Do Professional Exterminators Use Better Pesticides?
The value of a better mouse trap...
Sometimes in the world of pest control, as with many things in life, having a better mouse trap can make all the difference. But do professional exterminators actually use better pesticides and other pest control products than we can find on the shelves at our local hardware store, or are professional pest control companies just charging a premium to do what we could do ourselves?
Are their pest control products better?
We now live in a world of unrivaled access, where most of us can get just about anything we want with a few clicks of a button. The same can be said of most professionally-used pest control products. The overwhelming majority of pesticides used by professional exterminators today are classified as "general use pesticides," most of which are available for sale to individuals on sites like Amazon and elsewhere, but probably not sitting on the shelves at your local hardware store. Although unlicensed individuals are typically prohibited from applying most of these products commercially or on properties other than their own, the access to these products remains for aspiring do-it-yourself pest controllers.
Some pest control products, however, such as those designated as "restricted use pesticides," have stricter regulations governing how, where, and to whom those products can be sold. These products might be used for structural or commodity fumigations, large-scale rodent elimination, and a number of other applications. These particular products may only be available to professionally licensed exterminators. But again, the overwhelming majority of pesticides being used by most professional exterminators for most pest control applications are among the same products readily available to unlicensed individuals wishing to do their own pest control treatments. So for the most part, professional exterminators probably aren't using products that are "better" than what you could conceivably use on your own.
The better question might be this...
Do professional exterminators use better pesticides, or do they just use the same pesticides, better? In theory, it might seem fantastic that any of us can get our hands on most of the same products that professional exterminators use. But the reality is the effectiveness of any pesticide is far less about the quality of the pesticide itself than it is about the quality of the pesticide applicator.
Consider the prospect of changing out a ceiling fan, for example. In today's world of access, we can all probably acquire the same tools, equipment, and wiring that a professional electrician would be likely to use. The bigger question, however, is what do we do with all of this equipment once we have it? If we still don't know how to safely disconnect the old fan and re-install the new, all the professional equipment in the world doesn't amount to much of anything. The same is true in pest control. Having access to professional-grade products is only a small part of the process. Knowing what to do with those products is a far more significant consideration.
Are some pest control products "better" than others?
Sure. But of course "better" is relative and subjective. Certainly some pesticides work better for certain types of pests and in certain sets of circumstances than others. Varying concentrations of Active Ingredient can impact how effective one pesticide might be in relation to another, and the combination of Inert Ingredients will impact the products acceptability, longevity, durability, and much more. In many instances, pesticides sitting on the shelf at the local hardware store contain lower concentrations of the same Active Ingredient, sometimes making them comparatively less effective.
But while variances in the quality of pest control products exist, so too do variances in the quality of professional exterminators...and it is these variances that are far more likely to determine the effectiveness of any potential pest control program.
Our Top 3 Pest Control Considerations...
- Which products a professional exterminator may use (and whether or not you have access to those same products) should be far less of a consideration than your confidence in their capacity to properly assess your situation and select the combination of products optimally suited for rapid, safe, ongoing pest relief.
- Effective pest control is only partly dependent upon pesticide product selection. A skilled pest control technician is generally able to resolve a pest problem using many different product options. When considering a do-it-yourself pest control approach, don't lose sight of the importance of educating yourself as to how different products are designed to impact the specific pests you're dealing with, and understanding the behavioral tendencies of those pests. Having the right products without knowing what to do with them won't service you very well.
- The best pest control companies put customer education as their top priority, and understand that the more you know about pest control the easier their job will be. Ask lots and lots of questions along the way. There is no shame in hiring a professional exterminator, and many of the people who end up as long-time pest control customers began with an unsuccessful do-it-yourself pest control approach.