If you think you might need pest control services, you’re not alone: 20% of surveyed homeowners said that termites were their main pest concern, and pest infestations can cause major problems for your home and health.
Maybe termite control isn’t high on your priority list, but you’ve noticed a few more spiders than usual in the garage, or a suspicious number of cockroaches in the kitchen. It could be that you have a pest problem, and need pest control to take care of it.
If you suspect that you might need pest control services, you shouldn’t waste any time. Rodent control and extermination can cost upwards of $250 according to HomeAdvisor, but postponing action when you need pest control will only set you up for bigger problems down the road. Pests rarely, if ever, leave on their own, and an infestation will only grow more expensive the longer you leave it.
There are many reasons why keeping your home pest-free is important. No one likes the thought of insects or rodents invading their home. But besides being generally unpleasant, pests like termites can cause serious structural damage to your home from the inside out, while other pests can spread germs and sicknesses that affect your family. Of course, preventing infestations in the first place is the preferred choice, as it’s usually cheaper than waiting until after you need pest control. But if you’re already seeing signs of a possible infestation, it’s highly important to contact an established pest control company in your area.
What to Expect From Your Pest Control Service
If you’re realizing you need pest control services for the first time, you may be curious about what to expect. After all, you’re probably worried about your home and what the costs of extermination might be. Not knowing what’s to come can add to the stress. So in this article, we’ll talk about what you can expect from your first visit with residential pest control services.
A Professional Entrance
When you call a pest control service and schedule an appointment with an exterminator, the pest control professional should arrive on time according to schedule. They should be dressed in uniform and should introduce themselves upon arrival. You should feel comfortable with their presence inside your home, because they will need to move around it, inside and out, to get the extermination job done. So if you have any questions or come up with any concerns, make sure you voice them right away. Afterward, you’ll be able to relax and the exterminator can do their job.
Inspecting Points of Entry
The most important places for pest control representatives to check are entry areas. This means doors, windows, and connected garages, as well as pipes, crawlspaces, and even attics. These are all places that bugs and rodents can enter the house through. A thorough inspection of all these areas can take some time, especially if you have a larger house. The exterminator will also check around for cracks in the walls and other hidden openings that pests might crawl in through.
Examining the Yard
Besides thoroughly exploring your house for openings and signs of pest invasion, the exterminator will carefully inspect your yard and the rest of your property. Although the outdoors is generally where you want potential pests to stay, a skilled inspector will be able to recognize areas of concern just from examining the yard. They may discover ways that you’ll need pest control in the future before they become problems.
Checking for Moisture
In addition to looking for visible signs of pest infestation, your exterminator will most likely also check for moisture in and around your house. This is because a highly moist area is more likely to attract and harbor pests than a dry area. Not only that, but serious moisture issues can lead to problems with mold and mildew, and even cause structural damage. The pest control professional will likely use a flashlight and perhaps a specialized moisture meter to find damp areas that could be a problem.
Reviewing and Reporting Their Findings
By this stage, the exterminator should have completed a thorough examination of your home and property, and decided when and if you need pest control. They might take several minutes to put together their findings, and they may even put together an official report. They will be writing down all of their findings and the implications of them, in a succinct, easy-to-read format. In this phase, they’ll determine what sort of treatments would be best for your home, now and perhaps in the future. Be sure and give the professional plenty of time and space while they figure these things out.
Discussing Your Options
At last the exterminator will have pulled all your data together onto a single document, complete with their analysis and treatment recommendations. Next, they will sit down with you and discuss what they found. The point here is to let you know exactly what’s been going on in your home, which you can learn from to define your next steps. Based on their discoveries, they will make recommendations to remedy existing problems and prevent future ones.
This is the best time to ask questions about the current inspection and any future services. And that’s a good thing, considering that you may be rather worried after learning about the state of pests in your house. Among questions for you to ask, you should inquire about any follow-up care you might need to conduct on your own, and ask if there are any precautions you should use around your pets.
Depending on the pest control company you’re using, the professional may go ahead and start the first steps in treating your home. Typically this will be done while you and your pets and family are still at home, although if there are any dangerous substances involved you can trust that they’ll ask you to leave the house while they work. If this is necessary they’ll likely schedule another time that’s more convenient for you, however. In any case, you ought to feel more comfortable about this part of the process thanks to your discussion with them.
Although it might seem simple to treat a home for rodents and other pests, it can be a lengthy and complicated process. Considering that HomeAdvisor’s estimate for insect control alone is more than $100 on the low end, you can reasonably expect a bed bug exterminator or another pest expert to get a lot done in their quick visit. When you understand exactly what to expect, you can more easily prepare yourself and your family for what’s ahead. Not only that, but your pest control professional will be there to help you ensure your home is kept happy and pest-free from now on.
