No matter how clean you keep your home, inevitably you're going to run across a bug. Whether you're dealing with the occasional ant trail or you have a full-on infestation of cockroaches, it's helpful to become familiar with the best pest control products.
Before you buy, however, you should get a sense of what your pest control plan is (i.e. what type of bugs you're tackling and where they are in the house) so your arsenal of products doesn't become unused clutter on a shelf — which is, by the way, where some members of bug communities love to hide. While you're at it, don't forget about all the pests that live outside your house.
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This eco-friendly, plant-based biopesticide repels and kills crawling, flying, stinging, and biting pests, including roaches, spiders, ants, flies, silverfish, gnats, moths, and earwigs. Used as an indoor flea treatment, it kills fleas in furniture, flooring, bedding, and carpeting while also eliminating larvae and eggs. It's pet-friendly and can be used safely several times a week in all living areas — on doors and windows, in cabinets, under sinks, and around appliances. Wondercide Indoor Pest Control Spray is biodegradable, cruelty-free, and available in four scents: peppermint, rosemary, lemongrass, and cedarwood.
A top seller offering up to 12 months of protection against an extensive list of common household insects, Ortho Home Defense Insect Killer for Indoor & Perimeter is odor-free, fast-drying, nonstaining, and easily applied through a one-touch continuous spray with a provided comfort wand that can be reused. Reading the entire label before using this product is strongly advised. Along with gloves, you'll need to wear clothes that cover your arms and legs. Keep all people and pets away from sprayed areas until the pesticide is dry and be sure to avoid spraying on or allowing the product to drift onto nearby blooming plants that are visited by pollinators.
This indoor/outdoor pest product is a bug killer for a lengthy list of household insects and should be applied not more than once a week and only when bugs are present. Ortho Home Defense Insect Killer for Cracks & Crevices spreads a foam into tight places and remains effective for 18 months. It works on carpenter ants for up to 30 days. You can use this around the home, including in such places as attics, basements, bathrooms, garages, and kitchens and around decks, patios, and porches. Be sure to read the entire label before using and keep in mind that because it's highly toxic to pollinating insects, you should take care to keep it away from any plants that are pollinated.
Give yourself some peace of mind when you turn in at night by using ECOPEST Bed Bug Blocker Pro. Designed to withstand heavy furniture, the blockers are placed under bed posts and furniture legs to keep the little pests from climbing up to join you. The exterior is a textured surface that allows the bugs to easily climb into a slippery container from which they can't climb out, which prevents them from marching up the bed legs and into the bedding. Bed bugs bite, so it's good to know that when you're staying away from home, you can rest assured you're safe in any bed by taking some blockers with you to use in hotels and hostels.
The Katchy Indoor Fly Trap is an attractive home pest control device that you can place anywhere to help you rid your house of fruit flies, gnats, and mosquitoes — but not house flies. It's not a zapper but works on a triple-trap basis. The insects are first attracted by UV light and are then sucked in by a two-speed fan mechanism and put onto a sticky glue board. The trap is particularly helpful when used in the kitchen near insect-attracting fruit and trash cans. Results are better when lights are off. The Katchy Indoor Fly Trap is available in black and white.
Enjoy your next cookout without swatting at pesky flies. The RESCUE! Outdoor Fly Trap attracts flies with a food-based attractant so they drown in the water you add to the trap. Hundreds of species of flies are caught and killed. The strong scent of the attractant makes this unsuitable for indoor use, but you can use it outdoors for insect control repeatedly by pouring out the contents once full. Then, simply rinse out the trap and add a refill packet.
Deal with ants by fooling them into using Amdro Ant Block Home Perimeter Ant Bait, which they view as food to be taken back to the colony. For outdoor use only, it kills the queen and entire colony of 25 different ant species. The ant bait is applied in a 1-foot-wide band by shaking it around the perimeter of your house, where it serves as a barrier for three months.
A better version of the old fly paper strips, the Catchmaster Double-Sided Flying Insect Trap can be used to protect outdoor plants or indoor houseplants from gnats, thrips, aphids, mosquitoes, whiteflies, fruit flies, and many other flying insects. Each yellow card is covered with a strong adhesive on both sides that lasts all season. They're UV-resistant, waterproof, and safe around children since they're nontoxic. Twist ties and plastic holders can be used for tying them to plants and trees or for propping them up in the ground.
The odorless, nonstaining Zap-A-Roach Boric Acid Roach and Ant Killer is applied by scattering the 100-percent boric acid powder freely under and behind appliances, around drains and pipes, and along baseboard cracks and crevices.
Don't confuse boric acid with borax, which can also be used on cockroaches. Both work as pest control, but they're different. Borax, which is often sold as laundry detergent, can be mixed in equal parts with granulated sugar and then similarly scattered. It kills insects only when ingested. The more effective boric acid is extracted from borax and is then processed and refined. Because it's a finer grain, insects can't detect it. They walk through it, it sticks to their legs, and it then kills them in two ways — when they ingest it while cleaning themselves and if they scratch their exoskeletons with it, which causes desiccation. It's not for human consumption, so take all precautions to keep it away from children and pets.
Mix with water according to instructions and use Safer 5182-6 Brand Neem Oil Concentrate outdoors for spider mites, aphids, whiteflies, and other pests as well as plant diseases, like black spot, botrytis, and blight.
A naturally occurring pesticide, neem oil comes from the seeds of the neem tree and has been used for hundreds of years to control pests. Neem oil components are used in cosmetics, soaps, toothpaste, and pet shampoos. The oil can be formulated as dust, granules, concentrates, or powders. It can cause irritation of the skin and eyes, so wearing protective clothing while using it is wise. Read the label before using the product.
Things To Consider
Before you buy, try to pin down exactly what type of bug you're dealing with. Not every insecticide works on every type of pest. If you can't identify an insect, try to catch one so you can take it to your county's cooperative extension service office for help with identification. Then, you can buy a product accordingly.
Broad-spectrum products target multiple species, which is useful when you can't identify an insect, but they're potent and can be harmful. Ingredients in natural insecticide products aren't as potent and don't last as long but can be a good choice for indoor use because they're less toxic.
Application methods include granules, powders, concentrates, repellents, and aerosol sprays. Granules are often used for outdoor gardens. Powders can be dusted on interior walls, into floors, and on ceilings. Concentrates are diluted and are then sprayed or poured. Sprays offer application convenience and versatility.
The Importance of Product Labels
One of the most important things to remember before using pest control products — whether it's bug spray or a bug bomb — is to take time to thoroughly read the directions on the product label before applying it. Even if you're the type who normally just wings it, you need to take a different approach when it comes to using pesticides.
Labels on these products often carry extensive precautionary statements about potential hazards to humans and animals, information on use restrictions and precautions, mixing directions, and instructions regarding application rates. When not used in accordance with the instructions, many of these products can cause serious harm, and lots of them shouldn't be used around children and pets.
Before you buy pest control products, check the label to see how often you need to reapply them. If you feel your infestation is a bad one, you may be better off calling a professional pest control service.
- YouTube: StoneAgeMan - Your House is Full of Bugs! The San Fran Adventure
- Dodson Pest Control: Borax and Boric Acid for Insect Control
- Ortho: Ortho Home Defense Insect Killer for Indoor & Perimeter: Label
- Ortho: Ortho Home Defense Insect Killer for Cracks & Crevices: Label
- National Pesticide Information Center: Neem Oil General Fact Sheet