When you have an insect problem at home, it’s not unusual to panic. No one wants ants in the pantry or bedbugs in the couch cushions, but there are plenty of scenarios where you can treat insects successfully on your own. But where do you draw the line? When is it time to call in the pros? Let’s dig into Minneapolis pest control: when to try DIY pest control vs. hiring a pro.
When to DIY
Sometimes managing a pest problem yourself is doable. Depending on how handy you are and the extent of your knowledge, you can get rid of a few bugs yourself.
Minor Insect Issues
If you’re seeing a few stray ants in the kitchen or the odd cockroach skittering along a baseboard, you can take steps to mitigate the problem. Your first line of defense indoors is to eliminate all sources of food for pests. Clean out those sink drain strainers, don’t leave any dirty dishes or pet food in bowls, and store pantry food in airtight containers. Sure, houseplants add beauty to our homes, but they can also be Trojan horses, sneaking nasty insects into our living spaces. Check your pots and plants to make sure they aren’t harboring any unwelcome guests.
Ants, cockroaches, flies, silverfish, springtails are seasonal and can usually be controlled with ramped-up cleaning and over-the-counter products. In fact, you can manage many minor insect issues with eco-friendly products, frequent vacuuming, and a bit of vigilance. The more accurately you can identify a pest, the more effective you’ll be in treating it yourself.
Minor Pest Issues
When you start to see a number of bugs running across your counters or floors, you may have an infestation. By being proactive, it’s possible to manage and eliminate an infestation before it gets out of control. Wasp nests are easy to spot and simple to treat.
Sometimes treating what looks like a minor issue can make the problem worse. Take carpenter ants, the most destructive ant species. They make their nests in damp, dead wood, and create tunnels so they can roam around chomping away at the structure of your house. Spraying a household pesticide will kill a few ants, but it may also force the queen to move and start a new colony. Time to call in the pros. They’ll use a bait that workers will kill the queen and the entire colony.
When to Call a Pest Control Professional
Infestations require the expertise of a pro. Entomologist Jeff Hahn, with the University of Minnesota Extension, draws an analogy: “It’s not much different from going to a doctor or a mechanic. There are things you can do yourself, and there are things you want the pros to take care of. Pest control operators are experts at what they do.”
Difficult to Identify Insect Species
Identifying a pest is the first key to controlling it. Different pests respond to different types of treatment. Pesticides may not be the right solution, and you can waste time and money treating an infestation with the wrong products. If you’re not sure what species of insect is infesting your home, it’s time to ask an exterminator to narrow it down and determine a course of action.
At a certain point, an infestation will become significant enough that taking it on yourself is a losing proposition. DIY products add up, cost-wise, and the solutions they offer may prove to only be temporary. You may end up spending more money in the long run while wasting valuable time by taking matters into your own hands.
Treatment-Resistant Insect Species
Cockroaches and yellowjackets are one thing, but other pests are hardier and require more drastic measures to manage. Hahn says, “Bedbugs are nearly impossible to get rid of on your own, so are carpenter ants.” Like carpenter ants, Bedbugs are so prolific, they should always be treated by professionals to avoid a major infestation.
When Infestations Are a Health Risk
Many pests carry and transmit disease. The presence of cockroaches increases the odds of children developing asthma and allergies. Over-the-counter products for controlling pests can harm you, your home, and your pets–especially when not applied correctly and used excessively. If you feel that you and your family are at risk of having your health compromised, it’s time to call a professional.
Insect infestations in your home can be unsightly, annoying, or downright dangerous. Although you can treat many insect pests by yourself with great success, knowing where to draw the line is crucial. You wouldn’t perform major surgery on yourself, and you shouldn’t try to tackle an insect infestation that’s beyond your level of expertise. Know your limitations and don’t be afraid to seek help managing a pest issue.
Main image credit: Silverfish, AJ Cann, CC by SA 2.0.