Getting rid of those critters without a pro

Do-It-Yourself Pest Control

by Monica Bird

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For many people, dealing with pests such as insects and rodents is one of the most unpleasant household chores. But paying huge exterminator bills can be even more painful. Fortunately, there are many options available to make this a manageable do-it-yourself task.

Since the average cost for even a routine visit from an exterminator can easily run about $100 or more, you can save quite a bit of money by doing this yourself. (Granted, there are some situations like an extreme infestation that should be handled by a professional, but many typical home pest control situations can easily be handled by the average person.)

Here are a few tips to getting the best results from your do-it-yourself pest control strategy.

Compare contents. Just as with groceries and many other household items, there is often a "generic" version of a pest control product that's equivalent to the name brand. Check out the labels or online descriptions. If the contents are identical, it doesn't make sense to pay extra just for a fancy label.

Do your research. It's easy to locate reviews and feedback about a particular product online. Obviously, you have to take these comments with a grain of salt. No product will satisfy everyone, and some people just like to complain. However, if you find a lot of users who make similar comments, you should probably pay attention.

Don't go overboard with too many products. If you are being plagued by several different types of pests, you may be tempted to buy a dozen different products. This usually isn't necessary. There are many all-purpose types of products that are effective against a wide range of pests. This is especially true for insects that are in the same general category like crawling pests, such as ants and spiders. Often, the same product will work for an entire category of pests.

Read the directions carefully. This should go without saying, but when handling any sort of chemicals, you always want to take the time to read the entire label carefully. The most important thing, of course, is to read the safety information. Among other things, there is usually information about any risks to people or pets, as well as cautionary information about the product's use around food preparation areas. But you also want to pay attention to details about how much product you need and how big of an area it will treat. Don't try to save a few pennies by stretching the product over a larger area than it's intended to treat. It will probably not be effective and you will end up spending more money to get enough product to do the job right.

Have you decided to hire a pro? Try Amazon Home Services.

Be prepared to do a little bit of work. Depending on the particular pest issue you're having, you may have to spend a little time and effort to ensure the best results. Many pests like roaches, for example, like to hide in nesting areas out of sight. Spraying a product that kills on contact might get rid of the bugs you see, but likely won't eliminate the entire problem. Do some detective work to locate possible hiding areas (such as behind appliances) and then treat those areas. Powders and gels are great options for cracks and crevices. Bait products are also effective for long-term results, as the worker/scavenger insects grab the bait and then take it back to the nest, where it can wipe out the whole colony.

By investing a little time and effort to launch your own pest-fighting operation, you may find that you can avoid the costs of an extermination service. offers expert advice and professional grade pest control products and solutions for do-it-yourself pest control at affordable prices.

Take the Next Step:

  • From bees to fleas and everything in between, The Dollar Stretcher's Frugal Pest Control Guide can help you save money battling bugs and other pests.
  • Once those home improvements are done, why not take some time to improve your finances? Our free Get Out of Debt Course can provide you with the tools you need to demolish your debt and rebuild your finances.
  • Join those who 'live better...for less' - Subscribe to The Dollar Stretcher newsletter, a weekly look at how to stretch both your day and your dollar! Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE!

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