Doing your own pest control sounds like it might not be worth your time. It’s probably messy and difficult, right!? And how much will it really save you!?
The truth is that doing your own pest control can save you hundreds of dollars every year, while at the same time being just as effective as hiring a professional service. It’s one of the easiest ways I know to slice hundreds of dollars from your annual budget in no-time.
The simplicity of DIY pest control can’t be overstated either. Getting rid of ants as well as other pests is fairly easy with just a few steps that you can quickly do on your own. Most of the common types of pests you’ll find in your home can easily be attacked with some of these basic, and incredibly cost-effective, DIY pest control solutions.
Pest Control 101: Keep your house clean!
Avoiding pests in the first place is always best. This means keeping your place clean and clear of all the stuff that attracts pests in the first place!
Ants in particular will typically invade a section of your home that is dirty or where food has been left out in the open. They are especially fond of sugary liquids. So, if you’ve spilled soda, honey, or anything else that ants find attractive, clean it up quickly.
This goes for dishes in your sink too. Make sure to not let them linger for days on end. If you do, you could easily end up with an ant problem on your hands. Basic cleanup is the easiest way to prevent an ant invasion of your home.
As for your yard, proper lawn care and maintenance is always a good preventative solution to bugs and common pests.
Lawn care: Trimming back your trees and bushes to prevent ants
Pests love to climb on foliage outside your home. It’s natural! But if those trees or bushes are touching your exterior walls, you’ll want to be sure to trim them back so that they can’t easily enter through cracks and crevices. That’s one easy way for carpenter ants, spiders and other common pests to get into your home that you can easily prevent.
So grab your hedge trimmers and get to work. It’s a simple task that will take you mere minutes.
Natural Pest Control Treatment (No Pesticide)
If you’re looking for a pesticide free pest control product, Diatomaceous earth is an incredibly well-reviewed 100% natural product that you can purchase on Amazon for only $25. This product is food grade and made out of 100% pure freshwater diatomaceous earth.
What’s that? It’s a naturally occurring sedimentary rock that has been crumbled into a fine white powder. And this powder is what you use to attack your ants and do your own pest control. Spread out granules with the included powder duster (like a spray bottle for dust) and it will dehydrate the ants that find it. You can even use this to get rid of outdoor colonies completely.
Keep in mind, a little goes a long way. This 10lb bag will last you a long time. Be sure to look for the point of entry and sprinkle the Diatomaceous Earth there. That’s where it will have the greatest effect. Matt has used Diatomaceous Earth treatment at his house specifically to keep his chicken coop free of pests which is another worthwhile use.
DIY Pest Control with Professional Exterminator Products
If your pest problems are more severe (that means normal in the South) you might want to break out the big guns and use the same stuff pest control professionals use. I suggest Talstar Pro, which actually helps to contain more than 75 different kinds of pests from flying insects like mosquitos, to ticks and fleas.
I’ve been using Talstar Pro religiously for the last seven years and that’s because it is so much more effective than anything you can purchase from a big box home improvement store. Fortunately, you can get Talstar Pro for really cheap – and the bottle lasts forever (I’m still on my first one all these years later).
Talstar P Mixing Instructions
If you’re worried that the pesticide application is above your pay grade, I promise you that it isn’t. Talstar Pro is incredibly easy to use — you don’t need to be a professional exterminator.
The general rule of thumb is using 1 oz of Telstar Pro for each 1 Gallon of water. You can get fancy and make your solution slightly stronger for certain types of pests. But for the most part a 1oz/1Gal mixing method is great.
Mix the solution inside a garden spray bottle. Make sure you are wearing gloves. Spray the solution along the entire exterior of your home. This creates a barrier which bugs cannot cross and the solution has residual effects for three months. You can spray the in the interior of your home also but be sure to keep kids and pets away until the chemical has dried fully. That usually takes about an hour.
To make you feel even better about how safe Talstar Pro is, commercial kitchens use this exact chemical for pest prevention too. If it’s good enough to use in professional kitchens where food is being prepared for hundreds of diners, then it’s good enough for me. Spray entry points thoroughly since that is where ants and other pests are most likely to enter your home.
How long does pest control treatment take?
Spraying for ants around your home takes far less time than you might think. And once you’ve done it once, you’ll quickly wonder why you paid big bucks for quarterly pest control service before.
It usually takes me roughly a half-hour from start to finish to spray my 1,900 square foot house every three months. Considering that many pest control companies charge you close to $100 per quarter, that’s a huge savings! Banking nearly $400 at the cost of a couple of hours of my time every year is well worth it.
When is professional pest control is necessary?
There are certainly times where a professional pest control service is helpful. For instance, if you have a family of squirrels in your attic or rats consistently getting into your kitchen. Those are tougher problems for the individual homeowner to tackle.
There are ways you can attack those problems on your own. But a professional can get rid of a large infestation or remove an angry rodent for you in a hurry while minimizing the damage. Basic pest treatment, however, is best done by the individual homeowner. Because information is free on the internet, and pro-level resources at our disposal these days.
Is DIY Pest Control Worth It?
When you run the numbers, using natural methods like Diatomaceous Earth to get rid of ants naturally in your home can save you real money. And doing your own quarterly pest control with a pro-grade solution like Talstar Pro will save you even more.
When I quickly crunched the numbers, my annual pest control costs are only $1.58 per year. This is per home, when you spray quarterly as recommended. No joke.
That’s an incredible savings of more than $350 of what I was paying having a company come out and do quarterly treatments at my home! By the way, if you are a landlord and pay for pest control at your rental homes too, the savings are even bigger. I own five properties so doing my own pest control allows me to save close to $2,000 a year. And I’m always up for saving the big bucks with minimal effort. Being frugal really pays off!
Hopefully I’ve convinced you to do your own pest control. Now, you get to figure out where to put all those dollars you’re saving! 😉
Hey guys! Thanks for the wonderful advice on pest control (just ordered on Amazon)! Do you have any advice for mice control?
The general strategy for dealing with mice will be similar to ants. Begin by making sure food is not left out where it is accessible, try to seal up your house to keep them out, trap mice that are already in the house and as a last resort look into chemical pesticides. You can call your local extension service for more advice or google “mice IPM” to find good information published by universities. IPM stands for “Integrated Pest Management”. The idea is to look at all the tools in your toolbox and start with measures that have the least risk to health or environment then combine and escalate as necessary.
Can also use Borax. It worked like a charm with me. Find a bottle cap or something of similar size, mix something sweet like syrup, honey, or a little soda, mix in some of the Borax, and when the ants and other bugs come to eat it, they will take some of it with them and spread it around. Sounds cruel, but Borax kills them by hollowing them out. Don’t need much, and may take a week or two, but they are gone for the season until the reproduce again the next summer. I do the same thing every late spring, and I’m ant free.
This is an awesome article, and love the podcast! I was looking at the instructions for the Talstar P and was confused on the mixing instructions. What application volume so you use?
Hey Michael! I typically go with the .06% dilution, which means I mix 1 oz of Talstar P with 1 gallon of water- that’s a good rule of thumb and is easy to remember but you can always refer to Talstar’s user guide.
Great article! Just what I needed – thank you!!!