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Selecting the Right Product Type: Spray, Bait, Dust or Trap?

When using a pest control product, always read and follow the directions on the product label. This information here will help you select the right product and know what to expect when using it, as well as provide some handy pest control tips.

There are a variety of Maggie’s Farm products and each product type has different uses.


Our sprays include aerosols, trigger sprayers and hose-end sprayers. Sprays are typically easy to use and kill insects when the spray contacts them. It may take the bugs a few seconds, a few minutes or even a few hours to die once sprayed, depending on the product and the type of bug, but sprays will typically “knock down” insects quickly. Sprays are repellent, and will tend to repel bugs from the surfaces or area where you sprayed. This repellency is helpful when trying to keep pests out of a particular area. Sprays will typically kill a wide variety of insects – read each product label for the list of pests. While sprays work quickly, they won’t typically work for as long as other product types.


Baits work differently from sprays. Baits are targeted to very specific types of bugs, which are attracted to the bait because they think it’s food. Only certain insects can be controlled with baits - most often ants and roaches. Roaches eat bait and die. Ants collect bait and take it back to the nest to feed to the colony. Baits need more time to work than sprays, but will usually give the most lasting results against ants and roaches. Especially if the colony or nest is well-established and you have a lot of ants or roaches. Don’t ever spray and bait in the same place, sprays can repel bugs from bait and make them not eat it. Bait can be inside a bait station, like Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective No Spill Ant Kill™, or in a tube or bottle, and can be in gel, syrup, liquid, paste or granular form.


While dust can be applied directly to bugs, it is most often applied to a surface. When the bug walks through, it picks up the dust on its body and typically dies a few hours later. Dusts are great for hard to control bugs like bed bugs and spiders and are excellent for long-lasting protection in areas where bugs tend to nest, hide, breed or get inside. Dusts are also good for direct nest treatment, such as ant nests or stinging insect nests, if you can locate and access the nest. Dusts can be repellent (Maggie’s Farm Spider & Insect Dust) or non-repellent (Maggie’s Farm Bed Bug Killer) depending on the ingredients. Repellency can be a benefit or not depending on the pest, and how and where the product is to be used.


Traps work by attracting and then trapping the pest, so they don’t usually contain a specific chemical toxicant to kill the insect. They contain a food or pheromone attractant, combined with some sort of capture mechanism like glue, liquid they drown in, or a one-way entry designed to make it difficult for them to escape. Some traps are simply “blunder” traps, with no attractant – like many glue traps - that insects just accidentally get stuck to. Traps can work well for certain pests and can be a good “no poison” solution that can work over an extended period of time.