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Poison Alert: Safe Handling of DIY Pest Control Products

The Pacific Northwest is known for its burgeoning do-it-yourself community, but some DIY projects can be dangerous if not done correctly. For example, while homeowners can buy any number of “over the counter” pest control products, these products can be toxic to humans and pets if not stored, handled, applied and disposed of properly.

Eden Advanced Pest Technologies does not recommend using over-the-counter pest control products without proper training. However, homeowners who do choose to attempt a DIY pest removal instead of calling a professional pest control company should be aware of the following safety issues.

Choosing the Right Product

To avoid needless overuse of chemicals and practice safe pest control, it’s essential to first ensure you have correctly identified the problem. This can be tricky without the help of a professional pest control service, as many pests can easily be mistaken for one another. In many cases, homeowners who attempt a DIY pest removal can end up making the problem worse by using the wrong product or by improperly applying it.

Another common pitfall for do-it-yourselfers is applying too much of the product. It’s important to carefully consult the manufacturer’s label, as this will contain guidelines for how much of the product to use. However, the guidelines on the label are generalized and can’t account for every individual situation, which means homeowners can easily end up overusing these chemicals without even realizing it.

Understanding the Label

Improperly using a DIY pest control device is the number one way people harm themselves or their loved ones. Always read the label before buying the pesticide, again before mixing or applying it, and again before storing it. Here are a few of the terms you might see on the label and what they mean:

Broad-spectrum vs. selective. A product labeled “broad-spectrum” will cover a broad range of pests, while a “selective” pesticide is only effective against one or a few pests.

Toxicity. Most pest control products will include signal word that indicates the toxicity level.

  • Danger: The pest control product is poisonous or corrosive, which means it’s likely to cause severe illness if ingested or inhaled, and damage or irritation if it comes in contact with the skin.
  • Warning: The product is moderately hazardous and somewhat less likely to cause illness or irritation.
  • Caution: The product is only slightly toxic.

Knowing Your Limits

Don’t hesitate to call a pest control professional to find out if the pest you are dealing with can be handled safely with a DIY method. Many times, the best solution to a pest control problem will not require any chemicals at all but rather habitat modification.

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