And Sometimes the Best Offense is a Good Defense: Ortho Home Defense Max that is

Nov 10, 2006 (Updated Nov 14, 2006)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Effective, Easy application, inexpensive

Cons:Liquid washes away quickly from exterior in rainy climates, use their crystals instead outdoors

The Bottom Line: While it doesn’t have the pizzazz of those electronic pest controllers, Ortho Home Defense Max works and keeps on working

If you read my recent review of Pest Offense, you know that I found that product to be pretty much worthless. Sure, it probably provided amusing entertainment for our household pests, but not much more. So, what does a South Floridian do to keep the abode bug free? Our remedy of choice is Ortho Home Defense Max.

Several months ago I found myself in Home Depot purchasing some screening and spline to repair our screened patio that had been once again shredded by a hurricane (Wilma). As I approached checkout I noticed a new display for Ortho Home Defense Max in a 1.33 gallon jug. If you live in South Florida you know that the battle against insects seems never ending. I decided to purchase the product. After spending most of the afternoon replacing the shredded screening I decided to get aggressive with our bugs who were getting a bit too comfortable in our home.

Product Description
Like many other insect products, Ortho Home Defense Max comes in a jug with a hosed applicator attached to it. Most provide a squeeze trigger that must be constantly squeezed in order to apply the product around both the interior and exterior perimeters of the house. This can be really tiring. The applicator of this product is superior in that it is a pull and spray style applicator. That is, you pull out a plunger in the handle and then just press the trigger and the spray begins. In practice I found that each pull would allow me to spray about 20 linear feet. Before using, you must shake the jug thoroughly.

The manufacturer claims that Ortho Home Defense Max is effective against:
Ants, Asian lady beetle, Black widow spider, Brown recluse spider, Box elder bugs, Carpet beetles, Carpenter ants, Centipedes, Clover mites, Confused flour beetle, Daddy long legs spider, Earwigs, Fire ants, Firebrats, Fleas, Flies, Granary weevil, Grasshopper, Hobo spider, Houseflies, Indian meal moth, Millipedes, Mosquitoes, Moths, Pill bugs, Red flour beetle, Rice weevil, Roaches, Saw-toothed grain beetle, Scorpions, Silverfish, Sow bugs, Spiders, Ticks (including ticks that transmit Lyme disease).

Here in South Florida our main problems seem to involve ants of all varieties, palmettos (giant roaches), spiders, fleas, ticks and silverfish. We don’t see too many scorpions here.

Inside Application
After setting the applicator to indoor setting it’s recommended to apply a 4 inch band of Ortho Home Defense Max around baseboards, doorways, window sills, counter tops, pantries and cabinets. Obviously you should remove food stuffs from cabinets and pantries before applying. I paid particular attention to spraying wherever plumbing entered the house and areas behind appliances whenever I could reach them. Moving from room to room, I made sure that our dog was outside the room being treated and those most recently treated.

A thorough treatment of the inside of the house took about an hour to an hour and a half and I found that the spray took approximately one hour to dry.

Outdoor Application
Setting the applicator to outdoor setting, it’s recommended to put down a continuous 12” band of product around the exterior perimeter of the house. This goes much faster than the interior application, but it is very important to get behind shrubs and plantings. Also, you want to make sure not to overlook exterior window sills.

A thorough exterior treatment took about 15 – 20 minutes including ground floor windows. Treatment of second story windows were included with the interior application.

How Well does it Work?
I’m happy to say that it works really well on the pests we find most troublesome. It killed all insects it was applied to directly instantly. Well that’s not quite true. Remember those palmettos? They ran around in circles for a few moments before assuming the desired dead cockroach position.

More importantly though, Ortho Home Defense Max has left our home relatively bug free. I say relatively bug free because it seems that no matter how thorough a job you’ve done, bugs, particularly ants, seem to know your house more intimately than you do. Leave any spot untreated and they’ll find it. But, as we’ve learned of their new entrances to our home our successful defense against them improves.

But for How Long?
Ortho claims that this product will protect your home for an entire season. That might be a little bit of a stretch, unless a year has 5 or 6 seasons. Realistically, here in rainy South Florida, I find that a new application is required about every eight weeks. That may in fact be due to the rain leeching the exterior application more quickly than the interior. Ortho Home Defense Max is now available in a crystal form for just this reason and I plan on trying this for the exterior of the house for our next application.

Special Precautions
This product is extremely toxic to fish and other aquatic invertebrates. Be sure to cover all aquariums before using. Outdoors avoid spraying near ornamental ponds containing fish or lizards. The product is also extremely toxic to bees, so care should be taken to avoid spraying on blooming ornamental flowers where bees may congregate.

When used indoors, particularly on counter tops and other food preparation areas, these surfaces should be washed with soap and water before using for these purposes again. Once the spray has dried common household pets and people are safe to re-enter the room.

The Verdict
In an area of the country where insects are a particular nuisance, we’ve found that Ortho Home Defense Max has been particularly effective against the pests we encounter most frequently. Time will tell whether the new outdoor crystal formulation will prolong the product’s effectiveness. Now, if they will only come up with something that will be equally effective on vacationing relatives. (Just kidding, we love them!).

On the subject of Pest Control, click the following link to see also Pest Offense: A fool and his money...



©Rudi Xeno 2006

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