How do I Choose the Best Pest Repellent?

D. Jeffress

Insects, rodents, and other pests can cause significant damage to property and pose health risks to humans, pets, and farm animals. Often, the initial tactic for eradicating pest populations is using a specially designed pest repellent, which may take the form of chemical sprays, powders, or electronic deterrent devices. When trying to choose the best pest repellent to use, an individual must consider the type of pests they want gone, the dangers that certain pests present, and the severity of an infestation.

Ants surrounding a piece of food.
Ants surrounding a piece of food.

Most people find that the best personal pest repellents for insects are sprays and topical lotions that are designed to keep bugs off of the skin. Many different types of pest repellent sprays and lotions can be purchased at supermarkets, garden centers, and outdoors retailers. Products usually contain chemicals that are resistant to sweat and work to keep body heat relatively low in warm environments. Mosquitoes, ticks, and other insects are less likely to bite a person whose skin releases little body heat and is devoid of moisture.

Many different pesticides are available to kill or repel bugs like cockroaches.
Many different pesticides are available to kill or repel bugs like cockroaches.

Area pest repellent sprays and powders deter insects and other pests by creating an unwelcoming atmosphere. Birds, mice, and insects are put off by the taste and smell of certain chemicals, and choose to go elsewhere when faced with them. Many sprays are designed to keep pests from building nests or roosts in basements, near doorways, underneath building foundations, and in attics. Chemical sprays that are approved by environmental regulatory commissions can be sprayed on trees and crops to prevent pests from destroying them.

Blocks of rat poison.
Blocks of rat poison.

Special electronic and ultrasonic devices are commonly employed as an environmentally friendly, humane method of keeping pests away. The devices work by emitting high frequency ultrasonic and electromagnetic waves over a specified range to scare pests out of homes, walls, and outdoor areas. The effectiveness of electronic pest repellent machines has been debated, but many users attest that it is an excellent way to deter rats, mice, birds, squirrels, and insects of all types.

Some forms of electronic pest control use sounds that humans cannot hear, which may be used to drive rats away.
Some forms of electronic pest control use sounds that humans cannot hear, which may be used to drive rats away.

In situations where commercial pest repellents prove ineffective at eliminating pests, an individual may want to consider hiring a professional pest exterminator. An exterminator has expert knowledge of different types of pests and can determine the best means of getting rid of populations. He or she might apply specialized concentrated chemicals to problem areas, set traps, or order a fumigation of an entire house or building. Professionals also offer advice to home and business owners on how they can better protect their property from future invasions by fixing damaged areas of foundations and preventing the buildup of sewage or standing water.

People should be cautious when spraying pesticides as they can be dangerous to humans.
People should be cautious when spraying pesticides as they can be dangerous to humans.
Many agricultural pest repellents come in the form of a spray or powder.
Many agricultural pest repellents come in the form of a spray or powder.
Insecticides can wipe out whole populations of insects, which could have long-term consequences for the entire ecosystem.
Insecticides can wipe out whole populations of insects, which could have long-term consequences for the entire ecosystem.

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Discussion Comments

anon273193

Help, please. I've been dealing with either punkies, or midges, or no-see-ums. They bite but don't leave a mark. They fly and you can feel them land on you. They like to be around my nose and mouth and any exposed skin.

I've tried vinegar, beer, pyrethrum sprays and foggers for three years, and I still can't get rid of them. I bought an indoor bug catcher, but nothing works. Ideas would be very appreciated.

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