natural ones don't work. In our business, this has become a rarer occasion.

In general, why is it important to use non-toxic chemicals during these services?

To protect the health of our customers, their kids and pets and the environment. If the products work as well as dangerous chemicals, it is the right thing to use them.

What are the most prevalent pests in Illinois? What is your process like for getting rid of them?

When talking about homes, the answer is definitely ants. This includes common pavement ants, carpenter ants and a variety of others. We use the IPM process as described above.

What are some pest precautions I should be taking as we near the winter season?

The biggest problem in the winter months, especially in cold areas, is mice. A mouse can enter a space of just ¼", the size of a pen or pencil. A rat can enter a space of just ½", the size of a quarter. All of these areas need to be sealed to keep rodents out.

What are some simple ways to avoid the presence of insects/pests in my home?

The best way is to seal the holes in the wall, the gaps under doors and screen the windows & vents. You can read the article I wrote for Pioneer Press in Chicago, called Safe Pest Control, that was reprinted in the Skokie Chamber of Commerce Newsletter on their Website: https://docs.google.com/a/apluspest.com/viewer?url=http://skokiechamber.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/November-2013-Newsletter-Final-11-18-13.pdf.

We also recommend the use of natural repellant pesticides such as cedar oil. In the Chicago area, we offer this perimeter treatment service. See our Plus Natural Enzymes website below.

What's the best way for people to get in contact with you?

Phone: 847-676-3477, Email: rick@apluspest.com, or our websites: www.apluspest.com & www.plusnaturalenzymes.com.

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