How to Do Your Own Pest Control Treatment
Should you do your own pest control?
Before jumping into our step by step guide for how to do your own pest control treatment, we encourage you to pause briefly to consider whether or not doing your own pest control is really a good idea. At Pest Control Everything, we happen to believe that just because you can do something, doesn't necessarily mean you should do it, and pest control often falls into that category for us. The reality is that not everybody is adequately equipped or prepared to be able to make pest control treatments safely, effectively, and environmentally conscientiously.
A few questions to consider before doing your own pest control treatment
- Are you treating in order to eliminate an existing pest problem, or as a means of preventative pest control? The process of getting rid of existing pest populations is generally far more targeted than preventative pest control treatments, which are geared towards maintaining an overall pest-free environment. If you are dealing with an active pest infestation, it's a good idea to spend some time researching the particular type of pest to determine which products and treatment approaches might work best. Pest Control Everything's How-To Guides offer guidance on how to treat for many types of common pests. If you are unsure how to proceed, our Exterminator Search Tool can connect you to licensed professionals in your area ready to provide free pest control quotes.
- What is the long-term objective with your pest control treatment? Are you intending to do your own pest control treatments on an ongoing basis, or is this a one time, live-in-the-moment kind of mission? Remember that short-term pest control strategies almost always yield short term pest protection results, whether using a professional exterminator or doing your own pest control services.
- Do you have, or are you willing to invest in various pest control application equipment? Some pesticide products (such as pesticide concentrates) require specialized equipment to properly apply, while other pesticides come in ready-to-use formulations such as baits, aerosols, or foams. Your do-it-yourself pest control strategy will to some extent be dictated by which pesticide application equipment you may have at your disposal. At a minimum, those serious about a long-term approach to doing their own pest control should consider a one gallon pesticide sprayer that allows them to make exterior spray applications around the foundation of the home. If you're wanting to spray like the pest control pros, the B&G One Gallon Sprayer is as good as it gets, and the $300 or so price tag reflects that. For a more economical option, the Solo 4 Gallon Backpack Sprayer is another excellent option, with quadruple the capacity for a quarter of the cost.
- Do you have, or are you willing to get the minimum essential pest control safety equipment? Keep in mind that all pesticides, by definition, are toxic. Regardless of which pesticide products or pesticide formulations you choose to use, you will want to make sure you and those around you are shielded from exposure. Chemical resistant gloves, protective eyewear, and a respirator are the bare minimum for most pesticide applications.
- Have you corrected any potential contributing factors? It goes without saying that the best approach to maintaining a pest-free environment is to keep pests from ever showing up in the first place. And the best way to do this is to eliminate any factors or conducive conditions that might lend themselves to a pest population. On the inside, sanitation is the key. On the outside, keeping the environment free from debris and pest harborage areas is also critical. If the environment inside the home is cluttered and unsanitary, and the environment outside the home is overgrown and unkempt, any type of pest control treatment is likely to have a limited impact. Before you begin to do your own pest control treatment, be sure to clean inside the home and modify the exterior environment around it.
How to do your own preventative pest control treatment
1. Monthly Exterior Inspection
The foundation of doing your own pest control service is going to center around routine inspections around the exterior of the home. Your inspections will determine what kind of pesticide treatments, if any, may be warranted. It can be easy to forget that pesticide applications in the absence of pests serve no meaningful purpose whatsoever. Hopefully your objective is not to turn your entire yard into a dead zone incapable of sustaining any life forms, but rather simply to provide a pest-free environment for you and your family to enjoy. Only a tiny fraction of life forms in the environment rise to the level of becoming pests, and our pest control efforts should reflect this conscientiousness.
During you inspections, look for evidence of pest activity in areas of concern, with special attention given to around doors, windows, utility penetrations, settlement cracks, eaves, and other potential points of entry into the home. Inspect gutters and downspouts to make sure they are functioning properly and are free of debris. Check to make sure all foliage is begin maintained, with no branches or limbs making any contact with the home or the roofline above. Inspect water spigots and sprinkler systems for blockages, backups, and leaks. Inspect bushes and trees for insect populations, and pay special attention to the areas around tree trunks which often become harboring areas for many species of ants and other insects.
2. Routine Quarterly Pesticide Applications
If your monthly inspections discover active populations of pests, pesticide applications may be warranted more frequently. In the absence of discernible pests, however, applications probably won't need to be made more often than about once a quarter. If your monthly inspections are good enough, you may even be able to spread out your treatment intervals even further. Although pesticide applications in the absence of pests serve no meaningful purpose, it is also important to recognize that many pest populations may not be easily observed until their populations have become problematic. For this reason, we typically advise routine pesticide applications every 90 days or so in most environments as a means of preventing pest populations from advancing or new pest species from moving into the area.
Which products should you use for routine preventative pest control? For strictly preventative pest control, in the absence of any discernible pest problems, a broad spectrum insecticide such as Talstar One (liquid concentrate, requires dilution in water with a separate pesticide sprayer) or Talstar PL (insecticide granule, no mixing required, requires granule spreader). containing Bifenthrin will provide effective control of most commonly encountered pest species. It may also be advisable to acquired a couple different pesticide products with different active ingredients so that you can rotate them periodically throughout the year. When applying pesticide products, be sure to follow all application instructions as provided on the product label. The label will indicate where to apply, how far away from the home you should apply, and other important application instructions.
Common Do It Yourself Pest Control Questions
Q. Should I spray for bugs outside my house every month even if I'm not seeing any bugs? Well, know this...spraying pesticides in the absence of pests serves no meaningful purpose whatsoever. In fact, it is largely irresponsible, both for a homeowner and for professional pest control companies. Unless there are pest populations in the environment, or you have reason to believe they will soon be introduced to that environment, monthly applications are typically ill-advised. Depending on your geography and the overall pest pressure in your area, routine pesticide applications are usually important at certain intervals, but monthly is generally far more often than what is necessary. As a general rule, in the absence of discernible pest populations, we recommend routine exterior pesticide applications at quarterly intervals.
Q. Will applying granule insecticides around the outside of the house get rid of the ants I'm seeing inside the house? Possibly, but probably not. If you've got an active infestation of ants inside the home, the best approach will be a specialized strategy targeting the specific ants species in question. Usually that may require some combination of ant baits or ant sprays. It is often possible to resolve ant problems inside the home through exterior applications, but granular insecticides are typically not the best option for that.
Q. Will spraying all the baseboards in my house keep bugs out? Once upon a time (like back in the stone ages), a common practice was to routinely spray baseboards as part of an ongoing pest control program. For the most part, those days have long since come and gone. Spraying inside your home may kill any bugs that may now be present, and may kill any others that come into the area, but is unlikely to actually keep any thing out. To keep bugs from getting in, focus your attention outside the home.