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Do It Yourself Pest Control

Summary: Do it yourself pest control. Sounds easy. Buy a few cans of insecticide off the shelf at the hardware store and you're in business. Wrong! Where to treat? What to treat, How to treat? When to treat? All questions that need to be answered before you plunk down the first nickel for a can of Raid.

Chuck; Tucson, AZ

I want to stop paying for monthly exterminating services and take a shot at do it yourself pest control. Are there any off-the-shelf pesticides I can obtain to control common pests? What chemical is safe and effective to use indoors?


We all look to cut back during hard economic times, but sometimes the things we decide to do ourselves ends up costing more than what we had been spending for someone else to do it. Just remember that you are not paying your exterminator for his pesticides. You are paying him for his knowledge and expertise. It's not what you spray; it's where you spray it, so to speak.

Knowing the pest and its habits is paramount to a successful pest control plan. Knowing what products are available to do a successful treatment and learning how to use those products properly is not something that you learn overnight. That said, you have some choices. You can ask your current pest control company if they offer bi-monthly or quarterly services. You may not need monthly service. That will save you money. Or, you can buy some over-the-counter pesticides. You are going to need a product that provides a residual. That just opened a whole new can of worms.

The first step in do it yourself pest control would be to know how to read a pesticide label. You need to know the difference between œactive and œinert ingredients. You will need to examine the product labels and understand which "active ingredient is best for your pest. That label should list the pest you are trying to control. If you cannot find anything in your local hardware store you may have to go on-line to buy a product. Oops! Yet another can of worms.

Generally, the on-line products come in concentrates which means you are going to end up with a lot more chemical than necessary for your job. That means you will have to find a place to store the unused chemical which, by the way, has a shelf-life. It goes bad if it goes unused. That means you will need to find a way to dispose of it per label or find a place that will allow you to deposit it when the expiration period comes up.

I'm not finished giving you all the variables. Depending upon where the pest is making its home, you will need to have a product that can be used indoors or outdoors. Will the product be used on a porous surface or is the surface finished and non-porous? Most products react differently to the surfaces on which they are applied. Will the treatment touch any tile covered surfaces? Oil-based products can bring up the glue from certain types of floor tiles. Choosing the wrong product could create a real mess. Is the treatment area in a wall void or in the open? If it is in a void you will need insecticide dust which means you will need a pesticide duster which means you will need protective equipment like goggles and a respirator. Outside, will the product be applied near plants or gardens? You cannot use a residual insecticide in a vegetable garden. Will you need a pressure pump sprayer or some other piece of application equipment?

By now you should be starting to get the picture. There is a lot more to doing proper pest control than going to the store and buying a spray can of insecticide. You may be biting off more than you can chew. The fees you are paying may be less expensive than you know.

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