5 Tips to Save on Pest Control

Photo (cc) by Dawn Endico

They’re called pests for a reason: Termites cause an estimated $5 billion in property damage every year, while roaches, mosquitoes, and other creepy-crawlies spread bacteria and disease.

Pest Enemy No. 1? Ants, according to the National Pest Management Association. Over half of homeowners hate them more than any other insect, according to a survey published last month.

NPMA also — unsurprisingly, as a pest control trade group — pointed out that 60 percent of homeowners use professional preventative and extermination services. The cost? $35-70 a month. Termite treatments can cost thousands. But there are lots of things you can do to save on pest expenses – some just by maintaining and cleaning your home.

Try thinking of your home as a giant castle under siege. Don’t dig a moat, but:

  1. Keep tree branches and shrubs trimmed away from the roof and windows. These are natural bridges and ladders into your home for all sorts of bugs.
  2. Seal up cracks and holes, inside and out. Those are tunnels.
  3. Replace rotting wood, a likely place for insects to break through. Many are drawn to both the wood itself and moisture.
  4. Cut off their water supply. Insects like mosquitoes and flies are drawn to stagnant (still) water. Outdoors: regularly empty bird fountains, buckets, and anything that catches rain. Indoors: change pets’ water bowls several times a week if not daily.
  5. Protect food. Don’t leave food out in the open, even crumbs — they’ll find it. Be sure to regularly empty the garbage and keep containers covered. Make sure spices, sugars, and other counter-top items are in lidded jars or otherwise sealed containers.

If you want a pro to handle pests, shop around. NPMA can help you find a qualified exterminator in your zip code. They also have tips on how to identify trustworthy companies if you’re trying the phone book or some other search method. The eco-friendly directory GreenPeople also has a sorted-by-state list of exterminators that use natural or organic products instead of toxic ones.

And if you’re taking a do-it-yourself approach to save even more money, you don’t need to buy expensive sprays and traps. Sustainability business EarthEasy has a long list of insect-specific natural repellents that will help you be green and save green. Environmental nonprofit Beyond Pesticides also has a list, plus a ton of tips. You might also check out the popular, if slightly dated book Natural Pest Control: Alternatives to Chemicals for the Home and Garden.

Now that we’ve got homeowners saving on pest control, how about lawn care? Check out our story 11 Tips for a Less Expensive Lawn.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
8 Products That Make It Easier to Get Fit

Amazon reviewers give high marks to these tools that can help you get in shape without a gym.

7 Surprising Features That Boost Your Home Value

You can add value to your home without hiring a contractor to do expensive renovations.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

17 Surprising Things You Can Clean in a Dishwasher

It’s often easier and faster to put these household items in the dishwasher than to clean them by hand.

19 Purchases That Buyers Almost Always Regret

Think twice before buying these things.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone

It’s never too early to start learning how to live well while living on less.

Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?

Can an adult daughter tap into her late mother’s benefit?

11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco

Not all generics are worthwhile, but these are among the best from Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers

For the second straight year, a growing number of Americans believe they’ve fallen prey to this scam.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have

Few retirees have all of these documents that are crucial to their golden years — especially during a pandemic.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

27 Things You Should Never Pay For — and How to Get Them for Free

When you know the tricks, you can save big on all kinds of useful things that others pay for.

Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?

The rules are complicated when it comes to eligibility for survivors benefits.

15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry

Keep more of future paychecks by eliminating these budget-busting unnecessary expenses.

10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s

From snacks to sweets to side dishes, stock your cart with these time-tested favorites on your next TJ’s run.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021

Follow these tips to save, so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.