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Insecticides/Pesticides for Home Use

- Use the safest ones possible -

Summary: Homeowners now have many choices for "do it yourself" pest control. Some choices are safer and more effective than others. Use the suggestions below to sort through the confusion about what to use and when.

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

Many insecticides** and other pesticides** are now available in homeowner-sized packaging. Because you have so many choices it can be very confusing so we've tried to simplify the process of selecting products. We have not listed every possible option but rather listed those that are safe, effective and available to homeowners.

Our belief is that pesticides should only be used when absolutely necessary. Choose products that are effective, low toxicity and have low environmental impact. The good news is that products exist that meet these criteria and are now available to homeowners.

** a pesticide is a chemical that kills pests such as insects, plant disease fungi or weeds, while an insecticide is a specific type of pesticide that targets insects.

sprayer nozzle and spray droplets from a garden sprayer

Choose carefully, do your homework and you'll be able to deal with your pest situation in safe and effective ways.

In the table below we've only listed relatively low toxicity materials. However, despite some label instructions, we do not generally recommend using insecticides indoors in residential applications. Exceptions to this rule are some of the new botanical insecticides and some natural dust insecticides which can be safely used indoors for a variety of pests. See label instructions for these applications. As with any insecticide, please read and carefully follow these instructions.

Be sure to check the product label instructions for proper use. Pesticide use is regulated by local and national laws in most countries. It is your responsibility to operate within the laws of where you live.

Important If you use pesticides you must follow local laws regarding where and how they can be used. As a general rule, if you apply pesticides on property that you don't own you'll need to be licensed. Application on public property also generally requires an applicator license of some type. These licenses are typically administered by state agriculture departments, or the equivalent.

Natural & Least-Toxic Pest Control

Common Pests
Click for Details
ants new ant baits
bed bugs natural dust insecticides
carpenter ants new carpenter ant baits
cockroaches new cockroach baits
general household pests
general garden pests
lawn grubs entomopathogenic nematodes
powderpost beetles borate insecticides
slugs & snails iron phosphate bait
termites borate insecticides
yellowjacket wasp nests botanical aerosol sprays

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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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