Top pest control mistakes customers make


July 13, 2023

Photo: Natasa Ivancev/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Photo: Natasa Ivancev/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Relying on shortcuts to treat pest problems can prolong an infestation or move the existing pests elsewhere in the structure.

This can make it harder for you or a pest management professional (PMP) to solve the pest problem.

PMPs shared five of the most common pest control mistakes they have seen people make, and recommended what to do instead.

1. Underestimating the size of a pest infestation

Bryan Clayton, co-founder of GreenPal, told Yahoo! news that arguably the biggest and most common mistake people make when it comes to infestations is underestimating what they are really dealing with.

“It’s like seeing one ant at a picnic and assuming it’s all alone,” he said. “In my experience, it’s usually just the tip of the iceberg. Most people don’t know this, but pests like termites, ants, and rodents are masters of hide-and-seek. They can cause a heap of damage before you even know what hit you.”

Clayton said the first rule of thumb is to “never underestimate a pest issue, no matter how small it may appear.”

2. Relying too heavily on natural deterrents

Natural pest control has a time and place, such as deterring chipmunks in your yard without harming them or making homemade bug sprays to deal with flies on houseplants. However, these solutions may be weaker than chemical alternatives and may not be strong enough for large-scale infestations or damaging pests.

“Natural products usually take longer, more effort is required, and they typically cost more over time,” explained Matt Smith, pest expert and owner of Green Pest Management. “Used in the wrong way they will also push pests around and not really take care of the problem. Using them consistently and regularly may eventually pay off, but it shouldn’t be a go-to for every situation.”

3. Not calling in professionals

Pest control companies exist for a reason, and it is not just to get you to spend money.

“Professionals have access to tools and treatments not available to the general public, and they have the training to use them effectively and safely,” A.H. David, pest control expert and writer at Pest Control Weekly, told Yahoo. “They are more than worth giving a call when you think a pest problem is a little bigger than a few wiley bugs.”

4. Not acting fast enough

No matter which pest you are up against, it is vital that you act as soon as you see signs of a problem – not avoiding it and hoping it will go away in time. Delaying treatment can lead to a worsening pest infestation.

“Pests multiply rapidly, so it’s crucial to take action as soon as you detect signs of an infestation. Timely intervention is key to minimizing the impact and preventing further escalation,” said Diana Cox, horticulturist, garden expert and owner of The Gardening Talk.

5. Passing over preventive measures

Prevention is always better than a cure, and ignoring preventive measures just because you think you have never had a pest before is a surefire way to end up with an unexpected pest infestation you are not prepared for, David said.

‘The best way to handle a pest problem is to prevent it from happening in the first place,” David told Yahoo. “Many people only address pests once they’ve become a problem, instead of taking preventive measures like sealing entry points, keeping a clean home, and addressing moisture issues which can save time, money, and headaches in the future.”

Do you agree with these pest control tips or have other ones to add? Let us know in the comments or at


About the Author

Ellen Wagner is a former digital editor for PMP magazine.

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