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  • Writer's pictureChelle Hartzer

Go Ahead, DIY, I Dare You (AKA: What could go wrong?)

Because I am constantly researching pest control, I am always looking up information on pesticides. Sometimes I am looking for a specific active ingredient, other times a product that has a specific pest on the label, or often it’s reading labels and making sure it is the best choice.

As such, our computer overlords notice this and I get lots of ads for pesticides and pest control products. All of which, the ads inform me, I can buy online. It may be some kind of do it yourself online store (but not Amazon, they got in trouble!), or it is a DIY service where they send you “everything you need” to apparently take care of every pest known to humanity.

I see it quite a bit on online forums like Facebook groups and NextDoor: stop paying for expensive pest control when you can do it yourself, here’s how I did it! I won’t even get into the “home” remedies of oils and concoctions and eye of newt. If you are a pest control professional, you know the value of the service you provide. If you are not in the pest control field and think a DIY approach is better/cheaper/faster/easier…go ahead. Give it a shot.

Professionals know they have many of the same products the DYI’er can get online or from their local stores. I can buy many professional grade pesticides online and get them shipped directly to my home with no license or certifications. That doesn’t mean that I know how to use them or use them safely. (Okay, I DO, but that’s because I’m a professional!) The fact is, most DIY’ers either won’t read the label instructions or will ignore them (if one glug is good, two must be better!). Pesticides are often overapplied which can lead to environmental effects and health effects by exposure.

In my opinion, the absolute worst part of this is there is no recourse for homeowners who choose to do this. As a licensed professional, I can be investigated by the state, fined, lose my license, and potentially lose my business if I am caught misapplying pesticides. My neighbor can buy rodenticide off the internet, throw it all over her yard (not in secured stations or in appropriate doses) and there’s really nothing that can be done.

The other reason DIY fails is because there is just not the knowledge and skill involved in treating in the right spaces at the right times. Sure, anyone can go buy a rat trap. It’s the professionals that know where to put it because they are observing the signs and conducive conditions. They know the best places to put cockroach bait so the roaches quickly get to it and eliminate the colonies. Professionals will assess the whole situation and find the water sources that need to be tipped out for effective mosquito control. The average untrained person won’t be able to adequately deal with pest problems long term.

If you are a professional in this field, you are probably nodding along and saying “hell yeah!” and “say it sister!”. You have probably had many customers that have gone the DIY route and now they are calling you…because it didn’t work. Sometimes, they may have even made the problem worse by trying their own home remedies.

That’s not necessarily the end of the story. There are times that a DIY approach is perfectly fine. I’ve worked with many companies that choose to do their pest control in-house (as opposed to hiring an outside pest control company) and have well trained and educated individuals managing their program. There have been a few homeowners I have worked with that have very carefully read the label and applied it correctly and managed their pest problems.

As professionals, we must continue to try to educate the general public about pest control, pesticides, and professionalism (and why they should hire you!). As businesses that are managing their own programs, it is necessary to provide the resources to make those internal teams successful and safe (so you don’t have pest problems!). We can help with any of that. Want to find out how? Contact us here!

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