Pitfalls Of DIY Pest Control
Recently I have been either asked about how people can do DIY pest control or have, on my visits, seen examples of people trying cheap or ‘humane’ DIY pest control. I actually see lots of attempts at home pest control so as an example I’ll just discuss the attempts that I have seen in one of the areas I cover, namely Bolton. All the examples that I give are things I have seen within the last 5 months within a few miles of Bolton town centre, some were just a waste of money, some made the problem worse, many had been attempted after the home/business owner had ‘researched’ the problem on the internet.
Now I’m don’t intend to tell people that pest control is a form of ‘black magic’ that only a professional can do, but as pest controllers, often with vans containing hundreds of pounds worth of equipment and chemicals, we are always learning and facing new challenges, even from common pest species. If pest problems could be solved with children’s windmills, hair spray or pepper then I really wouldn’t have spent so much money on professional use only chemicals and baits along with hours of training!
I was just a couple of weeks ago called to a property just off Chorley New Road in Bolton where the homeowner had a mole on their lawn. The mole had been a regular visitor for a number of weeks and each day had pushed up a new mole hill in its search for worms and grubs. Of course the owner of the once beautiful lawn had jumped straight onto the internet and searched for diy pest control methods to try ‘scaring off ‘ their little friend without hurting him. The first attempt was a child’s toy windmill, the sound of which, as it went round was going to drive the mole out of the garden. Unfortunately nobody had told the mole that it should of been afraid of a quiet whizzing sound! After the first failure an expensive ‘sonic’ mole repeller had been purchased, this had cost in the region of twenty pound. I cannot blame people for trying these diy pest control methods, nor is it there fault that companies are able to rip people off by selling this type of junk, but if they had of asked advice first then I could of told them that maybe 25% of my domestic clients have wasted money on these things before and they JUST DON’T WORK!
The only way to remove moles from a lawn is an experienced mole catcher using good quality British made traps. The cheap traps that can be purchased from garden centers are just not up to the job, at best they will educate moles and make them more difficult to catch, at worst they can cause suffering that has no place in modern pest control.
Just the other day I had a call from a house in the Heaton area of Bolton, the homeowner reported a wasps nest, I have had many calls about wasps this year but on arriving they have all turned out to be bees, so I was eagerly awaiting my first wasp nest of the year! Wasps have been a bit late in showing themselves in the Bolton area this year, in fact wasps have been quiet throughout Lancashire and the Northwest, mainly due to the weather earlier in the year.
On arriving at the property it was indeed a wasps nest and once again the homeowner had been onto the internet to find a DIY pest control solution! Now I cant blame people for trying to save money but this was a rented house and the tenant didn’t have to pay anyway, the landlord had agreed to call a pest controller, the tenant had just tried his hand at a bit of diy pest control-maybe he was trying to ease my work load!! Anyway the solution that somebody had suggested was a combination of shaving foam and hair spray directed into the nest!!! WHO THINKS OF THESE THINGS???? Now normally this wouldn’t cause much of a problem, you might get stung but it wont make things worse. In this instance the wasps were in a wooded roof over a car port, and the spraying of shaving foam into the exit holes near to the nest had made the wasps exit from another hole 10 feet from the nest. Normally a pest controller could of simply treated the nest through the natural entrance to the nest area but in this case a long hour was spent searching for the location of the nest inside the hollow wooden roof, two holes had to be drilled and eventually the nest was treated.
Over the years I have seen many people try to block entrances to wasp and bee nests, IT WILL NEVER WORK, and will often just make the problem worse. Wasps and bee nest’s will always have more insects inside than out so simply blocking a nest will lead to those still inside searching for an exit rather than keeping any others out. If the nest is in a wall cavity or near to a living space the wasps/bees will often find a way into the property through vents or along pipes in their search for a way out. I have seen whole rooms full of bees, windows completely covered on the inside.
Wasps nests in some situations can be easy to deal with but if you do try to handle it yourself then don’t spray products that are not meant to kill insects into the nest and never try to interfere with nest entrances. I carry chemicals that are not available to the general public for destroying wasp/bee nests, if I could use products that can be found in the bathroom cabinet or bought from the garden center then I really wouldn’t go to the expense of buying expensive spays and dusts!