Indoor insects can pose problems throughout the year. There could be insects living in your walls, under your appliances or, if you enjoy indoor gardening, feeding on your houseplants. Insecticides are an effective way to treat potential or ongoing insect infestations in your home. Natural or nontoxic insecticides can safely take care of your insect problem without exposing your plants, pets, or family to strong chemical products.
The best insecticide for your home depends on the location of the infestation or point of entry, and the type of insects that you need to kill or repel. Not all insecticides work on every type of insect. If you are unsure of the type of bug that’s plaguing your home, you may want to go with a broad-spectrum formula that covers a variety of species. Take a look at the top products below to get an idea of the options available to keep your home bug free.
- BEST OVERALL: BioAdvanced 3-in-1 Insect Disease & Mite Control
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Bonide (BND952) Insect Control Systemic Granules
- BEST ORGANIC SPRAY: Natria 706230A Insecticidal Soap Organic Miticide
- BEST CONCENTRATE: Trifecta Crop Control Super Concentrate All-in-One
- ALSO CONSIDER: Bonide (BND253) – Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Insecticide
To select the best insecticide for your home, it’s important to think about the advantages of organic versus chemical formulas. Figure out which insects you’ll be eliminating, the form or application mode of the insecticide, how safe the product is, and whether the formula is appropriate for treating edible plants.
Insecticides come in a variety of different forms, including powders, sprays, granules, and concentrates. Some methods of application are better than others for treating large spaces versus smaller ones. Where are the insects coming from, and how much of an area do you have to treat with insecticide? Once you know these things you’ll be able to select the treatment that will be most effective for your situation.
- Powder or dust insecticides are an effective way to treat an infestation inside your home’s walls, floors, ceilings, and other small voids. These powders are typically injected into cracks and crevices with a broadcast or hand duster.
- Spray insecticides are incredibly effective for treating houseplants, trashcans, compost bins, appliances, and other vertical surfaces. Another advantage of sprays is they can be applied quickly over a wide area, allowing you to reapply a treatment quickly.
- Granules can be inserted into cracks and crevices, as well as sprinkled in and around infested areas inside your home (like around your fridge). These insecticides are ideal for creating a boundary around an area in your home or in your yard.
- Concentrates are insecticides that must be diluted prior to use. Once you dilute the concentrate as indicated by the manufacturer’s instructions, you can pour or spray the solution to treat affected areas.
The types of pests that an insecticide will eliminate depends on the active ingredient in the product, the versatility of the insecticide, and the method of application. The most common insects invading homes include ants, beetles, crickets, drain flies, earwigs, silverfish, and wasps.
Broad-spectrum insecticides will kill hundreds of different insect species, but they do so with potent chemical active ingredients that could harm your family and pets. If you can identify the insects invading your home, it’s possible to find a child- and pet-safe insecticide to treat the infestation.
Insecticides are composed of natural or chemical ingredients that kill invading insects and repel future home incursions.
- Natural insecticide ingredients include neem oil, peppermint oil, pyrethrin, cedar extract, citronella, and other essential oils. These ingredients are not as powerful or long-lasting as those found in chemical insecticides, but they are better for indoor use because they are typically nontoxic to humans and other mammals.
- Chemical insecticide ingredients include fipronil, hydramethylnon, indoxacarb, imidacloprid, acephate, carbaryl, and boric acid. Insecticides that contain any of these active ingredients are typically manufactured to eliminate a broad range of insect species, though they can be harmful to humans, pets, and outdoor animals that live around your home.
Depending on the location of the infestation or point of entry in your home, you will need to decide whether a spray, powder, granular, or liquid concentrate is the best method of application. Before applying the insecticide, read the manufacturer’s directions for use carefully, so you’ll be aware of any precautions you should take before treating your home.
Before you apply insecticide, review the area where the treatment will be applied and remove any plants, fish, reptiles, birds, or any other living creatures that could be harmed by it. When you apply the insecticide, be sure to target locations where you have seen insect activity. Also treat areas where bugs are most likely to gather, including under and behind appliances, under your kitchen sink, near the garbage, and any other damp or dark areas in your home.
In terms of pest control, “longevity” refers to how long an insecticide is effective before you have to reapply it. An insecticide’s length of efficacy depends on two things: how quickly the active ingredient breaks down and how much of the product you apply. Most insecticides have a minimum efficacy period of about a month, and a maximum efficacy period of 2 years.
Major infestations will call for more frequent application, because the poison will deplete quickly if a large number of insects are consuming it or carrying it away on their body. Always consult the manufacturer’s instructions on when to reapply an insecticide.
When using pesticides inside your home, safety should always be your primary concern. We’ve said it before but it bears repeating: Before using a pesticide indoors, follow the manufacturer’s directions for proper use, which should include whether any precautions should be taken. When applying pesticides inside your home, safety measures you might take include wearing long-sleeve shirts, protective gloves, safety glasses, and a mask. The space should be ventilated after use, as well.
Chemical insecticides can cause adverse symptoms including irritated eyes, rashes, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, headaches, shortness of breath, and vomiting. If someone in your home shows signs of having ingested or inhaled a chemical insecticide, call 911 and get them immediate treatment. You can also call the poison control center for information on how to help the person.
