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Do-It-Yourself Pest Control That Actually Works

Person spraying diy pesticide in cabinet
Evgeniy pavlovski / Shutterstock

Pests can cause serious problems in your home. Critters like roaches and rodents are known to spread diseases to humans, while others — like termites — can cause serious damage to the structure of your home. It’s very common to encounter problems with pests at some point. Fortunately, with some innovation and elbow-grease, you can get rid of pests in your home and keep them out.

Everything you need to know about DIY pest control 

For some people, seeing a single bug walk across the floor warrants a call to an exterminator. But others take matters into their own hands and search for DIY pest control options before resorting to hiring help. If you’re in the second group, there are a number of options for do-it-yourself pest control that you can try.

Step 1: Make sure to properly identify the pest before treating it

Properly identifying the tiny intruders in your home will help you choose the right type of do-it-yourself pest control. Customizing the type and amount of DIY pest control based on the particular pest you encounter will drive the best results and up your chances of eradicating the problem for good.

There are a number of ways that you can identify the creepy-crawler that’s infesting your home. Obviously, seeing the pest is the easiest way to make a proper identification. You can look through photos of common household pests to get a proper understanding of what they look like, and then you can make your identification from there.

If you’re unable to get a good look at the creature, put on your detective hat and scour your home. Look for evidence the pests leave behind, like droppings and damage. Take rodents, for example. They leave behind droppings around food products and chew holes into walls and floors.

Using clues critters leave behind is usually the fastest way to identify pest activity, as many types of pests prefer to stay out of view as much as possible.

Step 2: Figure out how pests are getting into your home

If you’re wanting to do your own pest control, it’s essential to figure out how pests are getting inside your home. Finding and eliminating entry points can keep the small intruders from reinfesting your home after you apply any DIY pest control treatment. Pests like roaches, ants, silverfish, and spiders can squeeze into your home through very small breaches. Other pests, like rodents and termites, have the ability to chew their way into your home.

Fortunately, there are some common entry points that you can identify, monitor, and address.

Common entry points for pests

  • Around doors: Damaged weather stripping, shrunken caulk, and doors that don’t close all the way can all leave space around an exterior entry point big enough for pests to squeeze through.
  • Around windows: If a window does not seal properly, it can leave a breach big enough for critters like roaches, ants, silverfish, and spiders to get inside your home.
  • Roofline: Damage to soffits and fascia can leave cracks and holes big enough to create easy entry points.
  • Foundation: Damage to your foundation can lead to cracks and separation between building materials that allow pests inside.

Step 3: Determine the right DIY treatments for common household pests

There are a number of do-it-yourself pest control options that don’t require the use of specialized equipment or knowledge of advanced application processes. With a little time and dedication, you can learn to properly use common pest control options and even make your own DIY pest control treatment.

  • Houseflies: You can hang a sticky trap in an area of your home where flies are a nuisance, such as your kitchen. When flies land on one of these traps, they get stuck and cannot fly away. Putting one of these traps up is simple and does not require the help of an exterminator. Learn more about how to get rid of flies.
  • Roaches: Two DIY pest control options for roaches include setting out bait centers and removing the elements around your home that attract them inside, such as water and food. Learn more about how to get rid of roaches.
  • Mice: Do-it-yourself pest control options for mice include setting out bait and traps. Learn more about how to get rid of mice.
  • Termites: The DIY option for termites is to set out baiting systems around the perimeter of your home. Learn more about how to get rid of termites.
  • Spiders: The best DIY pest control defense against spiders is to keep the areas where they build webs dusted and clean.
  • Ants: You can create ant bait and killer by putting out cotton balls soaked in a solution of borax, sugar, and water in areas where ants are a problem. Learn more about how to get rid of ants.
  • Fruit flies: Create a trap using a soda bottle, apple cider vinegar, and dish soap. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension provides a detailed description of how to create a homemade fruit fly trap. Learn more about how to get rid of gnats and fruit flies.
  • Silverfish: Treating silverfish on your own successfully includes eliminating access to the things in your environment that help them thrive, such as humidity and improperly stored starchy food items. Learn more about how to get rid of silverfish.

