If you’ve been down a pest control aisle in any decent hardware store or supermarket, you’ve probably noticed that there are a large variety of choices Flys, spiders, rodents, fleas; it seems that each pest has its own specific choice. Can fly spray kill spiders? Do flying insect sprays work for ants? Or are these just a marketing gimmick to get you to buy more?

Unfortunately, it’s a bit of a combination of the two. While some pest control methods targeting one pest might work on a different pest, they can be completely ineffective on other ones. In this article, we’ll cover some of these situations and what to look for to know which options will be effective for your circumstances.

Targeted non-pesticide pest control

There are several different options for pest control, and not all of them are chemical-based. When a pest control method is not a pesticide, it almost always works primarily for the target pest. Ant cafes for instance, don’t work on spiders because spiders can’t fit into the container. Likewise, flypaper is effective for flies but not much for other pests like spiders since spiders have a non-stick coating on their feet–which is one reason they don’t stick to their own webs.

Some kinds of non-pesticide pest control

There are several kinds of non-pesticide pest control. Some of these include:

  • Flypaper
  • Mouse and rat traps
  • Moth tents
  • Ant cafe
  • Bug Zappers
  • Mosquito Coils
  • Wasp Traps (Often use lures/bait however)
  • Solar moth traps
  • Mozzie Dunks

Many of these are targeted towards one or a couple of specific pests. They tend to be effective for those but not anything else. They’re also best suited for prevention or small groups instead of a large infestation.

Electronic Pest Control

Ultrasonic pest control is an interesting case. Many of these don’t technically target a specific pest but they are non-pesticide. The effectiveness of these methods is still debatable. We go into more detail in our article Does electronic pest control work?

Targeted Pesticides

For pesticides, it is much more complicated to determine if the pesticide will work when targeted towards a specific pest. You may have noticed that some claim to kill many different kinds of pests at once. But if not all targeted pesticides work for other pests, how come some of them do?

Effective targeted pesticides work specifically against the pest’s biology. This means that it disrupts essential biological functions and cause them to die. If a different pest has a different enough physiology, it might not have the body part being targeted so the pesticide would be ineffective.

However, some use strong, toxic chemicals. These chemicals can break down structures at the cellular level. This makes them dangerous for many creatures. Some pesticides like certain spider sprays are toxic to humans and pets so should only be used when people and pets can stay out of the area for a while. Because of the potency of the chemicals however, they are effective for many kinds of pests.

How does fly spray work on spiders?

If you’ve sprayed fly spray directly on spiders you might have noticed that it seems to work eventually. Fly sprays that don’t kill instantly sometimes work by having flies land on them and then they work later when the fly cleans itself. So why do they sometimes work on spiders? This can be for a variety of reasons such as drowning. Or they do work, but only in very high concentrations, making them work for what you can see but not for groups hiding away elsewhere.

How do I know if the pesticide will be effective for one or multiple pests?

It all comes down to the active ingredients. Some work as repellents, using oils or chemicals that bugs dislike which keeps them away from a target area. A repellent designed for one pest may not work for another, though.

Because there are so many different active ingredients used for pest control–and more being introduced frequently–it’s impossible to cover them all. However, a quick and easy way to see if a spray designed for one pest works on other pests is to compare the active ingredients. For instance, If a Mosquito spray and Sand Fly spray have the same active ingredient, then it would likely work for both even if designed for one.

This can be helpful if you’re choosing a spray for your home and commonly deal with one pest but want to make sure that same spray will work for another that comes around occasionally. Or it can be useful if you only have one kind on hand and see a different kind starting to appear in your property.

When to use professional pest control

If you have a small influx of pests or catch them early, targeted pest control will often do the trick. But what about if you try them and they aren’t working? This doesn’t necessarily mean that method didn’t kill the pests–it’s likely that more are getting in somehow or a nest you can’t find and the pesticide isn’t making it there for some reason. If you keep seeing the same kind of pest in the same area, there’s probably something attracting them there.

When home methods don’t work, you might need professional total pest control to ensure they are taken care of. Expert pest controllers know which method to use in which situation, and how to find or lure out groups that are challenging to find. If you’re in need of pest control, get in touch with us to find out more or to get a free quote.