I grew up in a home that was bug-free. Apart from the occasional errant spider — which was quickly and unceremoniously extinguished — and a fly or two that escaped the confines of the great outdoors during the frequent ins and outs of a summer barbecue, there wasn't much about pests that could be discussed.
From childhood on, I knew that only unkempt homes had bug problems.
Then we moved to Florida's Gold Coast and the great awakening of 1991 happened to me.
Our first townhouse was shared with ants (of all kinds), spiders, earwigs (just writing that word induced the gag reflex) and, yes, cockroaches (a delight I had never before witnessed outside of elementary school film strips). I became acquainted with silverfish (possibly the most nauseating life form known to man), fire ants, nematodes, and man-eating mosquitos.
I found that most foods were best kept in the refrigerator, that almost any container could become infested, that one must always inspect food before eating it, and that even just a knife with a smear of peanut butter left on the counter would be targeted by a chain of ants before you could eat the sandwich.
After months in a frenzy — trying to sterilize every surface and remove all traces of inhabitance — I realized that it was not about cleanliness. In a subtropical climate, bugs just were part of the landscape. There was no winter frost to kill them off and the weather conditions were ideal.
After trying all sort of home remedies and home store concoctions, I finally gave in and called an exterminator. From that time and for as long as we lived in Boca Raton, we had a monthly visit from the bug man. We were never able to get to a tolerable situation on our own. But within a couple of weeks of the initial service, the bugs were finally under control and I could live in peace.
We're DIYers at heart. I'm all for being self-sufficient. But some bug problems are tougher than others. When you can't beat the quality of a pro, it's often more cost effective in the long run to hire someone with the tools and expertise to get the job done quickly and efficiently. In the case of bugs, that is certainly the situation in our home.