Do It Myself Pest Control? 5 Things (2024) You Have to Know

Are you faced with a pesky pest problem and want a do it myself pest control option?

When uninvited critters and creepy crawlers invade your home and garden, it’s not always necessary to hire an exterminator.

Depending on the severity of the infestation, there are plenty of DIY pest control strategies to try before seeking professional help.

If you decide to handle a pest issue yourself, it’s important to know the ins and outs of effective and safe practices.

Pest control isn’t something you want to take lightly.

Little issues today can turn into big problems tomorrow.

This article is going to be your guide to DIY pest control.

We’re going to cover everything you need to know, from how to identify pests to implementing eco-friendly methods to safety advice.

Dealing with pests can be a pain, but with the right strategies, you are more than capable of fixing the issue yourself.

So, let’s dive into DIY pest control and rid your home of unwanted guests.

1. How to Identify a Pest Infestation?

Pests are sneaky.

One day you’ll feel certain you have a pest problem, and the next day you’ll second-guess yourself.

Identifying an infestation is essential to prompt yourself into action.

If you’re already suspicious, chances are pests have infiltrated your home.

But the sooner you can confirm the infestation, the sooner you can make a plan and minimize damage.

Here are the steps to identify a pest infestation:

bulletCheck for droppings: If you spot pest droppings, it’s a telltale sign you have critters running amok.

Check online to identify the rodent responsible for the droppings.

The most common places to find droppings are around the border of the house, attic, basement, and cabinets.

bulletListen for sounds in the walls: Hearing noises in the walls or in the attic may be a sign of a pest infestation.

Rats, bats, raccoons, and some insects are notorious for causing scratching, scurrying, and buzzing sounds.

If you notice these noises, take steps to confirm an infestation.

bulletPlace pest traps: Set traps where you think you have pests.

Traps are a great way to uncover what kind of pest you’re dealing with.

There are plenty of humane pest traps on the market.

If you decide to catch and release a pest, make sure you take it far away from your property to ensure it doesn’t come back.

bulletExamine food items: Critters like rats and mice love to help themselves to your food.

Check your kitchen for tears in packages, food crumbs, and insect larvae.

When you have an infestation, it’s important to be mindful of where you place your food.

Don’t leave anything on the counters or floors for easy access.

bulletLook for tracks: Inspect dusty or muddy areas where pest tracks may be.

Compare the footprints to rodent tracks online.

Uncovering tracks is a great way to see what type of pest you have and how large the infestation problem is.

bulletSeek professional help: When you can’t gather enough evidence to confirm a pest infestation, seek professional help.

An exterminator will know exactly where to look and inform you about the size of the problem.

However, even if you call a professional, you can still choose to handle the problem on your own.

2. What Are Some Common Household Pests?

You never know what pest is going to enter your home.

Some areas are more vulnerable to certain critters than others, but there are a handful of common household pests you should be aware of.

Let’s take a look at the most common pests and discuss how to handle each type of infestation.

Common household pests:

bulletCockroaches

bulletRats and mice

bulletBats

bulletTermites

bulletFleas

How to Handle Cockroach Infestations

bulletCheck for cockroach activity, and determine the severity of the infestation.

Keep an eye out for live roaches, droppings, and egg cases.

bulletThoroughly clean your home.

Make an effort to keep the kitchen area especially clean.

Cockroaches love messy environments.

So, make sure they have nowhere to hide and no food sources to rely on.

bulletExamine windows, doors, and cracks for potential entry points.

If you spot potential openings, seal them as soon as possible to control the infestation size.

bulletPlace cockroach baits where you have spotted activity.

Cockroaches will take the bait back to their nests, poisoning the colony.

It takes around seven days to see a reduction in cockroaches.

bulletSpray insecticides where you suspect cockroaches to be hiding.

Cracks, crevices, behind refrigerators, and cabinets are the insects’ hotspots.

Keep in mind that insecticide is harmful to humans.

Avoid touching the areas you spray.

bulletSeek professional help if you can’t control the infestation or pests keep coming back.

How to Handle Rats and Mice Infestations

bulletCheck for rat and mouse activity, and determine the severity of the infestation.

Keep an eye out for droppings, tracks, gnaw marks, and nests.

bulletKeep your kitchen area clean and free of exposed food.

