These days, there are plenty of online resources and companies to buy chemicals from if you decide to tackle your pest problem on your own. However, there is a good deal of risk involved with this route. The following article looks at the pros and cons of DIY pest management.
Pros of Do It Yourself Pest Control
The main reason people opt to take pest control into their own hands is money. It obviously is far cheaper to buy chemicals on your own and not pay the associated labor costs. What’s more, professional pest management is oftentimes an ongoing process, with return visits and monthly maintenance appointments, particularly if you are dealing with an infestation.
Another apparent advantage, particularly for the ecologically conscious, is that you can choose your own products. Generally speaking, you are not going to be aware of what chemicals the pest control technician is using unless you ask. And even then you’re not guaranteed an accurate answer. It is also possible certain customers doubt the efficacy of the products the pest control company uses. In that case a DIY approach allows them to choose their own chemicals as they see fit.
One last advantage do it yourselfers cite is that they are 100% aware of where all chemicals, bait, and traps have been set in their homes. This is often not so with professional technicians. Unless you walk through the house with them during their entire visit every time, you are not going to know where all the pesticides have been placed. This is clearly more of an issue for those with small children, family members with cognitive disabilities, and pets.
Do It Yourself Pest Control: The Natural Approach
Before handling chemicals and baits you may be unfamiliar with, we recommend you first try to tackle your pest problem with natural insect killing solutions and repellants. The following household items can oftentimes be useful managing an infestation, and will not be harmful to you and your loved ones.
You can keep ants out of your house by sprinkling coffee grounds around access points such as doors and windowsills. You can also mix sodium borate with sugar water in small cups, then cover the cups with plastic wrap and poke holes with a toothpick. The ants will be lured in by the smell. Finally, mixing 2 tablespoons of tea tree oil with a cup of any grain alcohol in a spray bottle creates an effective mist you can apply throughout the house.
Repelling roaches is a relatively easy process. Just fill saucers with ½ cup of beer and place them at roach entry points throughout the house.
There are several essential oils you can use to repel this particularly annoying – and potentially dangerous considering the many diseases they can spread – flying nuisance. As with the ant spray, combine one cup of grain alcohol with any of the following oils in a spray bottle:
- Lemon Eucalyptus
- Tea Tree
Getting rid of these nightmarish creatures is as simple as mixing vinegar and water. Combine equal parts in a spray bottle and apply to wall cracks, or any other possible entrance points. The essential oil/grain alcohol trick also works if you use peppermint.
Fruit flies are a particular stubborn nuisance, especially to those that run bars or restaurants. While pinpointing the source of the infestation can be incredibly difficult in a commercial setting, at home it is considerably simpler. Just fill a glass with two inches of apple cider vinegar, cover the top with plastic wrap, and poke holes with a toothpick. The sweet smell will attract them.
Now that we’ve graduated into mammals things get a little more difficult. The first step to taking care of a rat problem on your own is to inspect your home to find out exactly where the rat(s) are. Next you must make it as difficult as possible for rats to get into your home. Rats can crawl through holes of ½ inches. So all openings that size or greater must be properly sealed. Also sanitation is key in stopping future rat or mice problems before they start.
Keeping in line with the natural approach, the final step is setting rat traps. Place many traps around high activity areas such as behind appliances and furniture, along walls, and anywhere you see droppings. Use traps designed to shelter the rat to lure them in as rats like enclosed spaces.
Trapping rats instead of poisoning them means you know where the rat is for disposal, and it is not decaying somewhere secret that you have to discover. However, as rats are wary of new objects in their environment, trapping can be a long and less effective process than using poison. This brings us to DIY pest control using non-natural methods, like professional insecticides and rodenticides, to get deal with your problem.
Do It Yourself Pest Control With Professional Products
Nowadays, there is a wealth of online information and support for those wishing to pursue a pest management strategy on their own using the same professional-grade equipment and chemicals major pest control companies do. This often comes in the form of instruction on insect and rodent identification, steps on the proper places to spray and set traps, advice on purchasing equipment and pesticide, and training in overall pest management strategies.
If you have the time and are up for the challenge, there’s no doubt the information is out there to help you successfully deal with any pest problem you might have. However, there are some significant downsides, and you must decide if saving money is worth the risk.
Cons of Do It Yourself Pest Control
At the end of the day, despite all the information available, you are not a trained professional. Mishandling harmful chemicals can result in property damage and injury to family members. Pest control technicians do nothing but diagnose and treat pest control problems for a living. They are certain of the products they are using and how to correctly use them given the type of infestation.
What’s more, they are much more familiar with the signs of harder to find infestations, not to mention the tricks of where to appropriately treat the premises to get the best results. The rodents or insects you can see may just be the ones straying from the nest. As a layman you’ll never know this. A professional will.
Some pests are actually dangerous. Bees and wasps can be fatal to those with certain types of allergies. Ticks can carry encephalitis and Lyme disease. Bites from spiders like the Brown Recluse and Black Widow can be life threatening. The average person usually does not know how to identify any of these. Also, wildlife such as snakes, bats, and raccoons can become dangerous if cornered. When catch and release is preferable, you must have the skills and protection to carry it out properly.
Finally do it yourself pest control comes with no guarantee. Many professional pest control companies offer some kind of agreement to return for free if the problem has not been handled the first time.
Do it yourself pest control can be a viable option if you have enough time to study the appropriate resources. But if that’s too much of a hassle for you, take a look at our Top Ten Pest Control Companies of this year.