DIY Pest Control – How To Become Your Own Pest Exterminator

The Pest Control Industry’s Dirty Little Secret

Can I let you in on a little-known insider secret? There’s something the pest control industry does not want you to know about. Most pest control issues can be handled by homeowners without hiring an expensive exterminator. But you won’t hear this from experts and businesses in the pest control industry. Do you want to know why this is the case?

The pest control industry generates over $8 billion per year, so they have a vested interest in wanting your business.  They want you to believe only they can do the job. This is because they make their living selling you, pest control products and services.  This is so misleading in my opinion.

I wholeheartedly believe that “most” pest control situations can be handled by homeowners like you.  I say most because there are a few exceptions to this rule — more about that later.  I’m committed to proving the industry experts wrong.

How to Become Your Own Pest Exterminator

If you want to become your own exterminator I can help. I have developed this resource guide to help you manage and control all unwanted pests like bugs, insects, rodents, and wild animals that you’ll find in and around your home.  Some of these pests you can control yourself and there will be times when you will have pests you’ll need professional help getting rid of.

Let me arm you with the knowledge, understanding, tools, and supplies you need to handle all your pest control needs.  If you want to do things yourself and not hire an exterminator we invite you to read the information below.  It will answer all the questions you have and provide you with the guidance you need to get rid of pests.

What Is A Pest?

I’m going to use the word “pest” frequently throughout this guide and website.  As such, I want to provide you with a working definition of what is a pest so that we are communicating on the same level.  A pest is any animal that can harmfully effect humans, their food, or their living conditions. They are animals which:

  • carry diseases (e.g. rats, fleas)
  • damage clothing (e.g. moths, silverfish)
  • bite and sting (e.g. bed bug, mosquito)
  • damage stored foods (e.g. mice, rats, weevil)
  • attach and eat other animals (e.g. coyotes, spiders)
  • damage buildings (e.g. carpenter ants, termites)
  • attach and eat plants & vegetables (e.g. aphids, beetles)

Most Common Household Pests To Look Out For

If you continue to live, breathe, and eat you will occasionally run into problems with household pests. When it comes to household pests it is important for you to know your bug “bunkmates”. These are the creepy crawling critters that share your home with you. It’s important to note that household pests vary from region to region. What’s common in one area may not be common in another.

We generally group household pests into four categories for ease of understanding.

  • Bugs that bite or sting
  • Garden and landscape pests
  • Household and nuisance pests
  • Structural Pests

Bugs that bite or sting – do it for either self-defense or to feed on the host; examples include bed bugs, fleas, ticks, spiders, and wasps

Garden and landscape pests – feed on plants in your garden and landscape grass, plants, and flowers; examples include aphids, weevils, slugs, and snails

Household and nuisance pests – can cause structural damage, bite or sting, and create unhealthy living conditions; examples include ants, cockroaches, bed bugs, flies, mice, and rats

Structural pests – can cause considerable damage to your home; examples include carpenter ants, termites, and powderpost beetles

This was a brief introduction to common pests you may encounter in your home. Now it’s time to transition and look at which pest you can control yourself without help or outside assistance from a pest control company or pest exterminator.

What Is Do It Yourself Pest Control?

In the simplest terms, pest control is all actions taken to keep the number of pests down to acceptable levels, so that people, their food, and the environment are not at risk.

When it comes to getting rid of a pest in your home times are changing for the better. I remember when home pest control issues were either too difficult or too dangerous for a homeowner to handle themselves. We had no choice but to hire a professional exterminator to take care of our pest problems.

But this is not the case nowadays.

There is a growing wealth of knowledge on the internet that’ll tell you everything you need to know about controlling pests on your own — this website is just one resource. Today more than ever before we can buy many of the same products pest exterminators use. Pest control costs can be very expensive and I have found you can save a lot of money if you do it yourself. As such, people like you and I have turned to do it yourself pest control methods to get rid of bugs, insects, and rodents.

We both can now buy traps and bait products that have replaced more complicated, expensive, and toxic spray applications that were used in the past. The end result is we can now do a lot of our own pest control in a safe and effective way without having to hire a professional exterminator to do the job.

Can I Do My Own Pest Control?

Yes, you can do your own pest control. It is not as difficult as you might think. You do not have to hire a professional bug exterminator to get rid of most of the bugs, insects, and rodents you will see around your house. For bugs and insects, all you’ll really need is a hand-pump sprayer and some professional-grade pesticides, both of which you can buy online or purchase locally.

