June 6, 2024

The Do's and Don'ts of DIY Pest Control

When faced with an insect infestation, you have two options: you can call a pest control agency or do it yourself. Eliminating insects on your own can be challenging. Which pest spray will fix your problem, and what online guide should you trust? 

DIY pest control doesn’t have to be complicated! You have options to protect your home against pests, and we’re here to help.

Here are all the tips and tricks you should know to get rid of your insect problem on your own. 

What is DIY Pest Control?

When you’re handling an insect infestation, you may whip up a natural pesticide or purchase something at the store to get the job done. 

DIY pest control can come in many forms: sprays, traps, baits, powders, etc. Depending on the pest you’re dealing with, the possibilities are limitless when figuring out the best pest control option. 

Some alternatives work better for different pests. A spray or chemical pesticide can eliminate a visible anthill but may not help an out-of-reach cockroach nest. 

Consider the habits of your pest before choosing the best DIY option for you, and be sure to reach out to a pest control agency if the problem is too tough to handle alone. 

Always Use Proper Protection for DIY Pest Control 

Before beginning your pest control project, make sure you have appropriate protection.

Many DIY options involve strong chemicals or powdery substances. If ingested, these could cause irritation and breathing difficulties. 

Never attempt a DIY pest control project without using proper protection. Pest control experts always wear protective gear, and you should follow their example.

N95 masks help filter out harmful fumes when you use strong pesticides. You could also try a pesticide respirator when spraying chemicals. If your product mentions using a specific mask or respirator, always follow the manufacturing instructions.

Be sure to include gloves in your pest control process, too. If you use any harsh materials, the gloves will protect your hands from getting burned or irritated. 

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels

When you use sprays, definitely pick out a pair of goggles or protective earwear. Certain chemicals can make your eyes burn or cause damage if they accidentally splash onto your face. Eye protection will ensure nothing ends up in your eyes and protect your eyesight.

Wear appropriate clothing when you begin spraying or placing pest control products. While some products won't require multiple layers, you may want to don full-coverage clothing to avoid getting anything on your body. 

Also, don’t wear anything that you wouldn't want stained. Pest control can be messy!

DIY Pest Control that You can Purchase 

You can find pest control options anywhere you go. Even a corner store should have a humble rack of bug repellent or sprays. 

Hardware stores and garden centers have multiple alternatives for you to choose from, and online retailers can have a package at your front door in less than a week. 

However, the number of options can leave you overwhelmed. What will work best for your specific problem? Take a look at these DIY pest control suggestions to see what will eliminate the pests in your home. 

Pesticide Sprays and Aerosols 

Spray and aerosol pesticides work in the same way by destroying an insect’s nervous system. Whether you are directly spraying a bug or applying it around your home, insects will slowly die after interacting with the chemicals. 

Spray pesticides either come in a bottle or containers with “sprayers.” These sprayers are likely what you picture when you envision a pest control technician. The devices spray chemicals out of a battery-powered or pump nozzle. 

Typically, you will use sprays outside, covering the perimeter of your house in the pesticide. Some brands offer indoor sprays to combat insects that live within your home. 

Mist entryways like doors and windows and around your baseboards. Most sprays shouldn’t damage the paint or flooring in your home, but check out the instructions before using them on any delicate materials. 

To combat insects directly, purchase aerosols that kill them on contact. The concentrated chemicals will quickly eliminate the individual pests that you spot. 

However, never use sprays or aerosols indoors without proper ventilation. Inhaling chemicals for an extended period of time could make you nauseous or lightheaded, so open up doors or windows to encourage airflow. 

Pest Baits

Using bait, you can target the insects in your home and handle the primary colony. The insects foraging for food will return to the larger population with the poison, eventually killing the remaining pests.

However, bait isn’t perfect. There’s no guarantee that you can target all the insects in your home. Oftentimes, baits are used in conjunction with other methods like sprays to impact the pests in multiple ways.