Pest control products vs. home remedies: What should you use? 

A quick online search will show you that there is no shortage of recipes out there if you’re interested in creating a DIY pest control home remedy. But the success you’ll find with the various recipes is dependent upon the type of pest and the level of your infestation. You may find success dealing with a few fruit flies using a DIY fruit fly trap. On the other hand, a widespread cockroach infestation will be more difficult to eliminate using home remedies.

If you’re considering using a commercially-made pest control product, you’ll find a long list of options. But read the label. Some options might include pesticides and other chemicals.

There’s no shortage of all-natural options if you’re looking to go chemical-free. Traps and bait systems are two examples of pest control products that can be effective without using chemical pesticides. All-natural pest control products can provide the best of both worlds when it comes to being effective and avoiding pesticides.

How much money could you save with do-your-own pest control? 

It’s possible to save money with do-it-yourself pest control. The most effective way to do that is to focus on preventing pests from getting into your house in the first place. In order to keep pests out, you need to focus on sealing up breaches around your home and eliminating elements that attract them inside, such as easy access to food and water.

Spraying for pests or setting out traps can quickly become expensive and time-consuming if you have a severe infestation. If you already have an infestation that is causing serious problems, it’s worth considering a professional exterminator. But, hiring a pro is definitely the more expensive option. To give you an idea of cost, here are some example quotes.

Cost of professional extermination

Pest Company 1 Cost Company 2 Cost
Mosquitoes Mosquito Joe $74.69 per treatment Mosquito Authority $79.00 per treatment
Termites East Texas Termite and Pest Control $100 for initial treatment, with varying costs for protection going forward. The Bug’s End $139 for individual spot treatment 10 linear feet or less.
Rodents The Bug’s End $200 for initial treatment and fixing spots where rodents are getting inside. Lane Pest Control starts at $25 to $65 per month, depending on the size of the house plus an initial fee for the first service.

*Prices as of 3/18/2020 for an extermination job in Longview, Texas (75603)

But when should you call a professional exterminator? 

If you have a severe infestation, you’ll likely need the help of a professional exterminator. When an infestation gets severe, it’s difficult to treat all of the affected areas without training and proper equipment.

You should also consider calling in the pros if or when your DIY pest control efforts have failed. If you’ve treated your home for pests without success, it’s a sign that you need to switch your treatment method or call in help.

Tips to prevent future infestations

  • Take the trash out regularly.
  • Clean up spills right away.
  • Deal with any water issues.
  • Seal up breaches.

Other factors to consider when you do pest control yourself

Other factors to consider when you do pest control yourself include safety, effectiveness, and your time. Working with chemicals can be dangerous. Before you make a home remedy or use a pest control product, be sure to take steps to protect your safety. Before you choose a pest control product, consider your family members. Do you have young children or sick loved ones that might be sensitive to strong chemical products? And make sure to wear a mask, gloves, and goggles when working with chemicals.

You also need to consider how effective your do-it-yourself pest control efforts will be. Ineffective DIY methods for infestations that are out of control leave you at risk for prolonging the problem and wasting your time (and money) by having to apply treatment again in the near future.

Do-it-yourself pest control can be effective if you’re willing to put in the time and effort to research options and make an informed decision. At the end of the day, your goal is to get rid of the pests as quickly and effectively as possible.

The bottom line

First, identify the pests infesting your house. Seal up entry points, and find the treatment option that will be the most effective in your situation. You may find that a combination of home remedies and purchased products provide you with the best results for eliminating pests and keeping them away. If the infestation seems too big to tackle alone, call a professional exterminator near you for a quote.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I do my own pest control? 

Yes, if you’re willing to spend the time learning about the most effective options.

How do you make your own pest control spray? 

Use essential oils such as peppermint oil to create a natural pest control spray. But before you make your own home remedy, make sure it’s in line with the most effective pest control method for your type of infestation.

How do I keep bugs out of my house naturally? 

Seal up entry points and remove elements that are attracting them inside.


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