How Much Does DIY Pest Control Cost?

This past weekend and last night, I published two videos showing you how to treat your lawn for insects. In this case, specifically I had found an infestation of sod webworm in my lawn and visible damage was occurring, so I needed to treat that with an insecticide.

But one additional message I wanted to get across there, was that since you are treating for this damaging pest, you should also choose an insect killer that will also eliminate other pests at the same time. Pretty much every available insect control kills sod webworms, and most of them also kill ants, fleas, spiders, mosquitoes and ticks which are called “nuisance pests.”

The idea here is to kill all of the bugs!

I also talked about liquid vs granular treatments and gave some advice there. In part 2 I showed you how to apply granular via spreader, hose end sprayer liquid and liquid concentrate mixed in water and sprayed with a battery sprayer. But one consideration I did not get to talk about in those videos was the cost. Sometimes that can be the dictating factor and that is what we will look at here.

Granular Option Pricing

The granular treatment option I recommend was the Bio-Advanced Complete Insect Killer. I picked up the 20lb bag at Lowes here locally. Now one thing to look at there is the bag reads “treats UP TO 20,000 sq ft.” Key words “up to.”

We are going after sod webworm but I want you to see, at the higher rate of 3lbs/1,000 you will also get residual control for 3 months against grubs. That is one of the reasons I really like this product - it kills bugs that are there now, and also protects going forward against sub-surface insects. It also kills mosquitoes, FYI.

This is a 20lb bag and at the rate of 3lbs/1,000 this bag will cover 6,666 sq ft. The cost for the bag is $19.97 (at Lowes) so that means this product costs $2.99 per 1,000 sq ft. If you have a 5,000 sq ft lawn, the cost would be $14.95

Here is the math:
20/3 = 6.666 bag coverage
$19.97/6.666 = $2.99 per 1,000 sq ft
$2.99 x 5 = $14.95

Pretty cheap isnt it? Consider that if you hired my ex-employer TruGreen to treat your 5,000 sq ft lawn for grubs; they would use the exact same active ingredient, imidacloprid and the cost would be somewhere north of $65. If you also hired them to spray an insect control for above ground nuisance pests like ants, fleas, spiders and mosquitoes they’d charge somewhere around $50 for that, separately. That is $115 total.

You can get it done yourself in just a few minutes for about $15. Pretty eye opening isn’t it? Let’s look at some others.

Sevin Liquid Concentrate - Hose End Sprayer
I included this one because I know there are many of you who really like to spray with a hose end sprayer, primarily the Ortho-Dial-N-Spray. I like this option too.

Thing about it is, I needed to find a concentrate that has a hose end sprayer instruction listed on the label. Most pesticides don’t allow for hose end application because it’s not quite as precision, but Sevin does and it’s easily found at most stores.

I found mine at Ace and it was $17.99 for a bottle of 32 oz concentrate. That means the cost is $.56 per ounce. ($17.99/32oz)

The application rate for lawns is 4oz/250 sq ft. We always talk in increments of 1,000 sq ft so that means it takes 16 oz to cover 1,000 sq ft.

Note: this is a concentrate so it has to be mixed with water and evenly dispersed across the lawn space. Our hose end sprayer does that for us, in real time. But let’s get back to the fun math.

$17.99 for a 32oz bottle.
$17.99/32 - $.56 per oz
We need 16 oz to cover 1000 sq ft. (the label above tells us 4oz covers 250 sq ft)
16 x .56 = $8.96
So this product costs us $8.96 per 1,000.
A 5,000 sq ft lawn would then cost $44.80

Plus, since the bottle is only 32 ounces, you would need 2.5 bottles.

Quite a bit more expensive compared to the first option of granular. So even though you may prefer the hose end option, you’re going to pay a lot more for it. It just tells me that while this product can kill the sod webworm and the nuisance pests, it’s probably not the best choice, especially when you look at the dollars involved, as well as the fact that you have to buy 3 bottles to get the job done. (this product does work great in gardens though.)

Bifenthrin Concentrate
The final product we are going to use is the one that I like to use these days. It’s cheap and effective. I purchased the Compare and Save brand wish is 16 oz and costs $14.14. That means the cost is $.88 per ounce.

The application rate I used is .25 oz/1,000 as stated on the label. I could have gone as high as 1 oz/1000 since my grass is cut over 1” but with sod webworm, I have found that the lower rates wipe them out easily. I also prefer to do a followup application in 21 days anyway because of their life cycle I want to get the next generation that lingers.

At the rate of .25 oz/1,000 my bottle will cover 64,000 sq ft!

These applications are done through a pump sprayer. I mix .25 oz per gallon and cover 1,000 sq ft with that spray mix.

Let’s run the math.
16/.25 = 64
.25 x $.88 = $.22 so the cost of these applications is 22 cents per 1,000
If I had a 5,000 sq ft lawn, the cost of the application would be $1.10

See how that is the least expensive overall? This is because you are buying a “professional” product which just means it’s much more highly concentrated.

And with this bottle being able to cover 64,000 sq ft, I won’t have to buy more for quite some time!

One other thing I wanted to clarify here. You can see in the screenshot above it tells you not to mow or water the lawn for a day after the application. That is because the product needs time to work on the surface where you sprayed it. However, just above that, you see this:

Since my mix rates are “1 gallon of spray mix covers 1,000 sq ft” the label is telling me I need to water my application in with ¼” of water directly after I spray. This is another reason why it’s important to read the entire label on a product. Doing so will not only answer your questions, but help you gain confidence in your application’s effectiveness.

I hope this little math quiz has been helpful and that you will begin applying this thinking to other lawn applications. You could do this with fertilizers and soil amendments too, pretty much anything you apply could be broken down with this strategy and you could really take ahold of your budget.

Don’t forget, download our app (Android - iPhone) where you can track all of this in your lawn journal, for free!

I’ll see you in the lawn!

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