You can purchase gel baits that you can easily apply on different surfaces. Frequently check the areas you placed the bait for signs of insects and reapply the bait as it dries out. Tablet baits work similarly, but you have less flexibility over placement.

Insect Traps

Sticky traps are coated with glue that incapacitates the insects crawling or flying near them. Some sticky traps are flat sheets that you can place on the floor or hang up to catch insects.

Others like “roach motels” are enclosed boxes that hide the insects within. The traps work the same, but you won’t have to look at the insects if you opt for a confined option. 

If you’re trying to thin out an insect population following another form of pest control, this is a great option to take out the rest of the stragglers. Because many insects can accumulate on these traps, check these areas and empty them often. 

Try hanging traps to capture annoying flying insects. Hanging fly and yellowjacket traps typically contain a bait activated by water. As the insects enter the trap, they fall and drown in the liquid. 

Mouse Traps

If you’re dealing with mice, traps are the most popular way to handle these pests. Traditional “snap traps” kill mice with a spring-loaded bar. If you are interested in using these traps, carefully apply a bait like cheese or peanut butter and place it in areas where mice frequent. 

Brown mouse trap with a red mouse printed on it. The mouse trap has peanut butter on the trigger and is an example of DIY pest control

Be careful when using these traps as they are easily triggered and could injure your fingers. Many plastic mouse traps work similarly but are reusable and less prone to harm you as you set them. 

Sticky traps capture the rodents as they crawl on the surface. However, you will have to deal with the animal afterward. 

Unless you placed poison on your trap, there’s a good chance that you will encounter a live mouse. Throwing the pest away with the trap isn’t a humane way to handle your rodent problem and could impact other wild animals. 

To release a rodent on a sticky trap, pour vegetable oil where the mouse is stuck. The oil should break down the properties of the glue, allowing the mouse to wiggle free. 

If you are looking for a humane way to deal with rodents, check out a catch and release trap. Mice will run inside for food, triggering the trap's door to close. You can then safely release the animal away from your home.

DIY options might not work unless the mice primarily populate accessible places in your home. Some rodents, like roof rats, will nest in your walls, attic, or roof rafters. Many of these areas are out of reach, so it can be difficult to place traps. 

If you have trouble with a persistent mouse infestation, call Zunex today. Among our pest services, we offer aid with rodent control that includes a full warranty. 

Mouse and Rat Poison

You can also purchase poisons to combat your rodent infestation. This method will stop your rodent problem, especially if there are no other available food sources. However, using rat poison comes with a few drawbacks. 

If you have pets, avoid leaving the poison where they could easily eat it. Your furry friends may mistake the pellets for kibble and get sick. If you suspect your pet has swallowed poison, take them to the vet immediately. Watch out for vomiting, signs of weakness, or bleeding.

Make sure your little ones don’t handle the rat poison, either. Consuming rat poison could make your child ill if not treated promptly. Place the poison in difficult-to-reach areas to protect your family.

While rat poison is an often dependable way to dispose of rodents, you’ll be left on the hook for finding them afterward. Because these tiny pests will nest in different places in your home, the rats may die in inaccessible areas and emit a foul odor. 

Boric Acid and Borax

Typically seen in a powdered form, boric acid is a DIY pest control option that can help eliminate many common pests. Boric acid products are usually marketed for cockroaches but will work for other insects like wasps and ants. 

You can often spray the powder inside small crevices to combat roaches that may live inside these tiny cracks. If you prefer to work with it in a liquid form, you can mix it with water in a spray bottle. Mix around 1-2 teaspoons of boric acid with a cup of water and apply where needed. 

Borax works similarly to boric acid, and you may already have some in your laundry room. Add the borax to boiling water and mix in sugar or honey. Place the mixture in a small bowl, or pour it into a spray bottle. 

Check out this video for an in-depth demonstration of how to make a borax ant killer. 

Boric acid and borax can be toxic, so keep these substances away from your children and pets. Avoid spraying the mixture near food and water sources. 

