Diy Verses Professional Termite Help

I absolutely hate the idea that homeowners can and do buy their own termite control products. Now I don’t mean those cheesy little red plastic spikes you pound in the ground- (I hate those too but that’s a whole other story) No, I’m speaking of professional products like Termidor, Premise, Taurus, Bifen IT, you name it and it’s available to ANY DIY who wants it. Not so much at your local Lowes or Home Depot (for now), but you can buy these and so much more on the world wide web. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, no license, no training, tax free and no questions asked.

Now I don’t see this changing anytime soon and even our state inspectors admit that there is no practical way in which they can police this, sooooooo. I’ll just think back to the many times I was told “You’re to expensive, I’m gonna do it myself”, only to watch the client pay double (or more) for the same products, struggle with improper tools and STILL have termite troubles.

Now, not that I’m gloating- YES I AM- but if I wasn’t gloating and I wanted to be helpful, I might just list some of the top reasons why you should let a a professional do your subterranean termite work. And, I might even throw in a celebrity spokesperson demonstrating the woes the do it yourself termite treatment might get you into. Now if you know what each of these reasons indicate and why they’re important AND how to treat accordingly, then perhaps you can do your own service. If not, please call your local pest pro, he/she knows what each of these mean and why they are important.

#- A large part of a successful termite treatment is knowing a termites habits. Did you know that termites tend to follow solid surfaces they come across? Does that include tree roots, the back patio slab? How does this affect your treatment? A pro knows.

#- Your home is 220 linear feet and we’ll assume it’s a monolithic slab. How much Termidor mix will you need to treat all the way around? A pro knows.

#- True or False. 1/2 of the products on the Lowes shelf for interior spray says it kills termites. = True; So why isn’t everybody buying that sprits “Rid A Critter’ bottle? A pro knows.

#- Do you own a hammer drill? Slab and basement homes often have patio slabs, dirt filled porches and such that need to have the soil beneath them treated. How are you going to get your spray under the cement? A pro knows.

#- A recent study in North Carolina found that there was an average of 23 termite colonies per acre there. The average colony, when mature (2 to 3 years old), is 60,000 strong. Do you really have what it takes to to fend off the other 22 termite nests if you’re lucky enough to rid yourself of the first? How can you be sure? A pro knows.

#- I have termite proof mulch, why do the termites still get in my beds next to the house? A pro knows.

#- I have a brick home, why do I need termite control? A pro knows.

#- My house was treated 15 years ago when it was built, why should I spend the money to have it treated again? A pro knows.

With all this in mind, Please call your local termite professional today. It could make ALL the difference in The world!

About The Bug Doctor

Jerry Schappert is a certified pest control operator and Associate Certified Entomologist with over two and a half decades of experience from birds to termites and everything in between. He started as a route technician and worked his way up to commercial/national accounts representative. Always learning in his craft he is familiar with rural pest services and big city control techniques. Jerry has owned and operated a successful pest control company since 1993 in Ocala,Florida. While his knowledge and practical application has benefitted his community Jerry wanted to impart his wisdom on a broader scale to help many more. Pestcemetery.com was born from that idea in 2007 and has been well received. It is the goal of this site to inform you with his keen insights and safely guide you through your pest control treatment needs.
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  • Mel

    I actually find it a challenge to solve a problem after a homeowner fails to fix the pest problem on their own. For example, a home owner sprays for “sugar ants” and all they’ve accomplished is repelling/chase them from location to location. Also, baiting for ants but they never seems to disappear. Then comes, Improperly placed snap traps, wrong bait for the rodents, entry points missed. The bait fails and  rodents become trap shy. That is when the fun begins and we get to prove my skill.

    I’ve been reading but been too busy to comment on your other recently released articles. Keep on writing!

