Choices for pest control are rarely considered when things are quiet and the absence of things that go bump in the night, or the telltale sign of spiders or other bugs are curiously absent from our lives. We’ve all been there. You see the first trail of ants and you get out the ant spray or vinegar. Maybe you found droppings in your pantry and set a snap trap. Whatever the pest, and whatever the circumstances, you’re in the majority if your initial reaction is to do-it-yourself. So you go to your local big-box hardware store and you arm yourself with chemicals, sprays, baits and medieval looking traps and devices. Ready to do battle to the bitter end.
You confidently declare, “I am the master of my domain.” And then it happens. What you thought was one ant is now hundreds if not thousands. The mouse you caught must’ve been part of larger party as mouse droppings continue to show up; sometimes in new areas. It’s decision time. “Do I go toe to toe with the unknown? Is there more I can do, or am I in over my head?”
Let’s break this down by option and see what the differences and some of the similarities are.
Do It Yourself Pest Control
- Will require a significant investment of your time, effort and expense to resolve your pest issue. Specialized treatments like for termites, carpenter ants, moderate to severe rodent infestations and wasps carry inherent risks and challenges not easily accomplished by a novice.
- You’re using chemicals. Reading the label is a good start, but you must also take into consideration where you’re applying, how much and whether or not appropriate safeguards have been put in place to protect yourself, your family and your pets. Remember, safety first.
- Know your target pest, a bit of it’s biology and how best to treat for control. If you miss this crucial step, your pest problem could worsen. The internet, while overloaded with information, is still your best bet for sourcing helpful information.
- Consider your tolerance for pests. If it’s high, you’re likely a good DIY candidate (depending on the pest). If it’s low and you live in a pest prone area, you may need reinforcements.
Professional Pest Control
- Will require an investment of your time and expense. You are however hiring a professional trained and hopefully licensed and insured as a pesticide applicator, and most importantly trained in the safe use of chemicals.
- Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a method of first identifying the pest, gathering information about the infestation and then using mechanical means, environmental means and lastly, using chemicals that are highly effective but minimally invasive. These integrated methods all combine to reduce the use of chemicals and still provide a high degree of control.
- Trained in chemical usage (should hold a State approved applicators license) insect biology and control methods. You wouldn’t hire an electrician to do your landscaping, right?
- A professional can look at your home or business and help devise a plan for keeping your environment pest free. There is reactive pest control, ie., something happens and you call for help, and there is proactive pest control: regular pest inspections and treatments, like a Year Round Protection Plan, to keep mother nature from invading your interior spaces.
According to the National Pest Control Association, Americans spend over $3 billion dollars a year on professional pest control services alone. Over $400 million on do-it-yourself applications and equipment and an additional $520 million to keep our cats and dogs free of fleas and ticks. There is no denying that no one (I didn’t take a survey so this is an assumption, not barring the odd YouTube video that likely contradicts said assumption) wants to share their home or workspace with pests.
So the question remains, do-it-yourself, or call the folks at Ehrlich? I would love to hear your thoughts.