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Home Pest Control

The basics of do it yourself pest control

One of the most common questions we hear is "Where do I start!"  For each home (or business) there can be a different answer.  In the Southeast United States there are certain pests that are common problems: fleas, molecrickets, ticks, Asian Cockroaches, White-Footed Ants, carpenter ants, fireants, chinch bugs, spiders.  In the Mid-West United States (and other areas): boxelder bugs, ladybugs (or Asian Lady Beetles),  Allegheny Mound Ants and Cluster Flies can be a larger problem.  Each area of the country has certain pests that residents are more concerned with than others.  Where you live and your past (or current) pest problems will steer you in the direction of special pest control supplies.

The selections listed here are just the basics; streamline them to fit your family and the pest control problems you are most likely to encounter.  Most people want to use a safe, professional strength insecticide for killing certain bugs or for doing their own monthly, quarterly or even yearly pest control.  In many cases, pest control needs can be filled without using a bug spray; baits and traps might be the answer.  First, decide which professional insecticide concentrate suits your needs.  If other products are needed (baits, traps, dusts, aerosols) we will discuss that as we progress.  You might want to use this Pest Control Supply link to see different groups of products and product descriptions.

If fleas or ticks are a common indoor pest in your home, go to  Indoor Pest Control.
If fleas or ticks are not a common indoor pest in your home, go to Outdoor Pest Control.

Do you have problems with fleas or ticks in your area?  You might want to choose products that will cover these pests.  [ The #1 products for General Household Pest Control (or GHP) contain Cypermethrin: Demon WP, Demon EC, Cynoff WP, Cynoff EC.  These products are great for all indoor needs except indoor fleas.] Indoor flea products are labeled for broadcasting on carpets, upholstery, rugs, baseboards, tile and hardwood flooring.  When treating for fleas, ticks, carpet beetles, furniture beetles, bed bugs, etc., you must use a product that is water-safe for fabrics (insecticides, pesticides which will not stain anything that water will not stain) and it must be safe for your family to touch treated areas after they have been allowed to dry.  After a carpet has been sprayed for a flea infestation (for example), you want to feel safe about your small children, dogs and cats crawling around on the treated areas.  Pest control concentrates that are labeled for indoor flea use: Permethrin Pro, Suspend SC, and IGRs.  (An IGR is an insect growth regulator or insect growth inhibitor that can be used alone or tank mixed with an approved insecticide.  For more details on the different Insect Growth Regulators and how they work, go to our IGR Information Page)  Check on any of the mentioned products (by clicking on the appropriate link) to make sure that the product is registered for use in and can be shipped to your State.

If you do not encounter indoor pests which might require a broadcast treatment (which covers all carpets, furniture, etc. mentioned in the previous section) you might want to choose from another group of products.  These products are excellent for elimination and prevention of other pests: boxelder bugs, cluster flies, spiders, ants, carpenter ants, fireants, silverfish, millipedes, centipedes, scorpions, pantry pests and others.  To see a listing of common household pests, go to our Pest Gallery.

The best products to use for general purpose pest control (which are not used for broadcasting indoors): Demand CS, Demon WP, Demon EC, Cynoff WP, Cynoff EC and Talstar.  These products are excellent for spraying baseboards, cracks, crevices, entry points and other areas where bugs are most likely to be but where people and pets rarely come into contact with treated surfaces.
There are different insecticide formulations from which to choose and the name of the product usually lets you know which formulation class you are dealing with.

  • EC is a designation for emulsifiable concentrates or (in layman's term, liquid concentrate).  An EC usually leaves no visible residue and will give you about 30 days active residual or bug killing time.  This is one of the oldest insecticide forms.  Up until the mid 1980's, most pest control companies treated homes on a monthly basis because that was about how long their bug spray lasted in protected areas, baseboards, etc.
  • WP means wettable powder concentrate.  A wettable powder will many times leave a visible residue on dark baseboards (or other surfaces) but gives you an average 90 day residual.  With the introduction of wettable powders, many pest control operators started switching the clients over to quarterly pest control.  There simply was no need in spraying a home every month when the material sprayed will last 3 months or longer!  Note: wettable does not mean the same thing as soluble!  A soluble powder (such as Acephate PCO Pro) will dissolve in water just like sugar.  Wettable powders (when agitated) go into a suspension which is sprayed onto selected areas.  These WP formulations not only leave a long-lasting residual but leave 100% of the active ingredient on the surface.  (An EC will absorb into wood, leaving only about 30% active ingredients in which the crawling pests will contact).
  • SC, CS, etc. lets you know that you are dealing with a microencapsulated material.  Demand CS is an excellent example of microencapsulating a pesticide.  This type of product is almost "time released" but actually is released as bugs or pests step on the microscopic "bubble," bursting it to release tiny amounts of lethal product.  Many pest control operators prefer to use this kind of product for two reasons: (1) The material is not released until a pest comes into contact with the tiny bubble, thus reducing possible hazards among non-target pets and wildlife.  (2) This formulation does not last as long as a WP but does last much longer than an EC -- leaving little or no visible residue!  Insects cannot detect this type of product (which would result in avoidance of treated areas) and blindly walk into the trap.  The repellency action is so low that Demand CS is often used in home-made wasp and hornet baits.
  • Soluble Powders are insecticide concentrates in powder form which dissolve in water (as opposed to wettable powders which do not.)  Good examples of soluble powders are Acephate PCO Pro (used in restaurants and in situations where German roach populations are resistant to Cypermethrin and other synthetic chemicals) and Acephate Turf (used to kill a variety of turf and ornamental pests outdoors.)  Both of these products are of the organophosphate class of insecticides and both have a very distinct odor.

In summary:

If you wish to use the cheapest (per gallon mixed) insecticide, use an EC; Demon EC, Cynoff EC, Permethrin Pro are the best.  Permethrin Pro is labeled for indoor flea use.  Permethrin Pro and Cynoff EC are very low in odor.
If you want a long-lasting product with little or no visible residue, use Demand CSTempo SC, Talstar and Suspend SC.  These are very popular products with pest control operators and do-it-yourselfers.  All of these products are odorless.  Suspend is also labeled for indoor flea use.
If visible residue does not matter in your situation and you want the longest lasting products (with the best "knock-down" power) use Demon WP, Cynoff WP.  Demon and Cynoff are best for German cockroaches.  These wettable powder formulations give you odorless pest control.