  • Dylan

    This is really one of those things that gets under my skin. From day 1 as a pest professionals what is the one thing that is pounded in our heads over and over and over? Label is law and ALWAYS read and follow label directions. So here’s my problem; when a product like Termidors label reads  “For use by individuals/firms licensed or registered by the state to apply termiticide products” or Demands label “For use by commercial applicators…” how do these guys get away with selling to unlicensed individuals? I don’t buy the “We can’t police it” argument. They find ways to police everything already. Now, I’m not one of those people that believe big brother needs their hand in everything we do or one of those people that thinks I’m not going to have job becuase Johnny homeowner can get my stuff. Instead, I look at the tragedy that happened out west when a “pro” grossly neglected the Fumitoxin label and ended up killing two young girls. The result was the label was rewritten and became much more restrictive as to where and how it could be applied,  even though the label was never followed in the first place. So  now Johnny homeowner goes and buys a bottle of Termidor, throws the label out the window on the way home, sprays it, and someone gets hurt. Now, when Termidor has to change the label or BASF has to pull it off the the shelf is when these DIYers have  damaged our industry. It’s less about  loosing work and more about potentially loosing products that we depend on as an industry. I will now step off my soapbox and give someone else a turn.

  • Well put, that’s a soap box I think gets worn out and rightfully so. What kills me (you said it best) I don’t buy the “We can’t police it” argument.
    They see it on ebay or where ever-they admit to it, can’t they at least send a letter saying, “We’re watching you, cease and desist?” It may or may not work but I know if I got an e mail like that, it would scare me enough to stop.

  • Glad to hear from you again Mel, your point of view and keen insight is ALWAYS welcome. Funny, I had 2 Diy challenges this week. Both very similar to your description. One the lady was so thankful- the other (mouse job) was sort of indignant and pridefully said, “she could have done that too but her computer froze so she couldn’t read the whole article on how, that’s why she called me.” I just smiled and filled out her receipt. Gotta love it!

  • Barry

    We suffer the same problems here. I don’t buy the ‘we can’t police it’ argument our trade associations and regulators present either. It’s simply this……There is no will to police it! Think of the sales figures for a domestic market compared to those of the professional market and you have your answer. Over here, anyone can attend a 1 day (Yup, that’s ONE whole day) ‘Safe use of pesticides’ course and get a certificate which entitles them to buy any professional product (Except fumigants). That ‘training’ is provided over here, free of charge, by our industry suppliers, to anyone who buys their products, or for a hundred quid (around 100 Dollars). Imagine the potential scenario, Jo Bloggs widget factory cottons on, sends the site ‘handyman’ off for the day to get his certificate of ‘competence’ and bob’s your uncle! We have farmers, gamekeepers, school caretakers. You name them, throwing chemicals around because they are ‘competent’ and they ‘can’. Guess who would suffer if things changed and we got regulated? Our own suppliers. Time to get down of my ‘high horse’ now. My blood pressure is up 😉

  • Well said–

  • Pest Kil

    The thing that really gets my panties in a wad( if I wore panties that is), are our fellow “pest professionals”  who have their pest business trucks parked right next to their Bug Depot stores that they own also. They sell everything from fertilizer to Termidor in these stores. Tell me how a state inspector can not walk into one of these stores and give some fines?
    I ran out of flea spray one time and stopped into one of these stores to pick a can up. They charged double the price exactly to what Univar charges! They are laughing all the way to the bank!

    I had someone tell me one time that the reason that the inspectors can not do anything (in Florida at least), is only restricted products such as Vikane can not be legally sold to a homeowner. If it is a General labeled product anyone can purchase it. I do not know if this is true or not but could be.

    Thanks for another great article Doc,

    Eric Kroon
    PestKil Inc.

  • Thanks Eric- I’m not sure but if the label say’s for “professional use” only. Wouldn’t that automatically mean it can’t be sold to the general public. I think we’re not being told the whole story somewhere.

  •  OK now that I have read a few of the remarks here is my 2cents. I have always believed in pest control being done by qualified experts – it’s the knowledge that makes us who we are. BUT several years ago I had a change of heart, the economy was kicking my butt. Termite inspections,  jobs just went away, so I considered adding a little DIY place into my business. Then the U.S. Post Office contracted with me to open a small post office, win win right.

