Can You DIY with Pesticides?

We’ve talked extensively on this blog about DIY pest control. We’ve talked about the problems with do-it-yourself pest control (namely, that it’s ineffective and can be dangerous) and debunked so-called “home remedies” for cockroaches, ants, termites, bed bugs, and more. (We recommend reading those posts if you haven’t already.)

Instead of home remedies, effective pest control involves a multi-faceted approach that includes making the home less attractive to pests, sealing off places where pests enter the home, and often, using pesticides to eliminate pests.

In this post, we’re talking about pesticides and DIY. What are pesticides? Can you DIY pesticide application? What do you need to know in terms of health and safety? Keep reading to learn everything you need to know!

What Are Pesticides?

Pesticides are substances used to kill, repel, or control certain types of plant or animal life considered to be pests.

“Pesticide” is an umbrella term that can include lots of different substances. Pesticides can be classified by the organism they target. For example, pesticides include insecticides, herbicides, rodenticides, and fungicides—as well as insect and animal repellents. They can also be classified by their chemical structure (organic, inorganic, or synthetic) or physical state (liquid, solid, or gas/fumigant).

Examples of pesticides include any of the following:

  • Bug sprays
  • Insect repellents
  • Ant and roach baits
  • Garden dusts or sprays
  • Flea shampoos and flea and tick collars
  • Moth balls
  • Mouse and rat bait stations
  • Foggers

You might be surprised at some of the items on that list. Few people are aware, for example, that moth balls are actually pesticides!

Here’s an interesting fact: humans have been using some form of pesticides for thousands of years. Pesticides help us protect our crops from being eaten by pests and also control pests who spread dangerous diseases. For these reasons, pesticides have important benefits.

However, pesticides shouldn’t be used by just anyone.

Why Pesticides & DIY Don’t Mix

Even though pesticides are designed to kill or repel pests, they can affect humans as well. Many pesticides contain chemicals that can be hazardous to human health.

Insecticides, for example, cause the most pesticide poisonings in the U.S. (The most serious cases come from acute exposure to organophosphate and carbamate insecticides.)

People can be exposed when they get pesticides on their skin or in their eyes, when they accidentally ingest the pesticide, or when they inhale the pesticide. The reactions can range from mild to severe:

  • Reddening of the skin, rashes, and blisters
  • Itching, burning, and tingling of the skin
  • Coughing, wheezing, and sneezing
  • Raw and scratchy throat, and other respiratory discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irritation of the eyes and blurry vision
  • Chest pain
  • Loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Muscle weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death

(If someone is experiencing symptoms of pesticide poisoning, call 911 and the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222.)

As you can see, the potential side effects of a toxic pesticide exposure are no laughing matter.

Even when being careful, it’s easy for any homeowner to expose themselves to unsafe levels of pesticides. Exposure can happen when mixing, applying, or cleaning up pesticides.

Take moth balls, for example. Many homeowners toss however many moth balls they have into their closet without a second thought. Moth balls contain a chemical that becomes a gas when exposed to air (hence the “moth ball smell”). Breathing in too much of that chemical can cause headaches, dizziness, and nausea. What’s more, moth balls can be poisonous if swallowed—especially to children and pets.

Many other pesticides can be even trickier to apply safely. Gas treatments (like foggers) are easily inhaled. Liquid treatments are easy to get on the skin (and easy to overuse, which can cause other problems). Some pesticides are combustible!

Applying pesticides safely, without any scary health effects, is something that requires knowledge, training, and experience.

For your safety, and for the safety of your children and pets, we highly discourage DIY pesticide application!

Call a Pro for Pest Control & Pesticide Application

Since DIY pesticide use is so ill-advised, what can you do about a pest infestation in your home?

That’s where the pros come in!

Professional pest control technicians, like the ones at ScherZinger Pest Control, have the knowledge, experience, and tools to tackle an infestation. They know when to apply pesticides, and how to do so safely and effectively. They’ll also have the right equipment needed to handle pesticides. (This includes things like protective clothing, safety glasses, masks or respirators, and proper pesticide applicators.)

Don’t risk your health and well-being. Call us today!

Scherzinger Termite and Pest Control is a trusted pest control company in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas, including Dayton, OH, and now Columbus, OH. We’ve been pioneers, engineering new standards for ways of eliminating and controlling bugs and pests. Contact us by phone at 1-877-748-9888 or via web inquiryFacebook or Twitter.