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You can remove pests from your home or garden using a few natural remedies and organic solutions. Learn about what solutions keep …
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Pest control is the process of managing, and often exterminating, insects, rodents and other common vermin from your home or place of business. You can hire an exterminator to kill or keep pests such as cockroaches, termites and rats at bay.
Many companies either have technicians on staff or hire commercial pest control operators to keep their facilities clean and compliant with health codes and other regulations. While your house doesn't need to meet the same stringent codes a restaurant might, you likely want to keep your home safe from bugs and mice. Besides being general pests, termites, carpenter ants and other vermin can destroy the structural integrity of your home, making it unsafe for anyone to live in.
It's important to ask the right questions before hiring a pest control company. You need to know whether the exterminators do quality work and if they know the proper ways to kill pests without exposing you and your family to potentially harmful chemicals. Here's a list of questions you must ask any extermination company to ensure you hire the best people for the job:
Are You Licensed?
Pest control experts must be licensed in your state to do their work since they handle powerful pesticides and insecticides. Make sure the company you go with is registered with your state. You can verify a business's license through your state's pesticide regulatory office.
Are You Bonded or Insured?
Just like any other professional working in or on your property, you want to ensure they're bonded. Being bonded or insured means any damage they do to your home will be covered by an insurance company instead of you.
How Long Have You Been in Business?
You want a veteran extermination company that knows how to handle all types of pests. A company that's been in business for a number of years will have more experience trapping or killing a wide range of bugs and rodents than a relative newcomer.
Do You Guarantee Your Work?
You wouldn't want to call a pest control technician out to spray your home and have roaches or rats return in just a few days, would you? Get a guarantee for the work that is done. Additionally, be wary of exterminators who ask you to sign a long contract with them. If you must sign an extended pledge, ensure you can cancel it at any time.
May I Have a List of References?
Ask your friends, family and neighbors if they can recommend any reputable pest control operators. If they can't, ask the company itself for a list of references you can contact.
Will I Need to Leave My House or Place of Business?
An exterminator might require you to leave your house or workplace depending on the seriousness of the infestation or the chemicals used to annihilate the bugs or rodents. Ask him or her what chemicals they plan to use, when it's safe to return to your home or commercial building and if the treatment spray could harm children or pets.
Remember that you can better avoid scammers by ensuring all the technicians with the pest control company you hire are licensed as well as bonded.
You may need to seek the help of an exterminator depending on the type of pest and the amount of infestation your residence or commercial building has. While you can use glue traps and insecticide to kill off a few cockroaches, these measures are no match for large clusters and colonies of insects or rodents. Here's a list of creatures you should contact a pest control technician about:
Contact a professional exterminator as soon as possible if you suspect your property has termites. Termites can cause costly damage to your home or building in a small amount of time.
Besides eating into wood and causing destruction to your foundation, termite nests are also hard to locate. With that said, look for cracked paint along the wooden surfaces of your home and tap beams and pillars every once in a while. If you hear a hollow sound, you might have a termite infestation.
Other culprits that can damage your house include carpenter ants. Like termites, they are bugs that burrow into buildings, damaging insulation, floors and walls. Unlike ants that build underground colonies and hills in your yard, carpenter ants are usually found living in trees. However, many times this species of ant will make a home for itself under your roof. It's smart to enlist the help of an experienced pest control company when handling carpenter ants since they're known to cause as much damage to buildings as termites.
If you have bed bugs but want to keep getting a good night's sleep, you should contact an exterminator, as this pest spreads easily. Unfortunately, knowing whether or not you have bed bugs is difficult until you feel an itch on your skin or find their bites on you.
Controlling the spread of this pest is notoriously challenging, which is why you should employ a professional. Bed bugs feed on blood and make their homes on mattresses and other pieces of furniture. So wash your laundry frequently, steam clean your mattress and seek out the guidance of an exterminator in order to go back to sleeping in comfort.
The common ant, unlike its carpenter ant cousin, won't destroy parts of your home. However, a trail of bugs is something no one wants in their house. Ants usually enter a building looking for a sugary food source and will leave a scented trail for the rest of the colony to follow. This is why it's better to eradicate the whole group instead of just the handful you might find in your home.