Rats and mice will remain in your kitchen as long as there is a food source.

If you only have one rat, eliminating food sources could be enough to drive out the rat.

bulletSet traps or poison where you suspect there’s rat and mouse activity.

The most common types of traps are snap traps and glue traps.

If you decide to catch and release rats or mice, dispose of the critters at least a few miles from the house.

If you decide to use poison, place the bait in hiding areas.

bulletPlace natural scents that repel rats and mice, such as peppermint oil, cayenne peppers, or cloves, in corners and hiding places.

Scents won’t be enough to solve a large infestation.

However, they could help expedite the extermination and prevent future infestations.

bulletSeek professional help if you can’t control the infestation or pests keep coming back.

How to Handle Bat Infestations

bulletIdentify the bat infestation.

Check for droppings (guano), fluttering sounds in the attic, and a strong ammonia-like odor.

bulletAvoid coming into direct contact with the bats.

The creatures potentially carry rabies.

If you are scratched or bitten by a bat, speak with a healthcare professional.

bulletEliminate entry points around the house.

If there are any gaps or crevices, fill them with mesh, caulk, or hardware cloth.

Observe bats’ movements to identify entry points.

bulletInstall exclusion traps, such as one-way bat doors.

These devices allow bats to exit the door but not return.

bulletDon’t hesitate to seek professional pest control help.

Bats can be very problematic and dangerous.

You should only attempt to handle small bat problems.

Remember to always use caution.

bulletInstall bat houses around the property.

Bat houses give the creatures safe shelter away from your house.

They can help keep bats from spreading to other parts of the property.

How to Handle Termite Infestations

bulletConfirm the infestation and identify the type of termite.

The type of termite will determine what treatment method you should use.

bulletPlace bait stations at least two feet away from the home’s foundation and ten to fifteen feet apart.

Bait stations need to be buried in the ground with the aperture exposed.

Termites will enter the stations, collect the bait, and spread it throughout the colony.

bulletApply liquid termiticides around the foundation of your house.

The chemicals will instantly kill termites that come into contact with it and repel other termites from entering.

bulletHire professionals to fumigate your home.

Fumigation is a last resort and requires enclosing your home in a tent and spaying gas.

The process takes between 24 and 72 hours, and it’s highly effective.

Fumigation is not a preventive measure.

bulletTake steps to prevent future termite infestations.

Remove wood piles and debris from the house.

Prevent excess moisture in the yard.

Regularly examine your home for signs of termites.

How to Handle Flea Infestations

bulletApply flea treatment to your pets.

There are a range of products, from oral medications to flea collars.

Speak with a veterinarian to find the best option for your pet.

bulletAt a high temperature, wash blankets, bedding (including pet bedding), linens, and anything that may have fleas.

The heat will effectively kill the fleas and eggs.

You may want to wash pet bedding twice to ensure it is flea-free.

bulletVacuum rugs, carpets, and upholstered furniture.

Areas where your pets spend the most time should be your main focus.

bulletApply flea control products.

Options include sprays, powders, and foggers to get the job done.

Always use caution when using potentially harmful chemicals.

If you do apply chemical products, make sure your pets can’t access the area until it’s safe.

bulletApply outdoor flea products.

Fleas thrive in shady, moist environments, and they sometimes turn yards and gardens into homes.

Focus on areas of tall grass and wood piles that receive minimal sunshine.

3. What Are Some Eco-Friendly and Natural Pest Control Methods You Can Use?

Not interested in using harmful chemics to control a pest infestation?

Well, don’t worry.

There are plenty of eco-friendly and natural pest control methods that are effective and safe.

Severe infestations may require the use of chemicals.

Speak with a pest control professional to learn how you can minimize the use of toxic chemicals during the process.

Here are some eco-friendly and natural pest control methods:

bulletDiatomaceous earth: Diatomaceous earth is a natural type of sand that is made up of diatoms (fossilized aquatic organisms, such as algae).

When insects, like cockroaches, walk through the material, it sticks to their bodies and kills them via dehydration.

Diatomaceous shouldn’t be inhaled by humans, but otherwise, it’s a great natural pest control method.

bulletEssential oils and spices: There are several essential oils and spices that can help repel insects from a home or property.

