Is it legal to do your own pest control?

If you experience a pest infestation, you may want to deal with the problem yourself, but are you aloud? It sounds like a straightforward question but there is a lot to consider. Like most activities you are responsible for your actions, and this includes following the law, regulations, and legislation.  So, what are the rules when dealing with pests on your own?

In essence it depends on what you are being infested with, that will guide you to which regulations you must follow. You can be fined or imprisoned if you cause unnecessary harm to any animal. There are many animals out there that are protected. Put in simple terms, any animal that is protected can’t be touched and must be left alone.

Safety when dealing with chemicals

If you are going to carry out your own pest control the first thing you need to think about is safety. Safety of yourself and others, this also includes all animals, both pets and wildlife. If you are using any type of rodenticide or insecticide, ensure it comes from a known source. Once you have it, the first thing you should do is read the label. All labels are statutory which means they are law. Therefore, if the label states it is only to be used indoors then that is the only place it should be used. By not following the instructions you are breaking the law and are culpable.

The labels are there to guide you to ensure you are using the product safely and not cause harm or danger to anybody or anything. It will give instructions on PPE, where it can be used in what quantity. Also any other safety involved with the product including first aid instructions. If you buy a fake product off the internet there is a chance the instructions are incorrect or even worse banned from use in this country. We can’t stress enough the importance of safety when carrying out pest control as it can go seriously wrong very quickly. You must remember these chemicals can kill so we would always recommend using a trained and qualified pest controller over doing it yourself.

Pest Control Legislation

There are lots of legislative policies that must be followed when carrying out your own pest control and ignorance is not an excuse if you get it wrong. The two main areas you should consider are Animal Welfare and Control, and Pesticide Legislation. Just these two areas alone have over 30 documents such as The Protection of Animals Act and The Poisons Act. Birds are an important subject to be aware of as well. For example, you may think seagulls are a nuisance pest, but they may have protection orders on them. This is where a professional will stop you getting into trouble by doing something you shouldn’t.


First, let’s have a look at rodents, which include rats, mice, and squirrels. The Animal Welfare Act 2006 gives clear instructions when controlling rodents. You can only trap or kill permitted pests, using permitted methods. The most common method to control rodents is either by rodenticide or traps. At all times consideration should be given to non-target species.

You should only use the correct rodenticide for the target pest you are dealing with. If you decide to use trap’s then you can only use a trap that is approved for use with that specific pest. Obviously, you don’t want to get a foul catch because the trap is too small. This will fail to dispatch the creature and put the species through a traumatic experience which is inhumane.


When dealing with insects, most treatments will involve either a spray or bait treatment. Because of the dangerous nature of the chemicals we use, at the expense of saving a few pounds, you must ask yourself if the risk is worth causing possible serious injury. It can go horribly wrong if you don’t know what you are doing and the last thing you want to do is put a family member in hospital.

If you still choose to carry out the treatment, always read the label and follow the instructions. It is extremely important if using a spray that you understand the safe return timings as chemicals will continue to give off fumes for a period after the treatment is complete. Some of these treatment sprays can cause damage to upholstery and fabrics so be careful where you spray to minimise damage.

Waste Removal

If you carry out your own pest control, waste must be considered when using some chemical products. You could put your refuse collectors at risk if you throw your contaminated waste in the bin, therefore you must dispose of the waste correctly. That said, if you are trapping animals such as rats or mice you are allowed to throw these in your bin. 10% of your regular waste can be carcasses believe it or not, but just make sure they are placed in a bag to reduce smell.

Some information has been repeated several times. This is done on purpose because it is very easy to cause harm when dealing with pest control. You must act responsibly if you choose to carry out your own treatments. If pesticides are not used properly, they can have dangerous effects on your family members, pets, and local wildlife.

Going back to the original question, is it legal to do your own pest control? Yes, it is if you follow all procedures and legislation. You can purchase the equipment and do it yourself however when you get a professional pest controller in, such as, you are paying for the knowledge and experience to complete the job. Not only that but achieved correctly in the boundaries of the law.

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