    So I now stock some DIY stuff, most people will purchase this stuff on my recommendation and with the offer that if they need assistance they can always call me. Guys will start the pest control at the insistence of their significant other and often times just won’t continue on a schedule. This works out for me twice – I sell the product = one sale and then they come back to me to do the regular service = sale #2. My buddy and I were discussing One time services as well this weekend, he was thinking of not doing them. I do them because they turn into more work, not because they don’t work.

    It’s not the pesticide that makes you a professional it’s the knowledge and expertise. Just move on and accept that this is the way it is and adapt – I did and it worked. Hope I don’t sound like an ————- but it is,  what it is – a sale…

  • That is a strategy that sounds like you thought out and works for you.  I do know that Lowes & Home Depot also sell “professional grade” products albeit they are not named the same-they do have the same active ingredients and in some cases AT A HIGHER %   …… Now I’m sorry but I literally pull my hair out with that…..  I realize the industry was born out of products like Raid and the like so I can swallow the fact that DIY “pest control” products are out there and will continue to be. I mean who can ask them to shut down almost 10 Billion dollars per year (approx) http://pestcemetery.com/americans-love-their-raid/  And, if I had my Druthers- I’d MUCH RATHER YOU get the sale then the big box stores.  But, IF something is labeled for PROFESSIONAL USE ONLY, then I have a problem if and when a homeowner can so easily get it . Yes, they ‘might’ call me after they’ve failed with Termidor or what have you but to me, without a license, they shouldn’t have gotten a chance.

  • envirocare

    I feel I get lots of calls from customers wanting to know how to do it themselves.  How do we win?

    Columbus Ohio Pest Control

    Karl the BugMan

  • Mel

    What reasons have you heard for people wanting to perform their own service? I usually hear cost prevents them from a service and my second most observation is the resourceful MacGyver loves a complex challenge personality type. That type HAS to try it himself before paying someone else to do it.

    Possible solutions might be charging for an inspection and consultation. Providing the information as a service like Keith does and when they have the money, fail, or stop doing their own services themselves. Hopefully,  they will remember your help and sign back on with you, leave kind online reviews, or recommend you to others.

    I do not have issues with legal pest control products being sold to the general public. Though, I wish they’d have some compentency requirements to ensure they comprehend the label before being allowed to purchase them.  I do not consider pest control retail shops our competitors. Growth not decline occured in our industry despite pest products have been sold in stores all of my life.  Mechanic shops are plentiful despite the presence of auto parts stores. The same goes for us.  Internet misinformation is more my pet peave.

  • Your question came to mind several times today. How do we win? Most notably as I was waiting at my turn in line at my local distributor- behind THREE DIY Homeowners!  You see, my favorite distributor in town also sells to homeowners but to be honest I hardly ever gave it much thought. I have handed out a card or two over the years,  Also-we service 5 counties and 3 out of the 5 have DIY stores, all owned by those who have a license. I’ve been in the local Lowes garden center 15 times this month already getting plants and mulch etc. Each time I walk through the fully stocked isles as “pondering customers” intensely try to read the bottle to see if THAT product will solve their problem– I’ve also stopped to help and hand out cards there too. (but not to much)

    So in the end, with ALL the great comments on this subject, I find that while I still want a separation of things (especially termite) the homeowner can buy as opposed to what I can–BUT, perhaps for those customers who just have to go the DIY route until they realize they need a pro. I can wait (because in reality we are already) for them to come full circle. And, since there is a market out there for people who buy this way–then I’d much rather the pest control companies or those with a license PROFIT from it than mindless corporations who see it as just something they sell like the plumbing dept. 

    Very thought provoking for a Popeye video I must say.

  • I agree. It would save them money and save them from doing any costly damage. Also, sometimes people can get very imaginative – like crazy imaginative – with their DIY solutions.

  • I think I sense some experience in your comment– 😉 Hey people, you should be listening, I’m just saying!