Scents such as lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, citronella, and cayenne will deter mosquitoes, ants, cockroaches, and more.

Spray the oils or place the spices where insect activity is high.

bulletHumane traps: Humane traps are an excellent way to deal with pest infestations without having to kill the critters.

Keep in mind that traps may not be enough for large infestations.

If the problem persists, implement other strategies or contact a professional.

bulletProper Gardening: Gardens can act as an excellent barrier between pests and your home.

Practice proper gardening methods, such as using the correct amount of mulch, not overwatering, pruning, and selecting plants that deter pests rather than attract them.

bulletNatural predators: Introduce the predators of pests to your property to prevent infestations.

The type of pests in the area should determine what predators you should introduce.

Animals like birds, bats, and frogs are wonderful resources to prevent infestation.

Install bird and bat houses or build a small pond to attract them to your property.

4. What Is Integrated Pest Management (IPM)?

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a holistic pest control approach that creates an uninviting environment for unwanted creatures.

IPM strategies only rely on chemicals when necessary and use the least amount possible.

Here are the methods used in IPM:

bulletPest identification

Knowing what pest you’re dealing with helps you formulate the best strategies.

IPM is about effectiveness and efficiency.

Identifying the pest to determine the right treatment is always the first step of the method.

bulletBiological Control

Biological control refers to using natural enemies, such as predators and pest-repelling plants, to manage pests.

The area outside your home is your first line of defense, and IPM makes sure it’s primed to keep unwanted critters away.

bulletCultural Controls

Cultural controls refer to irrigation practices that minimize the risk of pests.

Practices include monitoring moisture levels, applying the correct amount of mulch, pruning trees, and rotating crops.

These small changes can make your yard or garden much less hospitable for pests.

bulletPhysical and Mechanical Controls

Physical and mechanical controls refer to strategies that eliminate, capture, or block pests.

Screens and mesh are examples of physical controls, while traps are examples of mechanical controls.

These tactics are crucial for DIY pest control when an infestation has already occurred.

bulletChemical Use

IPM also includes chemical use; however, it’s implemented as a last resort.

In this method, pesticides will be sprayed in a way to minimize the potential harm brought to humans, pets, and the environment.

Additionally, IPM calls for highly selective pesticides, such as bait stations instead of sprays, that are considered safer.

(Sprays will sometimes be used but not to cover the entire area).

bulletTiming

Applying pest control measures at certain times can make the methods more effective.

IPM focuses on understanding the pests’ life cycles and taking action when they are the most vulnerable.

Being aware of degree days and weather triggers will help you uncover the best moments to strike.

5. What Are the Risks Associated with DIY Pest Control?

DIY pest control can be very effective and solve your infestation problems, but there are some risks to be aware of.

If you are dealing with potentially dangerous, disease-carrying pests, such as bats and raccoons, you need to be extra cautious.

Always wear protective gear to avoid making contact with harmful chemicals or pests.

Never take on a project that is out of your comfort zone.

Instead, research pest control services in your area and keep yourself, your family, pets, and property safe.

Here are the risks associated with DIY pest control to be aware of:

bulletFailing to completely eliminate the problem.

bulletMaking contact with harmful chemicals that cause skin irritation, respiratory issues, and more.

bulletDamaging your property with chemicals.

bulletMisidentifying the pest, which results in wasted time, energy, and resources.

bulletExposing children, pets, and neighbors to harmful chemicals.

Final Thoughts

Realizing you have an infestation of any kind isn’t a good feeling.

But you are not powerless in the situation.

DIY pest control is a great, budget-friendly way to get critters out of your house.

You should only take matters into your own hands if the infestation is relatively small.

When it becomes apparent that your efforts are not solving the problem, it’s time to bring in a professional.

As soon as you take care of a pest problem, take action to prevent the situation from ever happening again.

With a few habit changes, you can rid yourself of critters and crawlers and enjoy a pest-free home.

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Erika Gokce Capital

Disclaimer: we are not lawyers, accountants or financial advisors and the information in this article is for informational purposes only. This article is based on our own research and experience and we do our best to keep it accurate and up-to-date, but it may contain errors. Please be sure to consult a legal or financial professional before making any investment decisions.

Erika

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