How to Prepare for Pest Extermination
Sometimes the single visit from the exterminator is all you need to get your home pest-free and keep it that way. If you have a serious infestation problem, however, there could be a few follow-up visits involved, and some more advanced treatments. Whether you’re targeting mice or stink bugs, next we’ll discuss the types of follow-up treatments that may be used and how you should prepare.
Tips for Choosing a Pest Control Service
When you choose a pest control company to do business with, you should make that choice the same way you shop for any other critical service: by looking for quality and value. While costs are often the first thing on a homeowner’s mind, you shouldn’t select a pest control service based on their prices alone. Getting rid of pests is important to the safety of your home, and exterminators often have to work with harsh chemicals to get the job done, so you can’t afford to hire someone who lacks competence. Choosing an unqualified exterminator could result in damage to your property, or even chemical poisoning to your pets or family. For this reason, it’s important to do your homework, and hire a service with a proven track record and necessary qualifications.
Of course, when most people discover that they need pest control, their first instinct is to get the services they need as quickly as possible. However, it’s important to remember that most problems can wait a few days while you wait to find a competent, reasonably priced company. Most services will give free price estimates, so you may want to compare a few before making your final decision.
Questions to Ask Prospective Pest Control Services
As with any other service, you should contact pest control companies with a few questions in mind to gauge the quality of their services. The following questions are particularly important:
How many years has your company been in business at its current address?
Just because a business is new to the area doesn’t mean they aren’t qualified for the job. But it does mean you should be extra cautious, and look carefully for other qualifying details before choosing them. Regardless of its age, however, you should consider checking with such organizations as the Better Business Bureau or the EPA to find out if any complaints have been filed against the company regarding misuse of pesticides.
Can you provide me with a list of references?
Any serious business knows that references from satisfied customers is essential to acquiring new ones, even if they haven’t been in business long. Connect with several references to make sure they were satisfied with the service before hiring them.
Will the person (or people) providing the services be a licensed, certified pesticide applicator or technician?
Every pest control company should have at least one licensed and certified commercial pesticide applicator. Other exterminators working for the company must be licensed technicians under the direct supervision of the certified applicator, if they are not certified applicators themselves. You can verify exterminator licenses by contacting the State Department of Agriculture in the area the business operates in.
Can you provide me with a copy of your pest control license, as well as copies of the labels for all pesticides to be used and the rates at which they’ll be applied?
A reliable pesticide applicator will be happy to show you their credentials, as well as provide you with copies of pesticide labels, including instructions for use and safety precautions.
Additional Points to Consider
Sometimes a pest control company will provide service contracts, in which buildings that need pest control routinely can get serviced on a scheduled basis. However, this will usually only apply in professional settings, for example in warehouses that often need cockroach control from infested crates.
In most cases, routine pesticide applications in or around a home is a bad idea. But if there’s a constant infestation in your home and non-chemical prevention methods haven’t worked, routine pest control by an expert applicator can be an acceptable choice. For homeowners, service contracts should involve periodic inspections, however, pesticides shouldn’t be used unless pests are present and can’t be controlled by non-chemical means.
In general, termite control work, in particular, will be guaranteed for a length of time after treatment. This guarantee will probably last between one and five years, but you should ask the service representative to find out for sure what guarantee they offer. You should also find out whether the pest control company will assume responsibility for any structural damage resulting from ineffective treatments. In the vast majority of cases, this won’t be an issue, but if a company makes such a guarantee, it means they stand behind their service, which is always a good sign. But keep in mind that a guarantee is only as reliable as the business offering it. Again, do your homework before hiring a service.
Cooperating With the Pest Control Professional
Depending on the type of service being offered, the pest control professional may ask you to do certain things before, during, or following pesticide application. If you’re given any such instructions, make sure you understand them and follow them to the letter.
For example, the service representative may instruct you to keep personal items off the floor, remove pets and children, or empty cabinets in the area being treated. If they do, make sure you’ve followed these instructions well before the pesticide applicator is scheduled to arrive.
It’s also incredibly important not to allow children or pets back into treated areas until after the pesticide spray has had time to dry.
If you have an aquarium in the area, either it should be removed, or it should be covered in plastic and the air pump turned off.
Finally, the pesticide applicator or service representative may suggest certain non-chemical pest control methods to use after the pesticides are applied. If any steps or treatments are advised, be sure and do as they say. Otherwise you may need pest control all over again.
Keep in mind that pesticides are quite toxic by their very nature. As a result, they can cause health issues or damage the environment if they’re used improperly. Always follow the instructions of the qualified pest control services you hire, and ensure that pesticides are always used according to the instructions on their labels.
The next time you need an exterminator to kill bugs or rodents in your home, you’ll know exactly what to expect, as well as how to prepare.