DIY Pest Control Options You Have at Home

Did you know that you may have ingredients for a pest control solution in your house? Just check your pantry!

Many at-home pest control options also start by changing your habits. If you’re struggling with pests, check out these tips.

Maintain the Interior of Your Home

Cleaning your home is the best way to prevent an insect infestation and even combat a current problem. Insects typically gravitate to areas with plentiful food sources, so if your kitchen or backyard has easily accessible nutrition, you will notice an increase in insect populations. 

Of course, even tidy homes can struggle with pests, but keeping your home clean will mitigate the risk of a severe problem. 

Photo by Matilda Wormwood on Pexels

After cooking, make sure you thoroughly clean your counters and stove. Avoid leaving your dishes in the sink and thoroughly clean off the remaining food before placing them in a dishwasher. Cockroaches and ants will occasionally climb into appliances in search of leftover food. 

Sweep your floors to clean up any unseen crumbs and dispose of your trash often. Many insects will flock toward old food in garbage cans, so use cans with tightly fitting tops to prevent the insects from climbing inside. 

Ensure that all the food in your pantry is tightly sealed or fastened. If you struggle with mice or other pests chewing through packages, you can place items in containers.

Because indoor pests need water to survive, keep damp spots like sinks, showers, washing machines, and dishwashers dry. Removing the insects' water source will significantly reduce the number of pests in your home.

Close off any Entry Ways

Pests can enter your home through tiny and seemingly insignificant cracks. Mice can even squeeze through gaps as small as the width of a pencil. 

To prevent pests from entering your home, repair any noticeable damages. Keep an eye out for any small cracks, holes, or gaps in your windows and doors.

The Center for Disease Control suggests filling small holes with steel wool. If you’re dealing with larger gaps, you may need to invest in more expansive materials like cement or metal sheets to cover up the damaged area. 

Try to repair places in your home with water damage. Damaged wood could become hotspots for termites or carpenter ants, who nest in damp wooden structures. 

Keep Your Yard Clean 

Many of the pests that homeowners struggle with spend most of their time outdoors. Wasps, ants, and common garden pests will remain in your yard if they find the area hospitable. 

Clean up any debris outside, like fallen leaves, limbs, or logs. Yellowjacket queens could hide in these areas to hibernate or even begin building a nest. Watch out for other pests like ticks as you clean your yard. 

If you have outside parties or barbeques, dispose of all leftover food and clean dirty plates and utensils. Insects, especially ants, will feast on anything left behind. 

Empty or replace the water in birdbaths or rainwater buckets. Standing water can attract insects, and mosquitos prefer to hover around old water sources. 

Use Baking Soda as DIY Pest Control

Did you know that baking soda can help combat a roach infestation? While this solution won’t completely get rid of a large roach nest, you can try this option to target any that populate common areas in your home. 

Mix together baking soda and some sugar in a shallow bowl or plate. The sugar should attract roaches to feast on the mixture.

Supposedly, the baking soda will expand inside the roaches after drinking water, killing them quickly. If you have any baking soda on hand, try this technique for any stray roaches in your home. 

Homemade Wasp Control 

If you struggle with wasps, like aggressive yellowjackets, you can make your own wasp trap out of a bottle. Grab a two-liter bottle and cut off the top half. Position a banana peel at the bottom and fill it with water, vinegar, and sugar.

Three water bottles with blue caps

Place the other part of your bottle inside the larger half with the open mouth of the bottle facing the liquid mixture. As the wasps fly into the bottle, they will fall into the sticky mixture and struggle to get out.

Eventually, the insects will drown in the liquid. Empty the bottle as the wasps pile up, and replace the mixture every few days. Check out this article to learn more about creating a DIY wasp trap. 

Try Essential Oils

While this method works best as a preventative measure, you can use essential oils to repel pests. 

For example, mice despise the smell of peppermint oil. Try dropping a bit of diluted oil onto cotton swabs and place them in areas you struggle with pests. 

