Pest infestations are typically unwanted houseguests, taking up space and causing problems for the residents. Perhaps you have an ant problem, with ants pouring into your home from an undetermined location. Or, maybe you see numerous cockroaches skitter across the floor throughout the day.
Whatever the pest is, they’re not a welcome visitor, so extermination is the next thing on your to-do list.
Since pesticides are often packed with chemicals, you know you need to be careful while applying them. But how long do you have to wait for pesticides to dry before re-entering the area? Are they considered safe once they’re dry? Let’s find out.
How Long Does A Pesticide Need To Dry?
Generally speaking, pesticides need between 30 minutes and four hours to dry. Many experts advise waiting at least 30 minutes before re-entering the area, but the exact timeframe varies based on the pesticide.
With most heat and chemical pest treatments, you must wait at least four hours before re-entering the area. Again, this time frame highly depends on the pesticide or pest treatment you use, so check the label on your pesticide for the correct dry time.
Some pesticides can dry in as little as a few minutes, leaving no airborne residue or strange scents behind. Even still, giving them time before you resume regular living in the area is best.
How Long Does It Take For Pesticides To Work?
Pesticides aren’t a one-size-fits-all type of product. Instead, they come in dozens of varieties with various applications to eliminate different types of bugs. Because of this variation, the time it takes for them to work fluctuates drastically.
Generally, the pesticides take a few hours and several weeks to do their job. However, some pests are persistent and will require several applications before they’re entirely gone. Here’s a general idea of time frames based on the pest:
- Ants: These pests are remarkably persistent, especially if you don’t locate the ant hill and eliminate the problem from its origin. Generally, ant treatments begin to work within 48 hours of application, but several applications may be necessary for severe infestations.
- Bedbugs: If you tackle the bedbug problem with a heat treatment, the infestation should be eliminated within roughly four hours of application. However, the problem may be recurring if there’s extensive clutter or unnoticed nests in the problem area, so additional treatments might be necessary.
- Cockroaches: These pesky bugs are usually gone within two to eight weeks of treatment. However, the precise time frame hinges on the severity of the infestation on factors specific to your property.
- Rodents: These pests are tricky, as they can continue returning as long as there’s something drawing them in (food, shelter, etc.). The effectiveness of your treatment is highly dependent on the type of poison or bait you use, where you place it, and whether you correct the issue (entry points, food supply, etc.).
How Long Do You Need To Wait Before Cleaning?
After spraying our homes with pesticides, many of us automatically reach for cleaning supplies. After all, who wants to leave dead bugs around the house? Not us! So, while our first inclination is to grab the cleaning caddy, it’s best to wait a while after applying the treatment.
Starting to clean up the residue too soon can detrimentally impact the efficacy of the treatment, so it’s essential to give it time to work. While you can tidy up the affected area by removing trash and sources of nourishment or nest material, avoid starting your deep clean of the area.
Generally, you want the coat of pesticide to work its magic for as long as possible, so avoid scrubbing that area for six to eight weeks. This doesn’t mean you can’t clean the surrounding area – you can still sweep, mop, and scrub surrounding areas. Avoid scrubbing the surface where the application is, like the baseboards, for several weeks to give it time to work.
The length of time you should wait varies based on the type of pests you’re dealing with. It might be a few hours, or it could be as long as a day or two. Read the label on the pesticide you used for the correct waiting period. If you’re unsure, consult your local pest control expert for advice.
Are Pesticides Safe After They’re Dry?
For the most part, pesticides are safer once they’re dry. Of course, this can vary based on the pesticide you use, so it’s essential to read the label on the product. Even still, pesticides aren’t designed or required to be safe for humans, so chemical pesticides aren’t totally safe.
Toxicity levels vary from one product to the next, usually based on the intended function and similar factors. For example, compared to herbicides, pesticides are generally more toxic, as they target pests instead of weeds and other plants.
As a precaution, it’s essential to steer clear of recently treated areas until the product is completely dry, as inhaling or coming in contact with the product while it’s wet can pose various health risks. While all pesticides used today aren’t genotoxic (meaning they won’t damage DNA or cause cancer/mutations), it’s still essential to be cautious using them.
If you’re concerned about the toxicity of your indoor pesticide application, pay attention to the product labels before purchasing one. Look for products that don’t contain phosmet, dichlorvos, tetrachlorvinphos, chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and malathion.
In addition, take note of whether the label says “Caution,” “Warning,” or “Danger.” “Caution” on the label indicates a milder form, “Warning” points to a more hazardous product, and “Danger” means the product has the most harmful effects.
What Happens If You Come Into Contact With Wet Pesticides?
If you unintentionally touch or inhale fumes from pesticides, you may notice various health effects. The results of contact or inhalation vary based on the product in question, as effects can range from mild to severe.
Mild symptoms often include headaches, dizziness, nausea, muscular pain, or irritation to the skin, eyes, and throat. In severe cases, effects can include damage to the central nervous system, the kidneys, and endocrine glands and an increased risk of cancer.
Who Is At Risk?
Pesticides pose a threat to anyone in your house, pets, children, and adults included – No one is exempt from the potential health risks due to exposure. So, it’s essential to clear everyone (including your pets) out of the house while applying the product. Go to the park for a while to wait for the pesticide to dry, or schedule the treatment through a professional on a day when everyone is out of the house.
Given the potentially severe health consequences, it’s crucial to be extremely cautious when dealing with pesticides. If you’re concerned about using pesticides, either due to children, pets, or health concerns, you may want to consider trying a natural or non-chemical treatment first.
In some cases, these treatments can be just as effective as their caustic chemical-filled counterparts but without adverse health effects. If you prefer the convenience of a chemical pesticide, look for products that are family-friendly and pet-friendly (if applicable). Although you still need to be careful while handling and applying these pesticides, they can be a better alternative to harsh, chemical cocktails.
In addition, you can always outsource the application process to a local pest control company. They will come in and spray the infestation for you, ensuring you and your family remain a safe distance from the drying product.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why Are There More Bugs After My Pesticide Application?
After your home is sprayed with pesticide, you might notice an influx in the activity of treated pests. They might seem to come from everywhere, pouring out of the walls and falling from the ceiling.
Unfortunately, this is pretty normal. As the pesticide begins to do its job, it isn’t uncommon to notice an influx of pests. They often leave their hiding places before dying after coming into contact with the pesticide.
However, if the problem seems excessive, there may be another problem area you are unaware of. In this case, you should have a professional come out for an inspection to pinpoint the problem and reapply the pesticide as necessary.