Do it yourself pest control vs. hiring a professional.

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April 16, 2024

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In today’s day and age, there are many different do it yourself pest control products that will help you keep pests out of your home, but will they save you money compared to hiring a professional?

The truth is, these products on the market today seem appealing. You can often find step-by-step instructions and training videos on how to use them, all for a fairly low cost.

Things to consider when using DIY pesticides:

We must, of course, consider a few other factors that contribute to the overall price, so you can decide whether it makes sense for you. Time spent, effectiveness, and the price of the products themselves all come into play when looking at solving a pest problem yourself, or hiring an expert.

Your time:

The first cost to consider when looking at do it yourself pest control vs. hiring a professional is, of course, your time. Are you a busy person, who balances a variety of tasks, jobs, and family life? If so, your time is valuable. Of course, this adds to the DIY price of home extermination. When hiring a professional, you will be paying a flat rate for the services with their time spent included in the rate. When you hire an experienced company like Empire, you are hiring a team who has successfully provided control for numerous homes. The knowledge and experience allow us to complete a treatment quickly and effectively.

When doing it yourself, there is no promise on how long the application will take, how many different products you may have to try, and how many times you may have to re-apply if done incorrectly. If this is something you plan on doing regularly, it may be worth the learning curve! Otherwise, a good pest control company will take the guesswork out of the time consideration!

The effectiveness of the products and treatment:

There is not a 100% guarantee that all DIY pesticides will work on your specific pest situation. When hiring a pest control professional, they’ve done the legwork to research the many options available and find what’s best for you!

For instance, let’s take a popular DIY insect control product, Ortho home defense. It’s made to be sprayed inside and outside of the home for cockroaches, spiders, etc. They contain the same active ingredients as products used by professionals but have different concentrations. The active ingredient in Ortho’s product, Bifenthrin, has a concentration of 0.0500 % by weight, while the products we use here at Empire contain Bifenthrin at a concentration of 7.9 % by weight. Typically, the residual effect of our insecticides last much longer, so your treatment is more effective for a longer period of time!

Here is another example: If you’re looking to solve a rodent problem, you’ll likely encounter two common DIY solutions. One is the Tomcat brand, which is a type of bait for rodents. When mice eat them, they go outside looking for water and that is where they end up. Typically, this type of treatment has an attractant in the bait. The bait used at Empire has a stronger attractant, meaning more mice will visit and eat from the bait stations. You may also encounter “snap traps.” You’ve probably seen them in cartoons. The concept is simple – the rodents find the food and are killed by the snapping metal bar. This of course, means you will have to deal with the body (and smell) left behind. After Empire has gained control of the home, we’ll make sure to plug all points of entry with a copper mesh, so that rodents cannot chew through and enter the home again.

Lastly, no matter what product you use, DIY products often degrade more quickly when exposed to rain and sunlight. Also, most DIY options do not include an Insect Growth Regulator (IGR). An IGR is a product that stops insect growth at all stages of the life cycle. Without it, only adult insects are dealt with. There may be eggs that are unharmed, causing a MUCH larger problem down the line. At Empire, we treat insects with both pesticides as well as IGR’s.

The price:

No two pest control companies are the same. No two do-it-yourself solutions are the same. That said, of course hiring someone is more expensive in the short run. And if you want to invest the time to become a bug expert, we will definitely not stop you! In fact, we are a company that takes pride in not trying to scare you into paying for our services, but taking the time to get to know your situation, and even teach you about the process. Some companies work on a commission basis – so they charge higher prices and rush to get jobs done. We have a flat rate almost every time, and don’t work on a commission model – so we’ll take the time to be the pest control partner you need!

That said, we can’t give an exact price estimate for each scenario, it’s hard to compare. You may spend $100+ on a treatment from a professional, and it may seem like a lot next to the $20 you might spend on something in store. But as mentioned, the products are usually about half as effective and degrade more quickly. As mentioned, they usually do not contain an IGR, so you’re much more likely to see them repopulate later.

Again, we can’t give an exact cost breakdown, but here is a simple example of how an insect treatment plan might compare:

Hiring a professional:

  • A 5-minute phone call.
  • Roughly $100 for each quarterly application

Do it yourself pest control:

  • 1 hour to research and find a good product for you.
  • 2 hours to research the effectiveness of the right product (just like you’re working on right now!)
  • 30 minutes in application
  • $20 for the product
  • Another $20 to re-apply once it wears off in half the time.
  • Another potential $20 if the insects reproduce without a proper IGR in place.
  • Protective gear for more serious applications (you don’t want to regularly get pesticides on your skin.)

If your time is incredibly valuable, those hours likely add up. If your eventual goal is to handle the operation yourself (maybe you live in an area with a ton of bugs), then maybe it is worth it to learn how to apply them yourself.

Whatever your decision, we’re happy to share everything we know with you when you give us a call.