Roaches are a nuisance no one likes to deal with. However, many homes, condos and apartments have them. Unsanitary conditions, such as leaving food out, dirty dishes in the sink or failing to take out the garbage, attract cockroaches into your living space.
Regular bees, bumble bees, hornets, wasps and yellow jackets can take over your backyard, making sitting on your deck a challenge. Some insects such as bees can be good for your garden since they help pollinate plants. However, you don't want your property swarming with stinging insects. There are preventative measures you can take, as well as special formulated insecticides, but it's best to contact a professional. Exterminators and beekeepers have the protective gear required to handle stinging bugs and can remove the insects without anyone getting hurt.
Rats and Mice
Rats are not just an irritant; they also pose risks to your health and to your home. While rats, mice and other rodents can burrow holes in your house, rats also carry disease in the form of fleas in their fur. Bait, poison and mechanical spring-loaded traps can eliminate them.
While you want some animals off your lawn and out of your house, you don't want to exterminate all pests, especially wildlife like deer, raccoons and squirrels. They may eat your plants but you will want to ward them off or either find a safe and humane way to trap and release them.
There are some great do-it-yourself tricks you can use, such as connecting small bungee cords to your trash can lids to keep raccoons from going through your garbage. However, if you find an opossum, snake or other varmint in your house, you should call a professional pest control company to reduce your chance of getting bit or otherwise injured. An expert knows how to humanely trap mammals or reptiles and keep them out of your home.
There's a whole range of pest control methods and customized solutions for killing insects, mammals and reptiles, as well as preventing them from returning. Unfortunately, there isn't one approach that will keep all pests at bay. Here are a few ways you can eliminate or discourage critters from making camp in your residence or yard:
Inspection and Exclusion
Before you or an exterminator sets out bait, traps or poison, it's best to thoroughly check your home and pinpoint where the pests are coming from. Look for cracks or openings in your residence. After that, the professional will locate where the bugs or other animals are living and set traps or spray insecticide accordingly.
He or she will also suggest ways to keep future pests out, either by caulking up holes or by explaining what you might be doing that's attracting the vermin.
A trap can run the gamut from sticky-padded glue traps that use an adhesive material to capture bugs and mice to milk jugs filled with sugar water that capture flies and wasps.
If you hire professionals to kill or capture pests, ask them which traps will work best for your needs. They could suggest a particular glue trap if you have a frequent cockroach problem or a type of bait that's more effective in leading rodents to the trap.
Baits range from laying out food to entice pests into a trap to poisonous substances the bugs or rodents eat and take back to their colony or hive. The latter type of bait takes time to work but can be much more effective than spraying insects with a pesticide. It attacks and can eliminate all the other pests in the community.
Many commercial pest control operators will spray your house or yard with strong insecticides around nooks, crannies and other parts of your home where bugs are usually found. You can also do this yourself with store-bought sprays or purchase commercial grade pesticide to dilute with water.
When pest control technicians visit your home or place of business, expect them to first identify what insect or other animal it is that's causing trouble. After identification, they will inspect your building to see where the pests are coming from and locate their hive or nest.
Then the exterminator will spray or set out traps and bait according to which pest you have. The price for exterminators can range broadly since they can charge for a monthly inspection and treatment. The final bill also comes down to the square footage of your property.
Keeping critters out of your house is easier said than done, but there are a number of preventative steps you can take, including:
You might need to change your pest prevention approach with the seasons, however. If you find insects and other animals trying to get in through cracks or openings, use a caulk gun to fill the gaps. You'll also want to either use traditional bug spray or a citronella candle to keep bugs such as mosquitos away from you during the summer months.
Many pest control experts now offer environmentally friendly treatment for your home and yard with insecticides that aren't as harsh for the ecosystem. Check with exterminators around your area to see if they provide these kinds of services.
Also, keep bugs at bay and your plants free from harmful chemicals by spraying cedar oil or soapy water on your prized flowers. Ask your pest control company about no-kill traps you can use if you want to get mice, rabbits, opossums or other furry creatures out of your house without harming them.