Carpet and Rug Institute President Werner Braun talks about how CRI-member manufacturer Mannington Mills uses birds to keep the bugs out of their products in his September 14, 2012 column titled Novel idea is for the birds for Dalton, Georgia’s Daily-Citizen newspaper.
Mannington, which is based in Salem, N.J., manufactures various forms of hard surface floors as well as carpet. Located in southern New Jersey, Salem is home to one of the nation’s largest tidal wetlands, and is, as you might imagine, a major breeding ground for mosquitos. Always a nuisance to employees, sometime during the mid-1980s the mosquitos started showing up in the flooring products, as the insects that flew into the manufacturing facility became embedded in the still-wet surface finish of the flooring products. The mosquitoes needed to be stopped.
“Using pesticides to rid the area of mosquitoes was certainly one option, but many Mannington associates became convinced that there were more natural methods to rid the area of mosquitoes than using pesticides.
That’s when they decided to “invite” the purple martins to come to their aid. Purple martins are birds that migrate from Brazil to the United States each summer, and they eat massive amounts of insects.
But because purple martins east of the Rocky Mountains are entirely dependent upon man-made houses, the company needed to make them “feel at home” by installing special houses for them adjacent to their manufacturing buildings.
While the process of attracting the birds took some time, over the years, the population of purple martins has grown considerably.
By 2001, there were 42 nests, 132 eggs and 104 youngsters at the site. By August of this year, that number has grown to 96 nests, 429 eggs and 383 youngsters.
It turns out that this site is now home to one of the largest concentrations of purple martins in New Jersey. And the birds, along with the continuing use of screens and bug-proof entries, have helped achieve the company’s goal of reducing the insect population.
Mannington believes that the “Purple Martin Project” has proven to be one of the most environmentally friendly and cost effective ways to deal with the insects.
I would have to agree. They came up with a win-win solution that is pretty darn creative in my book.”
If you'd like to learn more, we invite you to read Mannington's blog article titled Fall’s Here, So Bye, Bye Birdies (but only for a bit!).
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