The last thing any homeowner wants to deal with is an unwanted household pest. Roaches, bed bugs, termites, rodents, and more each bring their own set of problems and damage to both homes and health. Our first instinct is to get rid of these pests quickly and we often go for a DIY route. But what should you know before you dive into DIY pest control?
DIY vs professional pest control is a common debate. One of the most important factors that goes into pest control decisions is cost. Although DIY products typically cost much less then commercial products, they can ultimately cost more in the long run. Most DIY pest control methods are reactive – they aren’t applied until a pest problem is already established. Professional pest control provides preventative treatments to help stop infestations before they start. Even though you may save money on the products, you may end up spending significantly more in treatment and repair costs down the road.
Other factors that go into pest control decisions include effectiveness, expertise, safety, and guarantee. DIY products typically work as “spot treatments,” encompassing a small area where the problem is. They don’t usually cover a large area nor last long enough to control a full blown infestation. Professional products are designed for large scale use, getting into places you may not see pests such as inside walls, crawlspaces, and foundations. Proper identification of the pest you are treating for is critical to elimination. While pest control products are labeled with easy-to-follow instructions, professional pest control technicians are equipped with the most up-to-date technology and techniques to help eliminate a pest infestation. The same is true for safety. DIY products can contain chemicals which are hazardous for humans and/or pets. They may also contain chemicals that the average homeowner isn’t familiar with. Professionals are trained on proper use of these chemicals, reducing the risk to you and your family. They also have green pest control options that can be utilized. Finally, DIY products may contain a manufacturer’s warranty or store guarantee on the product. Professional pest control companies will usually provide a service guarantee where they return between visits (usually at no additional charge) for any pest problems that pop up before service is due again.
If you have evaluated all the angles and decided the DIY approach is best for your situation, here are a few of our favorite DIY pest control tips you can use in your home.
- Make It Less Attractive. Pests are attracted to food, shelter, and water. If you get rid of what they’re attracted to, they’ll be less likely to come inside. Keep your home clean. Repair any leaky pipes and faucets both inside and outside of the home. Don’t leave pet food and water bowls out overnight. Declutter your home and get rid of any old magazines, junk, etc. Try to use plastic storage bins instead of cardboard boxes.
- Keep Them Out. Pests can’t infest if they can’t get in. Inspect the outside of your home for any potential entry points and seal them up with caulk, steel wool, etc. Make sure to check foundations, door frames, windows, utility pipes, cables and wires, and the roof. Repair any broken windows and screens. Fill in any holes, gaps, or cracks in pipes and vents.
- Don’t Forget The Outside. Pests have to go through your yard to get into your home. Keep your grass cut short and eliminate weeds. Get rid of any piles of leaves, debris, fallen branches, etc. Do the same for old automobiles, trashcans, and dumpsters. Elevate wood piles off the ground or store them in wood boxes with lids.
- Eliminate Moisture. One of the things that attracts pests is water. Use a dehumidifier to decrease moisture and consider crawlspace enclosure to not only help eliminate pests but also provide significant energy savings for your home. Repair leaks immediately. Make sure gutters are clear of debris or consider installing gutter guards.
- Use Professionals. Sometimes an infestation can be beyond the scope of DIY methods. In these circumstances it is best to call a professional who can properly identify the pest you are dealing with and provide proper treatment, as well as ongoing prevention techniques you can use at home.