Are You Thinking of Tackling a Pest Problem on Your Own? Here’s What You Need to Know about DIY Pest Control
When it comes to Southern California pest control, DIY solutions can be a viable option for homeowners, renters, and business owners for keeping pesky pests and rodents at bay, however, there are some common issues and concerns to be addressed before running to Home Depot to buy that can of pesticide to rid your home of cockroaches or bed bugs.
In today’s blog post, San Dimas-based pest management company Versa-Tech® Founder / COO Jason Baacke weighs in on DIY pest control and what you need to know to be effective while also keeping your family and pets safe from harmful chemicals.
Pest Control Methods & Home Remedies
There are plenty of over-the-counter pest control chemicals, traps, and other types of methods and equipment available for homeowners to control pest activity around the house. There are even plenty of home remedies. My absolute favorite is dryer sheets. I have gone into plenty of homes that have dryer sheets everywhere, and ants crawling on them, and even dryer sheets used in rats’ nests. It does make for a great smelling home but does nothing for pest control.
While most over the counter pesticides are low in toxicity toward humans and other mammals, it is the abuse or misuse of these chemicals and baits where the danger lies.
PRO TIP: Whenever you decide to perform a pest control treatment yourself, always read the label and the SDS sheet prior to purchase or use to make sure you use the product correctly and to make an informed decision if you even want to use the product and apply it at all.
Each state has different laws and regulations pertaining to the use, sale and transportation of rodenticides and pesticide chemicals. For example, in Utah you can get almost any pesticide over the counter at the local hardware store and there are very loose laws and regulations pertaining to who can apply rodenticides and pesticides and where. Here in California, there are heavy restrictions on the use, sale, and applications of mostly all rodenticides and pesticides.
The Structural Pest Control Board along with the Department of Pesticide Regulation and Consumer Affairs work together to regulate the pest control industry and chemical sales and laws. These agencies are also in charge of setting licensing and professional standards for the professional pest control industry in the state.
Did you know? In California, it is illegal for a non-licensed person to apply pesticides or rodenticides with some exceptions. However, with the rise of online access to pest control equipment, materials, and chemicals, we are finding more people are trying to apply and use products made for licensed professionals.
MOST COMMON MISUSED PEST CONTROL PRODUCTS & DANGERS
Rodent bait and other forms of rodenticides are the most misused type of pest control products we see in Los Angeles County. One main reason is the overwhelming hatred of and fear of rats that people generally have. Let’s face it, rats are terrifying to most people and the basic ‘freak-out’ disposition that most people face when they even have the hint of a rodent activity. Common sense and rationality go right out the window. Rodent bait is quite easy to purchase over the counter and poses the lowest threat to consumers because you must consume it, and a lot of it, for it to be harmful.
IMPORTANT TO KNOW: However, improper use of rodenticides by improperly trained individuals, mostly homeowners, has led to an increase in secondary poisoning to non-target animals such as birds, domesticated dogs, cats and in rare cases larger animals of prey.
DIY RODENT CONTROL | DANGERS OF IMPROPER BAIT STATIONS
Over the years, I have performed many inspections for rodents where the homeowner has just tossed rodent bait all over the exterior perimeter of their property or placed it loosely on top of the back wall, or even worse, placed open packs of rat bait along the lower perimeter areas of their homes… and they have pets and kids! I have also seen makeshift bait containers (Tupperware is a popular one), the wrong bait stations and old forgotten bait stations outside of homes that also pose an issue for non-targeted wildlife. Besides poor bait treatment, it is just not properly controlling the rodent activity, thus a complete waste of time, energy and money for the homeowner or other non-professional.
Another big concern is the improper use of pest control at commercial properties, such as the unknowing restaurant manager or owner who uses rat bait inside the kitchen and food prep and storage areas… you can guess that has a high probability of contaminating cooking surfaces and food items.
Most people have some type of concern and caution about pesticides, more so than the insect or spider they are attempting to control, and that is not a terrible thing when it comes to preventing misuse of the chemical. What we find is that this caution leads to not being aggressive enough to solve or control the issue. This leads to wasted time, wasted product all with minimal, to no results. Also, when purchasing over-the-counter chemicals keep this in mind: the companies want you to buy more of that product. A pest professional wants to take care of the issue as best as possible and in as least amount of time as possible and have a very satisfied client. A good example of this is the small foggers that are so often used, they are completely worthless! All foggers do make the insects run and hide into deeper areas within the space, causing them to find new areas to feel comfortable and keep on multiplying. Then when the fog clears, they come back out even more numerous and stronger. Then you buy another fogger again thinking that the temporary relief is working. Again, a waste of time and money. Often abuse of pesticides come when the cost of the proper service and the activity level do not line up for the potential client.
The two most common insects that drive this abuse are bed bugs and roaches. When it comes to bed bugs there are so many gadgets, gizmos, items, and odd ball things that people try and try and buy and buy with zero results. In that time the bed bugs are increasing in activity and numbers and the client is losing sleep and their sanity. This often drives them to chemical misuse.
Same with roaches, just not as mentally taxing. Also, roaches are often more accepted culturally than bed bugs. We have seen bed bug clients drench bedding areas, blankets, and clothing items with both restricted and over the counter chemical, even baby cribs and other similar areas. Thankfully, this can be easily remedied by letting the chemical dry and in most cases washing the items well to remove the chem, or simply trashing the items. With roaches it goes back to the small foggers, repeatedly. Even when foggers are abused, once the area is properly ventilated there is very low residual risk.
MOST DANGEROUS & MISUSED CHEMICAL FORMULATION | DUST
The most dangerous and abused chemical formulation we see misused is dust. Most professional pest applicators are cautious about dust due to the higher inhalation hazard and dust being almost impossible to clean up and off items. I have come across more cases of dust abuse and misuse than I would like to have. The most heartbreaking cases always involve kids. I do understand, however. When you have reached your breaking point with bed bugs or roaches you are not in the right state of mind, and you just want them gone. I’ve walked into homes where the resident has puffed out and applied Delta Dust all over the carpets, furniture, and beds. At that point I just stop and immediately walk out and tell the resident they can’t stay there and then report the location as a chemical hazard. The entire family and pests were just living in Delta Dust. Other chemical dusts such as diatomaceous earth, boric acid and other similar also are readily abused leading to health problems and concerns down the road.
Before using or deciding on performing any pest control treatments yourself, always carefully read the label and SDS information provided.
The most common pest homeowners attempt to treat with DIY pest solutions are rodents, bed bugs and cockroaches.
WE’RE HERE FOR YOU!
Before using or deciding on performing any pest control treatments yourself REFER TO THE LABEL AND SDS INFORMATION. You can also call our offices anytime with questions or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Reach out before doing something that makes it worse or is hazardous to you or your loved ones.(888) 429-1213