If you want to widen the areas of your pest control, add a few drops of essential oils to a spray bottle filled with water. Because these oils are very fragrant, you need to ensure you dilute them with water. 

The oil you use depends on the pests in your home. Peppermint oil may work against mice, cockroaches, and wasps, but don’t be afraid to try out different combinations to see what works best for you.

You shouldn’t solely rely on oils to fix your pest problem, but they can be helpful if you are already utilizing another DIY pest control alternative.

Maintain a Regular Pest Control Schedule 

While you often employ a pest control method after finding insects in your home, you should maintain a pest control regime following an infestation. 

Implementing a pest control schedule will make it harder for these pests to enter your home. Try using a pest spray inside and outside your home every two to three months. Some sprays can last longer, but you may need to reapply if you live in a damp climate. 

If you still have trouble with pests entering your home, contact a pest control agency to discuss a more intensive regime. 

Avoid Bug Bombs in your Home

Bug bombs, or foggers, are a popular choice to quickly fumigate insects. These products release significant amounts of pesticides at one time to target large quantities of insects. 

While this may kill nearby insects, this DIY pest control option won’t completely eliminate infestations. If you are using a bug bomb to counter cockroaches, you run the risk of missing hidden nests in cracks in your walls or within hard-to-reach cabinets. 

Many products suggest that they can target all bugs in your home, but it’s unlikely that the treatment will fully quell the problem. 

Bug bombs also release large quantities of chemicals, meaning you’ll have to vacate your home until the dust settles. You will still need to air out your house to avoid ingesting any of the toxic chemicals. 

Because this product is aimed at killing many insects, the chemicals will disperse in multiple areas in your home. The pesticide could settle onto your furniture and appliances, so you will have to clean up afterward. 

According to the Washington State Department of Health, bug bombs can pose a significant risk to your health. The fumes can cause nausea or difficulty breathing, but people with asthma are at risk of severe complications if they ingest large amounts of the chemicals. 

If you choose to use a bug bomb, be aware that these products are flammable. Do not use multiple chemicals at once, or you could cause a fire in your home as it interacts with electronic devices and appliances. 

It’s best to leave this DIY pest control product on the shelf. While the ease of use makes it an attractive solution for your bug problem, there are many risks associated with bug bombs. We suggest choosing another DIY alternative to protect your health and home. 

Be Careful with Some DIY Options

Sprays, baits, and powders can easily get rid of the insects plaguing your home, but they could also be a danger to your loved ones. Breathing in certain pesticides or powders could impact your breathing or make you feel sick.

Young children or pets can accidentally consume pesticides, so take care when choosing a location for your pest control. 

family with medium sized dog on a yellow couch in front of an industrial bookshelf

Certain pesticides are also marketed as full coverage options. While this will eliminate any potential pest that tries to enter your home, it could also impact other insect populations outside. 

Bees and earthworms are important for the environment, and eliminating them from your property could negatively impact the local habitat. 

Some pest control options are also toxic to the environment. When used outdoors, these pesticides can runoff into bodies of water or damage the soil. Research the best option for your home and yard that won’t negatively impact your property. 

Understand the Limits of DIY Pest Control 

Keep in mind that DIY pest control has its limitations. Products you buy from the store may not be strong enough to combat large infestations or even make a dent in a population that has built up resistance to certain pesticides. 

For example, if you routinely use the same methods, cockroaches could become immune to the products. Cockroaches are already difficult to kill, and this could allow a population to quickly breed.  

If you are still struggling with your pest problem after trying out a few DIY methods, it could be time to contact a pest control agency. DIY options are great for small infestations or for prevention, but these pests can quickly get out of control. 

With our environmentally friendly products, Zunex can fix your insect problem without harming the environment or other insects. Our pest control technicians can also track down the source of your pest infestation and correctly apply the right products to eliminate them from your home. 

Contact Zunex today to get rid of pests and find peace of mind again! 

By: Allison Clayton

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