Best Bug Killers: Baits, Gels, Traps, And Sprays

Posted on: 14 April 2015

If you're a homeowner or renter who's spotted some unwelcome bugs lately, you might be thinking about whether the sightings were bad enough to warrant calling pest control. Technically, yes, they are, because if you see one bug, chances are there are several more of the same type hanging around your house, scouting out the best locations to establish residence. But in the meantime, getting some DIY pest control methods into place is a good idea. But what should you get, especially if you want to be as eco-friendly as possible? You have a choice between traps, enclosed baits, open gels, and natural methods for many bugs. Looking at how each type affects your home can be a good way to start choosing the one that's right for you.

Bug Traps

These little boxes can be very effective at killing any stray bugs that happen to get in. Plus, there are no odors or mists involved, and other than generating a small amount of trash once the trap is full, there really aren't any lingering environmental effects. If you think you're dealing with a minor infestation or just a few scouts hanging around, a trap could work well. However, traps also work only on the bugs that get inside. So, results will start happening quickly, but you're still at risk of finding more bugs because the traps won't help get rid of any nests.

Enclosed Baits

The go-to pest control for many people, enclosed baits are those little plastic disks you see in the corners of many kitchens and bathrooms. These contain a slow-acting bait that bugs bring back to the nest to share with all their friends. The bait slowly but surely poisons the nest population. Like traps, the only real environmental effect is the trash generated when you throw out an old bait.

However, it can take a few days for you to start seeing effects, so if you're particularly scared of the type of bug you found, you might want to include something that's faster-acting, such as combining baits and traps. Or, call an exterminator right away and try to get a next-day appointment (same-day wouldn't be advisable because that wouldn't give you enough time to clean up -- and the last thing you need is a population of bugs taking shelter in stacks of books and papers that you might have sitting around).

One big issue with both traps and baits is that kids and pets can chew on them, resulting in illness. Keep baits and traps in areas where animals and children can't get to them. Also, baits need to be the right size. Small roach baits will be too small to let large roaches in, for example.

Gel Application

You can also buy the same bait materials in a gel form, allowing you to put a dab here and there rather than having an entire plastic disk take up space. The gels are also helpful in that you can place them in areas where baits can't go, such as on walls. The main drawback to using gel is that cleaning it up is harder -- you have to wipe up the gel and clean the spot that the gel was in, rather than just throwing out a bait or trap. There's also the risk of residue being left in the spot where the gel was. If you put the gel in a crevice, you'll most likely never get rid of all the old gel once you try to clean it up.

Dust can also gather on the gel, making it less effective. Plus, there's the issue with kids and pets again. It's very easy for them to touch and even lick the gel. Again, if you have children or pets, keep the gel away from them.

Eco-Friendly Sprays And Natural Baits

You have a range of choices nowadays for environmentally sound sprays based on herbs and essential oils. These can vary in effectiveness but are typically non-toxic. The ingredients are generally fine for people to be around, but you still don't want to spray them on food preparation surfaces like cutting boards and dishes.

Natural baits include things like mixtures of honey and boric acid for ants, or diatomaceous earth. While non-toxic in the sense that there are no sprays or fumes, you must be careful not to inhale substances like boric acid or diatomaceous earth. You also don't want pets or children to eat the baits. So while natural, these options still aren't completely safe for everyone in your household.

Of course, calling a professional exterminator is going to give you the best result. But while you wait for your appointment time, you'll be able to start the infestation on its road to destruction. Contact an exterminator today if you'd like more information about how best to get rid of specific pests.