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What Type of Pest Control Product Should I Use?

There is a variety of effective pest control at-home products available to you and each type has its own applications.

Pest control products are best used as a complement to non-chemical pest prevention methods, such as environmental controls (window/door screens, sealed entry points, trimmed lawn and hedges, etc.) and thorough tidiness and cleanliness inside the home and in the yard.

When using any pest control product, always be sure to read and carefully follow the directions on the product label, including proper use/application, whether or not the product is formulated to control the type of insect pest causing you problems, whether it’s formulated for indoor or outdoor use, etc.

 

What Different Types of Pest Control Products Are There?

 

Home Bug Spray

Sprays

Pest control sprays are liquids, applied either with a trigger-pump, hose-end sprayer, or as an aerosol. Liquid sprays are easy to apply, and are typically repellent to bugs, kill on contact, and provide residual protection.

Kill-on-contact effective bug sprays may take a few seconds, a few minutes, or even a few hours to affect a bug once sprayed, depending on the product and the type of bug, but typically, sprays are known for quick “knock-down,” i.e. killing bugs fast. Sprays are typically repellent and they provide some residual kill. They will repel bugs from surfaces or areas sprayed—this is helpful when trying to keep bugs away from a specific area. Sprays typically kill a wide variety of insects, and though they work quickly, aren’t typically as effective for as long as other product types (low residual).

Bug bombs” are considered a type of liquid (aerosol) spray which discharges the full content of their containers in a one-time application. Bug bombs can be effective at controlling bugs that are visible throughout your home, but not at controlling bugs (e.g., Asian lady beetles, boxelder bugs, bed bugs) that hide in walls and other out-of-the-way areas.

Spray tips:

  • Read and follow label directions.
  • Shake the container well before using, and periodically during use.
  • For indoor applications with either an aerosol or trigger spray product, apply product in cracks, crevices and void areas where bugs are more likely to be found, not on baseboards, floors, etc. unless spraying bugs directly.  Be sure to wipe away any excess.
  • For outdoor applications, apply products as a barrier spray around the house and/or yard to control active bug problems and to prevent future problems from occurring.  Remember that it is easier to spray for crawling insects versus flying insects.

Here’s a more in-depth guide to using bug spray.

 

No Spill Ant Kill Bait

Baits

Baits function differently than sprays. While sprays cover a broad area, baits need to be strategically placed where target bugs will find them. Baits can sold in a tube or bottle, can be housed inside a bait station, and are available in gel, syrup, liquid, paste, or granular form.

Baits only work on specific types of bugs which are attracted to the bait because they think it’s food (most often ants and roaches), and must be eaten to work. Roaches will eat baits (or other roaches that have consumed a bait, or their droppings) and then later die. Ants collect bait to take it back to their colony and feed to their fellow ants.

Baits need more time to work than sprays, but will usually give more lasting residual effectiveness against ants and roaches. Baits work especially well if the colony or nest is well-established and there are large numbers of ants or roaches.  Another advantage of using baits is that they keep the product contained within a small area, resulting in reduced risk of exposure to your family and pets.

Baiting tips:

  • Avoid applying bug spray on or near areas where you’ve applied a bait, as you don’t want to repel bugs away from your bait.
  • Also, cleanliness is important when using baits, as nearby food/grease particles reduce the bait’s attractiveness to target bugs.
  • When applying bait (gel, syrup), small, pea-sized drops spaced out every few feet are more effective than fewer, large gobs.
  • When placing bait stations, space them out every few feet.

Learn more about spring ant baiting tips here

 

Bed Bug Killer Dust

Dusts

While dust can be applied directly to bugs, it is most often applied to a surface for bugs to walk through. When bugs walk through the dust, the dust sticks to their bodies and legs, and they die within a few hours, either from the active ingredient(s) in the dust, or by desiccation (dehydration).

Dusts can be repellent or non-repellent depending on the ingredients, and are great for hard-to-control bugs like bed bugs and spiders (repellency may or may not be a benefit, depending on the bugs in question, as well as how and where the product is to be applied). Dusts are also good for direct nest treatment, such as ant nests or stinging insect nests, if you can locate and access the nest, and they also offer excellent long-lasting protection in areas where bugs tend to nest, hide, breed or get inside your home.

Dust application tips:

  • Insect dusts come in the form of a very fine powder that is effective when thinly and evenly spread over a surface, or injected into wall voids, cracks, and crevices. Apply under and behind appliance and cabinets, in drawer wells, basements and other areas where bugs hide. Also apply in cracks around pipes, windows, etc. where bugs might enter your home from the outside.
  • Applying dusts into out-of-the-way areas where pests hide make them most effective, while minimizing product exposure to your family and pets.
  • Some dusts come in plastic squeeze bottles that you can use for application into a void, but note that if you apply a dust too heavily, not only does it make an area look messy, bugs will likely avoid the dust altogether. Just a light coating is all you need.
  • For bed bug control, try using a paint or craft brush to apply to mattresses, bed frames, baseboards, etc. 

 

Maggie's Farm Fruit Fly Traps

Traps

Traps work by attracting and then trapping bugs, so they usually contain a food or pheromone attractant, combined with some sort of capture mechanism like glue, liquid to drown them, or a one-way entry designed to make it difficult for them to escape—traps don’t usually contain a specific product lethal to insects. Some traps are simply “blunder” traps (e.g. glue traps), and don’t use any attractants. Bugs just accidentally get stuck to them. Traps work well for certain bugs and can be a good “no poison” solution that works over an extended period of time. 

Effective Pest Control Product Safety

  • Always read and follow the product’s label directions and safety information for use and proper storage and disposal information.
  • Apply dusts and baits in out-of-the-way areas inaccessible to children and pets.
  • If using a spray indoors, ventilate the area as much as possible and keep children and pets out of treated areas until the liquid has dried and the room ventilated.
  • Do not use pest control products directly on food surfaces.
  • You can usually use pest control products both indoors and out, though some are specifically labelled for outdoor use only. 
  • Store pest control products in original containers only. Do not store other materials in empty pest control containers, no matter how much you’ve rinsed it out. Children and even adults have been accidentally poisoned by consuming pest control product stored in old beverage containers.
  • Your community may offer household hazardous waste collection and will accept unwanted pest control products/containers.

 

How do you apply bug sprays, dusts, and baits? Leave us a comment below!

 

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For scientifically-tested, effective pest control that is better for the environment, try Maggie’s Farm products. Our promise is that our plant and mineral-based products are developed by scientists and seasoned pest control professionals to be the most effective family of green pest control products on the market.


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