If you decide to do it yourself, you can save money. I use to pay 75$ per month ($900 per year) for pest control services. When I figured out how you control pests myself, my year cost went down to $70. Look how much I saved ($830) and you can too.

Pests You Can Control Yourself

Let’s first talk about which pests you can control yourself without having the need to hire a pest control company or professional exterminator. For the pests listed below, you can purchase baits, pesticides, and traps to take care of all your pest control and pest prevention needs.

Now there will be times when do it yourself pest control treatments do not work as planned.

Pests You’ll Need Help Getting Rid Of

Through trial and error, talking with property owners, and some industry experts I have come to the realization that there are a few pest situations that should only be handled by professionals. Pest control companies and exterminators have specialized equipment and the latest training on how to deal with a structured pest that can destroy your home and cause thousands of dollars worth of damage.

So if you have problems or suspect any of the pests listed below are operating in and around your home call for professional help:

  • Carpenter ants
  • Powderpost beetles
  • Termites

The sooner you call the better off you’ll be. You want to get ahead of the situation before any major damage can be done to the structure of your home and surrounding property. I can’t count the number of time property owners have avoided costly repairs by hiring a professional exterminator.

DIY Pest Control Mistakes

There are a few common DIY pest control mistakes I see property owners make time after time.  I think it would be good to share these mistakes so that you will not get frustrated when your DIY treatments do not work.  By knowing what not to do you will also improve your chances of getting rid of the bugs, insects, and rodents the first time around with not too much effort.

Okay so let’s talk about what not to do.

Setting Mouse Traps

There is a right and wrong way to set and place a mousetrap.

The biggest problem I see is when people incorrectly set and position mouse traps in odd places –like the middle of the kitchen, pantry, basement, or attic. You will never catch a mouse this way even if you put out the best-tasting bait ever.

Mousetraps should be set with a minimum amount of bait so the mice can not eat without setting off the trap — a small smear of peanut butter will do.  The trap should be placed with the bait side along baseboards and perpendicular walls along the route you have seen rodents traveling.

Another frequent mistake is not placing enough mouse traps out to get the job done. You should place three to four traps out at a time, all within close proximity of the same location.

Pest Control Safety Tips

As you go about taking care of the pests in your home, chances are you will likely use pesticide products that can be harmful to your family and the environment.  As such, I think it is time to provide you with some basic safety tips to keep you, your kids, and your pets safe while controlling pests in and around your home.

A major concern for me has always been how can I control and eliminate pests without putting my family and pets at risk.  This same concern is shared by many parents who have kids and pets.  That said, it doesn’t surprise me how often we are asked: “Is Pest Control Safe For My Family and Pests?”.

Please read over the advice provided below if you want to use pesticides safely to control pests without harming the environment or putting you, your family, and your pets at risk.

All pesticides are toxic – there is no such thing as a non-toxic pesticide.  This is an important distinction to make because if the pesticide was, in fact, non-toxic it would not kill any pest.

Always read the pesticide label – this should be the first thing you do before buying and using any chemical product. The label provides important information on how to use the product correctly and legally — other important details are included on the label for your safety.

Follow the pesticide label directions – to get the maximin benefits while minimizing your risks. Always use the product for its intended purpose. More is not better so never apply more than what is needed to get the job done.

Use insecticides and pesticides responsibly – when choosing which pesticide is best, select the least toxic one. You will have to compare a few different products for the pest you are trying to get rid of. Look at the labels to get an idea of which product is safer to use.

Keep baits and poisons safely out of reach from children and pets – poisons and baits designed to take care of pests are very toxic if ingested by a child or your pet. Use extreme caution when using these products.

Wear protective clothing when working with chemical pesticides – it’s imperative that you wear clothing to protect yourself when using chemicals of any kind.  Whenever I deal with pesticides I always wear protective safety gear consisting of a mask, gloves, and goggles.  If these are unavailable you should at least wear a long sleeve shirt, long pants, and closed-toe shoes.

Protect the environment when getting rid of pesticides – never pour leftover pesticides into the soil,  sinks, toilet, or storm drains as this will only further pollute the environment.  Be responsible and dispose of pesticides by taking them to your local hazardous waste facility.

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Lynn Edwards

I founded DIY Pest Control Guide with the intention of sharing practical, user-friendly pest control strategies. If you need assistance, reach out to me at - I'm here to help you reclaim your peace of mind.

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