So you’re thinking about doing your own pest control? Whether it’s to save money, to do your part to help the environment, or just because you’re tired of dealing with pushy salespeople, there are many reasons that you might look to DIY pest control methods. We talk to a lot of people who have attempted their own pest control, and they usually make the decision due to financial or environmental concerns. We understand the motivation to do it yourself. With trendy new subscription-based DIY pest control options popping up on the internet, we can appreciate why the temptation may grow even stronger. However, there are certain things to keep in mind when researching DIY pest control options, and we’d like to highlight some of those considerations here.
While we have to admit that we may have an inherent bias in regard to this subject, we are committed to being transparent and honest with our customers. For that reason, we’re going to break the mold here and talk about some of the advantages of do-it-yourself pest control. There are several things that subscription-based DIY pest control companies boast as benefits of doing it yourself. First, they claim low and transparent pricing and satisfaction guarantees as some of the biggest perks. Second, they state they have “location-specific” chemicals that are chosen specifically to combat bugs in your region. They also highlight the idea that the products they send are “environmentally friendly.” I’d like to dive deeper into each of these points and touch on some of the disadvantages that are not as obvious at first glance.
As far as transparent pricing goes, there are many pest control companies that provide free, no-obligation estimates for service. Since there are a wide range of services offered and pests to be treated, most professionals will require some general information about the types of pests and property to be serviced in order to provide a customized estimate. Oftentimes larger pest control companies will provide basic, one-size-fits-all pricing that includes services that you may or may not even need. There isn’t one “right” way for companies to give quotes, but it can be frustrating to be charged for services you won’t utilize.
Not every company can offer full refunds or guarantees, but any honest and reputable company should stand by its services and do what it takes to make things right if a customer is unhappy with their service. That being said, if you are choosing DIY pest control methods only because of their transparent pricing structures, then I suggest you look into working with a small, family-owned pest control company who would be happy to work with you to create plans that fit your unique needs as well as your budget.
Many states have different requirements for the pesticides that are used there as well as restrictions on who can use them. For that reason, “location-based” chemicals are pretty standard for pest control companies and not something that should be considered a “benefit” of DIY pest control.
Additionally, there are restrictions on who can purchase and apply certain pesticides in specific states. That means that although you may be able to obtain “pro-grade” pesticides through a mail-order subscription, depending on what state you reside in, the chemicals that are sent to you may not actually be the same chemicals that the professionals are using. For example, in Connecticut, only licensed pest control operators can apply certain pesticides, and only registered businesses can obtain the chemicals from licensed distributors. There is a network in place specifically to prevent uninformed people from getting their hands on potent and potentially dangerous pesticides.
Some of the pesticides that are sent out by subscription-based pest control companies have pretty intense warning labels on them. When these companies make a claim that their services are “environmentally friendly,” they are operating under the assumption that the general public will read all of the warning labels, the detailed instructions, and all the safety measures in their entirety. Then they are implying that every customer is applying the pesticides the correct way, with the appropriate precautions. Only under those circumstances can these chemicals possibly be considered environmentally friendly.
In an ideal world, everyone who purchases pesticides online would read all of the information that accompanies them. They would read the warnings and understand how to apply the chemical with the least amount of risk to pollinators, aquatic life, or our drinking water. But in reality, that is a lot of responsibility to put on unsuspecting consumers who think they are just taking the cheaper and easier route by doing their own pest control.
The only real environmentally friendly method of pest control is to use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to create an inhospitable environment for pests. Professional pest control technicians are trained in IPM methods that can help reduce the chance of pest populations growing in your home. They can do an in-person inspection and let you know what you can do – without the use of pesticides – to remedy your issue. Then, if pesticides are absolutely necessary, they can apply the minimum amount needed in order to control the infestation. That is not only environmentally friendly, but it is environmentally responsible.
DIY literally means do-it-yourself. So if you are looking into DIY pest control as a means to save yourself time and frustration, then think again. When you are taking on the responsibility of applying chemicals on your own property, you are also taking on the job of reading and understanding the pesticides you are using and the hazards they can present. Technicians in Connecticut and Massachusetts are required to undergo rigorous training to become licensed pest control operators. Even after all the training, they are still not allowed to make decisions about what chemicals to use without direct instructions from a licensed Supervisor.
Supervisors go through even more training than operators and have a deep understanding of the biology of different pests. They use scientific data to determine which pesticides to use for each pest, what time of year to apply them, as well as how much to apply, and how concentrated the chemical should be. They are required to log training hours in order to maintain their supervisor’s license. When you order chemicals from a subscription-based pest control service, you are essentially taking on the role of a pest control supervisor, but without the training or experience required by many states.
Earlier, we touched on some of the benefits of doing your own pest control. Then, we dove into the reasons why some of those supposed “benefits” may seem better than they actually are. However, there are several disadvantages to DIY pest control that we haven’t even considered yet. For example, if you’re working with an online company instead of a local pest control business, you won’t get any in-person inspections. You won’t get customized recommendations to help you minimize pests without the use of pesticides. If you need additional coverage for rodents such as rats or mice, you won’t get that either.
All in all, if you simply need to control one or two types of crawling insects and you are committed to reading and understanding the safety precautions provided with the pesticides, then yes, you can save money by doing it yourself. But what you save in cost, you lack in personalized service, recommendations, and experience that comes with a professional pest control company. If you decide that DIY pest control is too much to take on, then give us a call at Richland Pest & Bee Control. We would be happy to walk you through the estimate process and come up with a treatment plan that takes your financial and environmental concerns into consideration.