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Frequently asked questions about pest control & exterminators

How to find a good pest control company?

Pest control companies deal with strong pest pesticides to rid your home of bugs. Those pesticides pose a risk to both health and property if misused. That’s why it’s a good idea to research companies based on competency rather than costs.

You can always call the Better Business Bureau (BBB) or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to learn about any complaints filed against the company. Any good business won’t hesitate to provide a list of references, and they’ll be able to prove that the person performing the services is licensed. State Departments of Agriculture verify these licenses.

Not only will a good company provide you with their certification and credentials, but they should also be able to provide the labels of the pesticides they plan to use, their usage rate, walk you through how it’s applied, and what the necessary precautions are.

Be aware of companies that don’t have a working telephone number or that offer pesticides as an add-on for other home-improvement services. If they sell their business door to door, especially targeting older adults, check their IDs and credentials. Sometimes a person will show up at the door with a handful of dead bugs, claiming the neighbors have a pest issue, and therefore you do, too.

Some places will try to pressure you into immediate sales by explaining your home is structurally unsound — they might even claim to have a secret pest formula. But the EPA strictly regulates pesticides and never endorses any one company. If a pest control company claims a government agency endorses it, proceed cautiously.

What are the pros and cons of pest control?

When you decide which local pest control company to hire, you might consider DIY options. DIY options tend to be cheaper, but a DIY solution may not be able to tackle the extent of your pest issue. There are other cons to consider as well, like the fact that not all pesticides are reputable. You want to ensure you’re hiring a certified company that can show you their credentials. Pest control services use chemicals that are harmful to pets without proper care.

Pests can destroy fabric, wiring, furniture, and walls — not to mention the dead insects you might encounter on your floors or the live insects that find their way into your pantry. Moreover, rodent nests are a major fire hazard, and cockroaches can bring disease and severe allergens. Many of the DIY options are either ineffective or might be more harmful than helpful.

Termite and pest control businesses are well-trained, and many have been in the business for years. These professionals have knowledge, expertise, and experience in controlling various pests. They have equipment for finding pests you might not be able to see, ascertaining the damage done, and ensuring their pesticide reaches the unwanted invaders. They can also assist with preventative measures to stop your pest problems from returning in the future.

Does pest control actually work?

Pest control really works, and it’s a thriving industry. Pests present a big problem and if people could get rid of them on their own, they would. Pest control companies are needed because they’re effective, and most reputable ones guarantee their work or offer a warranty should the service be ineffective the first time.

If a client doesn’t heed the advice of the company, they may get another infestation. Pest control companies can only be as successful long-term if their clients take proper precautions and follow instructions. If they don’t, a good company can end the immediate problem, but it can’t guarantee a similar one won’t arise in the future. Pest control is effective, but pest prevention is a homeowner’s job once the pests have been dealt with.

Is pest control worth it?

Pest control is worth the cost and effort involved. If you see a few bugs or a line of ants, you can set traps to kill them — but this does take time. Traps are effective for a few bugs or small infestations, but bugs breed fast, and two or three bugs can quickly balloon into a real problem. DIY methods are typically sufficient for small-scale issues, but if you have a larger pest problem, pest control professionals handle them efficiently and offer preventative measures for the future.

As with any professional, you’re paying for their time, expertise and training, equipment, and licenses. A professional in any capacity has a high wage because it’s not possible for just anyone to do it. You may look at DIY options, usually under $50, and compare that to the cost of a pest control company, which may charge $500. That’s a pretty big difference, but the difference is worth it.

Pest control companies get into nooks and crannies that DIY solutions can’t. They also use pesticides designed to tackle large bug problems and employ experts with the equipment necessary to contain issues that DIY solutions can’t. Ultimately, if DIY were the better solution for pest control, the pest business wouldn’t be able to compete. Instead, many pest control companies give warranties with their work because they’re confident the bug problem will be eliminated.

What is the average cost of pest control?

The average annual cost for pest control is between $400 to $950. Monthly, this means you can expect to pay between $30 to $50. For an initial pest control visit, you might pay up to $350, with costs of $120 per visit after that. These costs vary based on several factors. Pest control companies prefer to keep your business ongoing with regular check-ups and offer plans that factor these in per year. These services include common bugs, but some require more effort than others to eradicate, which warrants a price bump.

Termites and bedbugs are challenging to eliminate and therefore have the widest cost range. Bedbugs can create costs between $300 and $5,000, whereas termites generally cost $2,000 to $8,000. Most pests rarely go beyond $500 to eliminate, including ants, cockroaches, mosquitoes, rodents, scorpions, and ticks.

Other factors that alter the price are your location. Some areas are more prone to pests than others. If you live far away from the exterminator, you might also pay travel costs. If your infestation is particularly severe, you may have to pay more. The size of your home, and your yard, also play a significant factor in determining the price. A pest control company is going to be thorough, and thorough work means more ground covered. Larger areas mean more pests, and more pesticides are needed to contain the problem. These factors can all show up in the cost.

What to ask a pest control company?

Due to the nature of the pest control business — and people’s discomfort at the thought of pests invading their homes — there are a few scams and bad practices surrounding it. By asking questions and gathering information before you invite a company into your home, you’ll be able to tell whether a company is legitimate and whether or not you feel confident in its ability to tackle your pest problems.

First, ask the company if they’re fully licensed and insured. Not only should a company be able to show its certification, but no pest control company in the country is also allowed to operate without being licensed first. A pest control company should be able to tell you whether their licensed technician will handle the job themselves or if they’ll be supervising others.

An excellent question to ask a pest company is whether they can identify the source of the infestation. A great pest control company isn’t only looking to eliminate your pest problem — they’re examining the source of the issue and helping you prevent this pest’s return in the future. Another critical question is whether or not they warranty their work and check in post-job to ensure their work is effective. A solid pest company stands by its work.

Finally, ask whether the pesticide the company uses is safe for people, pets, and plants. Your pest technician should be an expert in the pesticides they use and be able to outline not only the hazards of the pesticide but how they’ll ensure you and your loved ones — pets and plants included — stay safe from its effects.

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