It's summer and I live in Houston, TX. What this means is that pest control isn’t an option. In fact, the pest control guy just left my house. He also left behind a hefty bill. This has got me thinking about ways I can save money and still live pest-free during the hot summer months. In talking with pest-savvy friends, I've compiled some neat ways to save the next time I need pest control services. I hope these can help you too!
1. Schedule a free consultation, but then buy your own supplies for a DIY job
Many pest control companies (especially nationwide chains like Orkin) offer a free consultation for first-time customers—especially if the type of pest is unclear. During your consultation, ask questions about the type of pesticide used and its efficacy. Then you can research on Amazon to find like products at much cheaper prices, purchase a sprayer can you can use again and again, and do your own monthly or quarterly sprays.
- Small sprayer: Enforcer 32-ounce Professional Sprayer ($3.78, Amazon)
- Larger sprayer: Chapin 1 gallon sprayer ($9.95, Amazon)
- Ants, Roaches, Fleas, Ticks spray: Suspend Insecticide ($41.85 + free shipping—makes 64 gallons, at $0.65/gallon—this amount will take care of quarterly sprays for five years!)
2. Keep potential pest habitats inhospitable
There are plenty of places indoors and outdoors where pests will quickly set up house. Here, your goal is to make potential habitats as inhospitable as possible! The fewer pests your home environment attracts, the less you have to spend to control them.
How to send pests packing:
- Keep shrubs, trees, bushe, and vines trimmed.
- Seal up any crevices, holes, or cracks.
- Deal with any standing water (bird baths, water features, drain runoff, buckets, et al) promptly!
- Clear out any debris asap—including compost piles, old mulch and dry leaves, muddy or dirty areas.
- Cover garbage cans and do not leave food out for animals.
3. Be sure pets are pest-proofed
Whether this means putting a flea collar on Fido or keeping Kitty indoors, pets are major carriers for household and garden pests. And it is much cheaper to pest-proof your pet than to pay to have both pet and home/garden treated for encroaching pests.
- Typical annual cost to flea-proof a furry pet: $40-$100 depending on the method (collar plus shampoo/dip is common)
- Cost of a single flea infestation household treatment (you will need at least two treatments and possibly three to kill both adults and eggs/hatching larvae): $125-$300 (so with three treatments, $325-$900)
4. Consider garden plantings carefully
Certain flowering shrubs and fruiting trees are more likely to attract pests as well as hungry critters and people. If you have existing greenery that produces fruits/flowers, you can control for pests by harvesting fruits just as they ripen and/or cutting back branches before buds flower.
5. Be on the lookout for rotting anything
Whether it be old firewood, last year's tulip bulbs, or bags of gardening supplies that have become soggy and moldy, anything rotting will attract pests—and not just polite little insect pests, but big, hungry, furry, fanged pests too. So be sure to remove rotting anything pronto!
6. Look for coupons!
This is probably an obvious tip (given our savvy KCL community), but sometimes coupons pop up in the unlikeliest of places at the strangest times. Also, checking with the nationwide chains, such as Orkin and American Pest, can yield helpful nationwide promotions that give you bigger discounts than local Mom-and-Pops can afford.
- Example: American Pest is offering a free estimate and $50 off general pest treatment, as well as a free estimate and $125 off termite treatment.