By definition, the purpose of an insecticide is to kill insects, from eggs to fully mature insects. These products are used in agricultural, medicinal, industrial, and residential areas to eliminate insect infestations and prevent recurrences. Some insecticides, however, also act as a miticide or a fungicide. In some cases, one product can be used to treat all three types of pests.
- Miticides are also known as acaricides because they contain active ingredients that are formulated to kill mites, ticks, some spiders, and any other pests that belong to the arachnid subclass known as Acari.
- Fungicides are typically used to protect houseplants and crops from parasitic fungi and the spores they produce. These formulas incorporate an antifungal fungistatic agent that won’t hurt your plants, but will inhibit fungal growth.
Our Top Picks
This list includes some of the best insecticide options for indoor use, based on price and efficacy. With your shopping considerations in mind, choose the most suitable product for your home and its insect problem.
Save your home, houseplants, and yard from pesky insects that can easily damage your walls, insulation, and wiring with the BioAdvanced 3-in-1 concentrate. This product can be used as an insecticide, miticide, and fungicide, ensuring that your home is protected from aphids, spider mites, beetles, caterpillars, leaf spot, petal blight, powdery mildew, rust, and more.
BioAdvanced’s 32-ounce bottle of concentrate contains the active ingredients imidacloprid, tau-fluvalinate, and tebuconazole. If mixed in a ratio of 1/2-ounce to 1-gallon of water, this bottle makes up to 16 gallons of insecticide. Its rain-resistant formula is absorbed through the roots of your plants, and will last up to 30 days before it needs to be reapplied.
Note that the insecticide can accumulate in plants, so it is not safe for use on edible varieties like vegetables, herbs, fruits, and spices.
This is not the type of insecticide to use on your fruits or vegetables, as it can have a toxic effect on humans if the plants are eaten. However, it’s an excellent option for use behind appliances, under your furniture, or on the flowers, trees, and shrubs in your yard. This affordable insecticide comes in a granular form that can be sprinkled around a problem area to create a barrier against invading insects.
This insecticide’s active ingredient, imidacloprid, kills gnats, mealybugs, aphids, whiteflies, and termites, and also acts as a fungicide to help keep your houseplants protected. If you are using this product on grass or other plants, you need to water the granules into the soil. The insecticide is then absorbed through the roots, protecting them for up to 8 weeks.
Green thumbs that grow herbs or spices in window gardens can use Natria’s organic miticide to protect their plants from invading insects. With this spray insecticide you can control adult, larvae, and nymph stages of aphids, mealybugs, mites, whiteflies, beetles, and caterpillars using an organic solution that won’t harm your plants.
The insecticidal and miticidal formula uses potassium salts of fatty acids (also known as soap salts) to rapidly dehydrate affected insects, killing them in just a few minutes. The 24-ounce bottle of ready-to-use insecticide should be used biweekly or weekly, as necessary.
If you have a very large home and property, or you want to be able to treat your home several times without repurchasing insecticide, this concentrated all-in-one insecticide, miticide, and fungicide is an excellent option. Mix the 4-ounce bottle of concentrated insecticide with water to make up to 8 gallons of nontoxic liquid insecticide.
Trifecta’s insecticide is intended to repel insects and eliminate existing infestations without putting the people and pets in your household at risk. It safely treats plants including herbs, spices, houseplants, succulents, and ornamentals from invading species like spider mites, powdery mildew, botrytis, mold, aphids, caterpillars, and beetles.
This food-grade insecticide uses garlic, thyme, clove, and peppermint essential oils to solve your fungus, mite, and insect problems, giving you the peace of mind that a bug-free home brings.
Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew is designed for use inside and outside your home, so you can safely apply it in cracks and crevices around your house for ongoing protection. You can also use it in your vegetable garden, though it’s recommended that you wash edible plants before eating them if they have been treated with this insecticide.
The Dead Bug Brew can be used on bagworms, borers, beetles, caterpillars, moths, mites, thrips, and more. This 32-ounce container of concentrated insecticide can be used to mix up to 16 gallons of liquid insecticide, so it’s a great option for larger homes and yards, or recurring infestations that may require a more frequent treatment schedule.
FAQs About Insecticides
Consider these frequently asked questions about insecticides for your home before you decide which product is best for you.
Q. Are insecticides toxic to people and pets?
Depending on the product, insecticides are generally toxic to people and pets, though not all insecticides use harmful chemicals. Natural insecticides may use essential oil concentrates, like peppermint oil or citric acid, though this doesn’t make them safe for ingestion or even handling.
Q. Is it safe to spray insecticides indoors?
Using an insecticide or pesticide is never completely safe, so you should always read and follow the label for proper application. However, child- and pet-safe insecticides are the best option for keeping your home safe while handling your infestation.
Q. Where do you spray insecticides indoors?
When treating an infestation inside your home, you should spray insecticide in common areas where pests hide including baseboards, corners, storage areas, closets, behind and under appliances, and similar areas.