The best way to affordably handle a pest infestation yourself is to make sure the infestation never starts in the first place.
While hiring a professional to de-pestify your home is usually effective, it can also be very expensive. DIY pest control offers a much more affordable path, but is it effective enough to actually, like, work?
Well, it can be. You just have to go about it the right way.
Preventing an infestation is a lot cheaper than getting rid of one.
You don’t have to worry about getting rid of pests if they never show up in the first place, right? When it comes to many common pests like mice, rats, and cockroaches, you should make sure to keep your place clean and tidy.
“Good household hygiene is important,” advised Jordan Foster, pest control technician with Fantastic Pest Control. “Make sure to seal the rubbish well and dispose of it quickly, avoid leaving dirty dishes in the sink or on the countertops, and put away any food leftovers. Leakages of any sorts around the house should be fixed because those are the easiest to reach water sources for many pests.”
But some pests require additional caution. For instance, here’s what Foster told us about preventing bed bugs:
“When traveling, make sure to check the bed area for any signs of bed bug presence. Don’t bother looking at the sheets as they change them daily. Instead, check below the mattress and around the bed frame. Avoid picking up furniture from the street or buying second-hand furniture. Even non-upholstered items can be infested.”
These aren’t the only things you can do to prevent pests from moving in and taking over.
“Try prevention first,” said Caleb Backe, Health and Wellness Expert at Maple Holistics. “Do not leave uncovered food around. Close off potential shelter for pests such as openings in the wall or in furniture. If you already have little unwanted visitors in your home, there are DIY ways to get rid of them before you start bringing in professionals.”
Notice how an expert in health and wellness is giving you great tips to prevent a pest infestation? There’s a reason for that. A lot of these best practices will have benefits way beyond just warding off bugs and mice.
Getting rid of pests on your own requires a lot of time and attention.
Even the best-laid pest prevention plans aren’t 100 percent effective. Once an infestation sets in, you’ll be left with a much harder task ahead and lot more questions to answer.
But let’s get to the point: How can you deal with infestations on your own?
“You can do it with almost any pest,” Foster told us. “It’s just that DIY pest control requires lots of beforehand research and patience because it takes time and meticulousness of one’s actions.”
“There are some great in-depth online resources with the help of which you can decrease or even completely destroy a pest colony, thus cutting the costs for professional extermination. Some of the pests that are easily treatable include: fleas, flies, wasps and their nests, and ants.”
It’s worth doing your own online research to see which methods would work best for your living situation. But we can offer some links to start with.
This article is a good place to start if you’re dealing with fleas. In addition to getting a flea and tick collar, you can do things like wash your animals with lemon-scented dish soap or put a bowl of sudsy water under a lamp to draw out and drown the fleas that are already there.
There are lots of cheap and natural remedies for dealing with house flies. Here’s a list that includes suggestions like basil, tea tree oil, and the always reliable sticky ribbons.
When it comes to wasps, there are ways to handle it on your own, but unless you consider yourself a “real toughie,” this might be a situation where it’s worth calling in a pro.
Some other pests that Foster agrees you’d be better off calling a pro for: “bed bugs, mice and rats, woodworms, and cockroaches. If you spot any of these, you shouldn’t postpone contacting a professional. The longer you wait and let the infestation to develop, the harder and more expensive it will be to remove the pest. Acting fast, be it with DIY or professional solution, is essential when dealing with pests.”
DIY tips for dealing with mosquitos and ticks.
Mosquitos might be some of the peskiest pests around. They’re bad enough outside the house, but if they get inside, you can find yourself waking up in the morning with half your blood sucked away. Same goes for ticks.
Thankfully, the professionals at Mosquito Squad gave us a list of tips for handling skeeters and ticks:
7 T’s of mosquito control for homeowners
- TIP: Anything that can hold water—tip it over! This includes children’s sandboxes and toys, plant saucers, and dog bowls.
- TOSS: Excess grass, leaves, firewood and yard clippings—chuck ’em.
- TURN: Tipping is great, but turning over is better. Turn over larger yard items that could hold water.
- Remove TARPS: If you have tarps stretched over firewood piles, boats or sports equipment, and they aren’t taut—you guessed it—they’re holding water. Water = mosquitoes.
- TAKE CARE: Take care of home maintenance needs that can contribute to standing water. Areas where water pools, such as near faucets or water spouts, leaking irrigation systems, clogged gutters, and all of those places, offer a breeding haven for mosquitoes.
- TEAM UP: Despite taking all precautions in your own home, talking with neighbors is a key component to mosquito control. Townhomes and home with little space between lots mean that mosquitoes can breed at a neighbor’s home and affect your property.
- TREAT: Using a mosquito elimination barrier treatment at home reduces the need for using DEET bug spray on your body. FYI: Mosquito Squad’s mosquito control barrier protection eliminates up to 90 percent of mosquitoes and ticks on a property.
6 C’s of tick control for homeowners
- CLEAR DEBRIS: Ticks thrive in damp, shaded environments and tend to die in sunny, dry areas. Clear out areas where lawn and tree debris gather and relocate compost piles away from high traffic areas. Separate those areas with wood chips or gravel, and avoid positioning playground equipment, decks, or patios near wooded areas.
- CLEAN: Eliminate leaf litter and brush by cleaning it up around the house and lawn edges, mow tall grasses, and keep your lawn short. This reduces the number of places that ticks can hide.
- CHOOSE PLANTS: Select plants and shrubs that are not attractive to deer and/or install physical barriers to keep deer out of your yard. Check with your local nursery to determine the best choices for your area.
- CHECK HIDING PLACES: Familiarize yourself with the most likely tick hiding places on your property and check them frequently. Fences, brick walls, and patio retaining walls are all common hiding places.
- CARE FOR FAMILY PETS: Family pets are prime targets for ticks and can carry infected ticks into your home. Talk to your veterinarian about using tick collars or sprays. As with all pest control products, be sure to only use as directed and to always use with caution.
- CALL THE PROS: To play it safe, call the pros to apply barrier treatments so you can enjoy your yard in peace.
Hopefully, this has given you an understanding of what you can handle on your own and when you should call in the experts. May you have a pest free life!
Caleb Backe is a certified personal trainer as well as a Health and Wellness Expert specializing in personal care for Maple Holistics (@MapleHolistics). He is from Riverdale, New York.
Jordan Foster is a professional pest technician for Fantastic Pest Control (@Fantastic), a London-based company that serves residential and business properties. Prior to joining with Fantastic, Jordan was a company owner and was managing a small team of local exterminators. He specializes in mice & rat control and bed bug removal.
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