I am one of the lucky ones that get to wake up every morning and kill bugs for a living. For over six years now I have worked in the pest control industry, and currently I am a Service Manager with a major company doing business in the Southeast United States. As I come into contact with people throughout the day I normally receive a lot of requests for advice. Most people want to know what they can do to treat their homes from pests without having to pay a company like mine to do it for them. My answer to those questions is to explain the advantages of granular insecticides. What most people don’t understand is that ninety five percent of all structural pests, which are insects that invade homes, can be controlled by applying insecticides around the outside perimeter. Homeowners have several options here but the benefits of granular insecticides make them the clear choice.
A granular insecticide may sound imposing, but it’s actually a very simple formulation. Pesticide manufacturing companies add a technical pesticide to a dry carrier that usually has larger particles. This carrier is ground up organic material in most cases. The carrier is the inactive ingredient and the pesticide is the active ingredient.
Granular insecticide has some disadvantages, so I’ll go ahead and get them out of the way first. The biggest disadvantage of this form of insecticide is the cost. Often times granular insecticide is more expensive than other formulations. The price, depending on the brand and amount purchased, can range from twenty five dollars to over two hundred. The other disadvantage to using granular insecticide is that you usually have to wet the product in order for the active ingredient to separate from the dry carrier. However, this is an advantage to folks in the pest control industry because it is ideal for treating outside when it’s raining. Homeowners can turn this into an advantage also, just by using the product right before it rains. Otherwise they would need to wet the product with a water hose after it is applied.
The advantages of granular insecticide for use by homeowners far outweigh the disadvantages. First of all, they do not have to mix the chemicals. It’s already made into a formulation. Just read the label to determine the appropriate amount to use, rip open the bag, pour into a spreader set for the right application rate, and go to town. With other formulations there is mixing required which can be tricky and lead to over exposure. Granular insecticide is also low odor, so masks or respirators are usually not needed. These types of insecticides are also much easier to apply than most other formulations. As I mentioned earlier, a simple inexpensive spreader and a garden hose is all that is needed.
There are several different kinds of granular insecticide for homeowners to choose from. Usually you can choose between repellents, non repellents, and bait granules. Repellent granular insecticide, such as Deltagard or Talstar, are easy to detect and are avoided by the insects. This means that the insects will stay away from your house. Non repellent granular insecticide, such as TopChoice, cannot be detected so the insects don’t realize the product is present and die after coming into contact with it. Bait granular is disguised as a food source that the insects eat and then die later from the ingested insecticide. This type works extremely well for social insects such as ants, because they can share this bait with others and kill whole colonies of insects. The type of granular insecticide that is used depends on the situation and type of pests targeted. Generally the repellent version has the most uses.
A few safety precautions when using granular insecticides are worth noting here. Always be sure to read the label before use. The product label will tell you where to use it, where not to use it, how much to use, and the types of insects that can be controlled. One thing you will notice on almost all insecticide labels is that vegetable gardens cannot be treated. If this is an issue there is also a product called EcoExempt granules that can be used in vegetable gardens because it only contains natural ingredients. Always remember to wear gloves and wash your hands, arms, and face after using any insecticide. Now it’s time to go kill some bugs.