Although some pest issues can be taken care of by homeowners themselves, sometimes you don't have the time or energy to devote to researching your pest problem or the safest ways to handle it. You may want to hire a professional pest control company if:
- The pest problem is ongoing
- The infestation has gotten too large for you to handle on your own
- The things you'll need to use to tackle the problem should only be handled by certified professionals
- Some products you'll need are not available in supermarkets
Many pest problems require specialized training and experience, for instance, a termite infestations on large trees. Once you've decided that you'll need a professional for the job, you'll need to pick a reliable and reputable professional. But with the wealth of options you'll likely have, hiring your pest control company can take some work.
Before you hire anyone, there are some steps you can take to ensure you're getting the best service possible. First, you'll want to do some research. Ask friends and neighbors for recommendations, and call at least three companies, asking about their methods, as well as their customer service policies.
- Find out if the company offers monthly pest spraying contracts, or if they offer an IPM (Integrated Pest Management) program that includes non-chemical methods.
- Find out if the company uses least-toxic methods, like baits or traps. For instance, they should be able to use traps for cockroaches instead of sprays, or baits for ants.
- Make sure that the company has the proper certifications and licenses. Check to see that these are current. Nearly every state requires pest control technicians to be certified and participate in yearly training.
- Make sure that the company is bonded and insured.
Discussing Your Pest Problem With the Professional
Once you've hired a company, you should be able to discuss the problem and their methods with them. You should expect them to have the same amount of expertise that you'd expect from a doctor or a lawyer. The technician should have no problem inspecting your grounds and outlining your problem and their solutions, including:
- Which pests need to be controlled
- The extent of the problem
- Active ingredients in the pesticides they'll use
- Type of pesticide and the application techniques they'll be using
- Any non-chemical alternatives to the problem that are available
- How you can limit your and your family or pet's exposure to the chemicals after they've been applied (leaving the house, emptying cupboards, putting pets outside, etc.)
- Steps you can take to minimize the problems in the future
Does the Company Guarantee Their Work?
Any company that is reluctant to guarantee their work is suspect. Make sure that the company you hire is ready to guarantee any work that they provide.
In addition, find out what you need to do in order to keep that guarantee valid. For instance, if they're treating your home for termites, the guarantee may not stand if you alter the structure of your home without giving them prior notice. Make sure that you're aware of how you could invalidate the guarantee, as well as the reasons behind the invalidation.
Is the Company Affiliated with State or National Pest Control Organizations?
Professional organizations at the state, national, or local levels do more than give your pest control company superficial credibility. These organizations keep their affiliated companies aware of the latest methods:
The companies also typically need to agree to a strict code of ethics to keep in good standings with these organizations. When a company joins one of these professional associations, it's a good signifier of their commitment to quality work and quality service.
After the Job
Once the job is done, it isn't necessarily over. At this point, you'll want to take note of the results. If you don't get the results you need, contact the company and let them know of your dissatisfaction. Often, this is due to error or mistake, and the company will have no problem satisfying your needs.
Keep up with any of the maintenance that you need to in order to keep the problem from coming back, but don't be afraid to hold a company responsible for their work. Never hesitate to ask any questions, and keep at it until your pests are under control.