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Home Maintenance: Insect Pests

- Suggestions for how to do it yourself -

Summary: Many home maintenance projects can be done by the owners themselves thereby saving thousands of dollars. This includes most pest control and pest management projects. Doing it yourself is less expensive and may be safer in the long run.

Jack DeAngelis, PhD
OSU Ext. Entomologist (ret.)

Pest management vs. pest control

Pest management is a relatively new term that aims to recognize that our goal should be to reduce, or manage, pest numbers below some damage threshold. Pest management is mainly practiced in agriculture and home gardening where one of the goals is to maintain a balance of natural predators. Sometimes you'll see the term integrated pest management used.

On the other hand the practice of pest control seeks to eliminate (exterminate) any potential pest. For example, most people would not be satisfied with just reducing the number of carpenter ants in the walls of their home but might be ok with only reducing, or managing, the number of aphids in their garden to a level that does not affect production.

DIY pest control around home

Pest control companies ("exterminators" is an outdated term that these companies avoid) often sell routine maintenance treatments. However, in terms of protecting your investment the most important thing you can do is an annual inspection for water and insect damage, rather than regular treatment. Some pest control companies will do this inspection for you but they are easy to do yourself and you'll be surprised how much you learn about your home. If a problem is detected then you can decide if a pest control service call is needed.

By getting more involved in pest control decisions you can maintain control over how much pesticide is used around your home so that in the long run it may be a safer place to live. The articles listed in the table (right) contain a wealth of information to get you started. Most projects can be done successfully with a few simple tools but see the DIY Pest Control for a list of those few pest control projects that should not be done by most homeowners on their own.

DIY Articles - Protecting Your Home

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Mission: To provide accurate, up-to-date and unbiased information for solving common insect and mite problems around your home, business and landscape using least-toxic methods.

Jack DeAngelis, Ph.D.

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