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Savista, at Village Sanjharia, Off Ajmer Road, Jaipur 302042, Rajasthan

To spray or not to spray?

Marrying hospitality and sustainability is easier some days than others. Sometimes it is a matter of choosing one product over another.  Or reading labels carefully. Or paying a little bit more for organic or local products.  But then at other times, the decision is a bit harder, and opting for the sustainable solution can result in some loss of business.

Rajasthan’s monsoon season this year was longer and more intense than usual.  Although, in normal years, the rainy season is one of the nicest times of year in Rajasthan – occasional cooling showers, cloudy skies, gorgeous weather – the heavier than usual rains and consequent heightened humidity this year made for a more-fecund-than-usual insect population.  And, particular to this post, brown-grasshoppers-with-green-stripes.   During a week and a half over July/August, insects swarmed around, led by these grasshoppers.  And at the end of this period, as suddenly as they arrived, they were gone.

 Most homeowners are aware that at certain times of the year, you are at risk of an invasion by different forms of insect life. But truth be told, these are not issues that guests are willing to put up with while on holiday.
Our brown-grasshoppers-with-green-stripes (which were more like suicide bombers than lowly insects) catapulted themselves at any doors and windows through which they could see light. They didn’t manage to get into the rooms (because we kept all doors closed), but we did have to suffer their presence in open spaces that were proximate to lighted rooms. Each evening for that week and a half, after the sun went down, hundreds of them would appear in the courtyard, and jump and fling themselves against the glass until they met their death. But the wonderful silver lining was that, come morning, our deceased invaders were oh so neatly cleaned up by starlings who roamed the courtyard to feast on the readily available food.Now, change and flux with the seasons is very natural. But when one is meant to be serving guests a relaxing and elegant experience, these two are not mutually exclusive. We are then faced with a dilemma.  Do we eliminate these creatures, using sprays and chemicals as other hotels and hospitality centers would do?  Such an action is in direct violation of our commitment to an environmental code of ethics.  So are we then to close our doors to guests?  Or do we allow visitors, and claim that because of our all-natural approach and our respect for the surprises that nature brings, we all (guests included) simply have to deal with such pests?

It seems to me that we are in a bit of a pickle:  Either we hamper our guests’ experience, because not all visitors would appreciate acting with such restraint in terms of biological pest control.  Or we turn away guests, because they won’t get the real Savista experience.

We simply cannot control the influx of grasshoppers flying over the haveli walls and into the courtyard. But we can limit the use of  lights, which serves to attract fewer of our grasshopper friends.  This is what we did this year: use of minimal electric lights in the rooms and open spaces and, in their place, plenty of oil-lit lamps and candles.

I defer to our readers- past and potential guests alike: should we accept natural fluxes and expect our guests to do so also? Or make an exception and use chemical pest sprays?

Here are links that expose the harms of conventional chemical pest sprays:

Inform yourselves!  And share a guests perspective with the Team at Savista!