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Can you do your own pest control?

Jun 01, 2020

CroppMetcalfe exterminator treating an insect infestation outside a home in the Washington, D.C. area.


As outdoor temperatures continue to rise, the more we want to get outside to enjoy the sunshine and warm breezes. While that should be refreshing and enjoyable, all the fun of spending time in the yard can be ruined at the sight of summer pests.


From ants and mosquitos to bees and spiders, it’s probably pretty tempting to do your own pest control through DIY pest control methods. However, many commonly cited DIY pest hacks don't actually work in the long run. In fact, some may even worsen your pest problem.

Common DIY Pest Control Methods

It might not be every homeowner's first choice to work with a professional exterminator when it comes to handling their pest problem, so they turn to the internet for some suggestions on what they can do themselves. When you search for DIY pest control methods online, here are few recommendations you’ll see:

All Purpose Bug Sprays

Most lists of DIY pest control methods include some sort of “all purpose” bug spray. The recipe usually requires a gallon of water, some scented castile soap (peppermint is a common recommendation), and a spray bottle. You then simply spray surfaces you’d like bugs to avoid. 

Essential Oils

It’s common to hear about essential oils when looking for DIY pest control options. People suggest mixing different oil blends with water or vodka for an at-home bug spray. You’ll likely see suggestions for peppermint, lavender, lemon grass, tea tree, or rosemary to help ward off different types of bugs.

Coffee Grounds

Another natural DIY pest control method people recommend is sprinkling coffee grounds along your window sills and doors frames to ward off unwanted pests. 

Vinegar Water

Usually meant to ward off spiders, some lists include mixing water with vinegar, putting it in a spray bottle, and then coating any cracks, crannies, or other points of entry. 


Some DIY pest control hacks suggest you try your hand at gardening. Mint, basil, thyme, lavender, and even marigold plants have all been noted by some as pest repellents.

Why DIY Pest Control Methods Don’t Work

While some DIY pest control methods might temporarily drive the pests away, most come with serious flaws. Consider the following reasons why DIY pest control methods don’t work: 

They Don’t Address the Root of the Issue

A lot of DIY pest control methods aim to keep pests away temporarily using items that smell or taste unpleasant to the bugs. These methods, however, are not strong enough to tackle a large-scale infestation. On the surface, it may seem like your pest problem is going away, but in reality, the core issue will continue to worsen the longer you prolong intensive treatment. 

Pesticide Poisoning or Chemical Burns

Essential oils and vinegar/water sprays aren’t your only options when it comes to DIY pest control methods. Some options are far more dangerous and capable of causing a great deal of harm. Pesticides contain poisons that are harmful to humans as well as pests. You could end up with severe injuries like chemical burns, permanent respiratory issues, and in severe cases, death, if you handle pesticides improperly.

Lack of Directions

Someone who is unfamiliar with how different types of pests react to an extermination attempt might end up doing far more harm than good when attempting DIY pest control. For instance, some insects scatter when you spray them, leading them to spread out throughout an area and infest more of your space, whereas others need to be directly addressed.


Additionally, DIY pest control methods don’t explain where to place traps, how much or where to spray a repellent, how to tell what type of insect is your perpetrator, and so much more. 

Pest Control Methods You can Trust

At the end of the day, it’s not worth the risk to do your own pest control. Many commonly cited DIY methods are ineffective and have been known to cause more harm than good. It’s best to leave extermination and pest prevention to the professionals.


If you need an exterminator in Washington, D.C., Maryland or Northern Virginia, trust CroppMetcalfe to get the job done right. Our certified pest control professionals have an average of 15 years of experience in the field and use only the industry’s safest materials to effectively prevent unwanted pests from invading your home. 

For more information about CroppMetcalfe’s pest control services, call 703-372-9359 or contact us online to schedule an appointment today. 


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