When you see a mouse, cockroach, bed bug, or another pest in your house, you want it gone—and fast. The sight of a disgusting pest can send you running to the store (or Amazon) to pick up supplies for DIY pest control, like baits or natural remedies.
Unfortunately, many DIY methods you’ve read about online are ineffective, a waste of money, and even dangerous. You may be tempted to go the DIY route—thinking it’s faster, cheaper, and just as effective as professional methods—but in most cases it’s a bad idea.
Let’s talk about the problems with do-it-yourself pest control and how you can get pests out of your home quickly, safely, and cost effectively.
#1 DIY Methods Are Ineffective
There are hundreds of Internet articles online that recommend a variety of DIY approaches to pest control; however, the vast majority of these DIY methods are completely ineffective.
For example, here are a few DIY treatments that we’ve seen that just don’t work:
- Spraying peppermint oil to repel mice
- Using mothballs to kill roaches
- Sprinkling baking soda around the house to kill bed bugs
You might be wondering how these articles are created if the tips don’t actually work. In some cases, well-meaning people are trying to help others, but their information is flawed. In other cases, scammers are simply trying to take advantage of desperate homeowners, selling them a product they know doesn’t really work.
When researching pest control online, it’s important to keep in mind that if a DIY method seems too good to be true, it probably is. If someone is promising that a particular spray, essential oil, or kitchen ingredient will “solve all your pest problems,” it won’t. Truly eliminating a pest infestation requires a multi-faceted approach that includes identifying the type of pest, locating its hideouts, eliminating all pests, and preventing them from returning.
#2 DIY Is Misapplied
Among all of the inaccurate DIY articles on the Internet, there are a few that actually have a grain of truth to them. For example, boric acid will kill cockroaches. When cockroaches walk through boric acid, the powder clings to their body. Later, when the cockroaches groom their legs, the powder is ingested and poisons the cockroach.
In this case, you might be thinking, What’s the problem? It works! But even when the DIY treatment is effective, it’s easy for the average homeowner to misapply it.
Let’s continue with the boric acid example above. The problem with using boric acid as a sole treatment for a cockroach infestation is twofold. First, boric acid is easy to apply incorrectly. (Unless it is applied in very, very thin layers, the cockroaches will just walk around it. Boric acid also becomes ineffective when wet.) Second, it’s impossible to apply boric acid everywhere that cockroaches are. Cockroaches can hide just about anywhere in your home—including in your walls. If you don’t apply boric acid where the roaches are, they will continue to multiply.
On top of the problems mentioned above, there is another big issue with DIY treatments for a specific pest: what if the pest you think is in your home is actually a different pest? Most people can identify a cockroach, but it’s not as easy to identify a bed bug or tell the difference between a flying ant and a termite. A DIY treatment that’s effective for one bug won’t be effective for all bugs. This makes the DIY approach a pretty big gamble unless you’re sure of the pest that’s in your house.
#3 DIY Is a Waste of Money and Time
We understand that everyone has a budget, and that pest control can seem like it’s too expensive or not worth the money. However, for many homeowners, DIY can actually be more expensive in the long run.
When DIY treatments don’t work, you may have to turn to the professionals anyway. That means that you’ll have spent even more money than if you had called the professionals right away. In addition—depending on how long you’ve been trying to do it yourself—the infestation in your home could be much, much worse. As a result, you’ll have to spend even more time getting rid of it.
It’s helpful to think of pest control as an investment in your home. While the up-front cost is greater than the cost of essential oils or baking soda, you’ll find that you save money and gain peace of mind over time.
#4 DIY Is Dangerous
Worst of all, there are some DIY treatments that can be deadly. Homeowners and their families have been seriously injured and even killed using dangerous DIY pest control methods.
In the past year—in Cincinnati alone—there have been two separate incidents of a person burning down their apartment building after using rubbing alcohol to kill bed bugs. In both cases, the rubbing alcohol (which is extremely flammable) ignited. In one case, the blaze sent 3 people to the hospital and left 10 homeless.
Others have been injured or killed after misapplying insecticides or misusing foggers. The CDC reports that some have experienced poisoning after applying insecticide directly to their bodies. Others have caused injuries and property damage after over-using bug bombs. In one particularly distressing example, a woman caused an explosion in a New York apartment building after using more than 20 foggers. The home’s pilot light ignited the flammable gas, causing a partial collapse of the building and seriously injuring 12 people.
Even seemingly harmless pest control treatments can be dangerous: essential oils can be deadly to pets and harmful to humans if swallowed.
Dangerous DIY treatments should either be avoided at all costs (like using rubbing alcohol) or used only under the supervision of a licensed, experienced professional (like using insecticides or foggers).
It’s so important to do your research, always follow the directions for pest control treatments, and get help from a professional if you find yourself out of your depth. Don’t let a pest problem drive you to risk the health and safety of you and your family.
When DIY Is Appropriate
Do-it-yourself treatments are appropriate in very specific circumstances; for example, you might decide to set out a few mouse traps (out of reach of children or pets) to catch any stray mice that wander into your home.
However, If your home has an actual infestation of mice, bed bugs, termites, cockroaches, or another stubborn pest, it’s best to have expert help. A professional pest control expert has the experience and knowledge to assess the situation, come up with a treatment plan (which might include steps that you can take at home), and follow through to make sure the pests don’t come back.
Call Us Today
Concerned you might have a pest infestation on your hands? Contact ScherZinger Pest Control, 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 through our website, Facebook, or Twitter.