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How to select the right pest control service

Finding a reputable pest control company is vital to maintaining a safe and healthy home. Here are some factors to consider during your search for the right pest control company.

By: Sylvia Slezak | Apr 2020

Man performing pest control Man performing pest control photo by csp_AndreyPopov

Some companies specialize in certain insects, like mosquitoes, while others offer a broad range of services. Do your research before hiring a professional. Here are a few tips in selecting the right pro for your pest removal.

Read Reviews & Ratings

Look for companies that service your area and have good reviews. You can find reviews on review sites, certain social media platforms, major search engines, membership sites, and some others. These reviews will help you find a credible provider. The more reviews they have, the better, and many mixed reviews can be better than one good one. You can also ask the company for a list of references.

Compare Value

Contact at least three service providers and get a list of what their service will cover, the value of each, and the cost involved. Then compare, but make sure you are comparing the value of each service and not just the cost. Some providers may offer more services for a little more money.

Check License & Insurance

Every state has its own licensing laws and procedures concerning pest control, but most require companies to certify any employee who sprays pesticide in a home. Check with your provider to make sure they have the appropriate license for the type of problem you are experiencing and looking to have resolved. Prior to hiring or making the final decision, verify the information with your state licensing agency.

Get a Pest Control Service Contract

Typically, a pest control service contract includes regular inspections and preventive measures. Exterminating and pest control services treat existing pest or rodent infestations and help prevent future invasions, which can save you money in the long run. If you're trying to control a structural insect, such as termites, read the contract carefully and ask as many questions as you need to be clear of what is included and what isn't. Many pros exclude the cost to control termites from their contracts or require a separate service agreement all together.

Reputable pros practice something called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). IPM doesn't always need chemicals to eliminate an insect or rodent problem. Integrated services may save you time and money by preventing expensive structural damage or infestation caused by pests like bed bugs and termites.

What does Integrated Pest Management do?

  • Regular inspections in and around your home to catch problems early.
  • Preventive action, like reducing food or water sources or performing structural maintenance.
  • Identification of pests to select the most effective treatment with the least impact to people, pets, and the environment.
  • Treatment with chemical application, habitat removal, trapping, or a combination of chemical & non-chemical methods.
  • Monitored and documented treatment results to ensure effectiveness. Suggested schedule of regular inspections.

Request a Free Inspection

To earn your business, many companies offer a free inspection. However, be aware that there are many door-to-door and free inspection scams out there. These scammers show up uninvited and unannounced offering a free pest inspection. What starts out innocently enough turns into a minor emergency when the pest control happens to find evidence of termites, ants, or bed bugs. In some cases, scammers will drop dead bugs on your floor while walking around and then discover them. Never hire someone who's just come to your door, and never take their word for a pest infestation. Getting a second opinion is a must!

Limit DIY pest control

For common problems, like fruit flies, sugar ants, or seasonal spiders, you can purchase traps or chemical sprays online or at your local home improvement or big box store. Do-it-yourself pest control for certain things can be less expensive and more convenient than calling a professional. If it is something beyond that, remember that chemicals and traps available in stores are not the same quality as those used by professionals.

In some cases, direct contact with insecticides or rodenticides can cause eye, skin, or throat irritation, and ingestion of these substances may cause nausea, vomiting, or other symptoms. Improper contact with these chemicals have been known to cause death. Most homeowners do not have the expertise to address the source of the problem, especially when it comes to wasps, termites, bed bugs, or any infestation.

Check to see if you need pest control

Pests can severely damage your home. That is why it's best to call in a professional who can identify the type of invasion it is, where they are hiding, and then treat the problem effectively, which means faster professional results. Hiring a professional pest control service to treat minor problems, before they become harder to treat or cause extensive damage, can save you time and money.

Instances that require immediate attention:

  • Property damage – Teeth marks on or holes gnawed in furniture, clothing, wiring, or walls.
  • Urine and/or droppings – Mice, rats, and cockroaches leave these traces, in addition to carrying deadly diseases and quickly multiplying.
  • Unusual sounds – Rodents, ants, or termites are present when scratching noises in cabinets or behind ceilings and walls are heard.
  • Visual confirmation – A few ants or roaches is typically the sign of a hidden nest. For every insect or rodent you see, there are likely more of them that you don't see.
  • Unusual pests – Squirrel infestations and raccoon problems are less common. However, if they are not immediately removed by a professional, these rodents can find their way into your home and cause extensive damage.

Real professionals don't use high-pressure scare and deception tactics. They stand on their reputation and service. Always remember to see a valid license from the individual servicing your home, and never sign a contract for ongoing work. If you need to hire a professional pest control expert, check for pest removal services near you.

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