7 Tips for hiring a pest control company

What Is Pest Control?

Many people think of bugs or insects when they hear the word “pests”, but others think of raccoons, squirrels, mice, or rats (in some areas, even deer may fall into the “pest” category). What is pest control? The term “pest” applies to any insect, rodent, or wildlife that is regarded as undesirable because it either invades or transmits diseases, causing damage to homes and businesses. Thus, pest control is the process of removing (by using deterrents or repellents) or managing pests from the house or workplace.

3 Effective Pest Control Methods

The threat of pests to any living thing is serious, be it human, animal, or plant. Many different types of pests exist, including fungus, mosquitoes, flies, rats, fleas, termites, feral dogs, and every other living entity that harms humans, their environments, stock, or food. By maintaining good hygiene, pests can be controlled or at least reduced to a suitable extent. You should educate people to put trash in the bin, keep all benches, cupboards, lawns, and floors clean in their homes, and remove stagnant water from pools, roads, tanks, buckets, gardens, and old tires, and other water-holding containers laying around. Here are three types of pest control that you can use.

Organic Pest Control Method

When it comes to reducing damage caused by insects and animal pests, many people prefer choosing natural methods as they target only pests without harming other plants or animals. This method uses potent and efficient predator traps and baits to eradicate pests. Fluoroacetate sodium (FCH2CO2Na) is a biodegradable poison mixed into baits that are used to control a range of pests. It is one of the most cost-effective ways to control pests across difficult terrain. Some products are used in organic pest control, such as oil sprays, parasitic nematodes, floating row covers, insecticidal soap, etc.

Biological Control

Generally, this technique is used in greenhouses, but it can also be used outdoors. A biological control method for controlling pests is by introducing the pests’ natural enemies, such as predators, parasites, pathogens, which geographically interfere with their ability to breed and infect them with fatal diseases. There are beneficial insects that feed on the larvae of pests, slowing their growth. Using this method is safer for your plants, your family, and local wildlife than using pesticides. However, a successful outcome of this process depends on the use of appropriate species under appropriate conditions.

Chemical Pesticides

We use thousands of chemical pesticides every day in our homes, offices, stores, farms, and many other places. Pesticides are hazardous, contaminating air, land, food, and water. It is too dangerous for people to use them and possibly for other living organisms too. There are a variety of pesticides, including solid, liquid, and aerosol, grouped according to the type of pest they kill. For example, insecticides are used to kill insects, bactericides kill bacteria, and herbicides kill plants. It is possible to kill a harmful animal through oral entry (through the mouth), respiratory entry (through the air), or dermal entry (through the skin). Be careful when using a spray by yourself. Always read the label on a pesticide, and avoid polluting uncovered food, drinks, utensils, and other usable items lying around. If you need help handling pesticides by yourself, contact a pest control service provider.

Keep In mind these 7 tips when you hire a pest control professional

When you don’t have much time or knowledge to research your pest problem and apply the appropriate procedures and materials, you may need to get a professional pest control service to handle it. Licensed professionals can also access some products that cannot be found in retail stores. Many pest problems, such as termites or problems with large trees, require specialized equipment, pesticides, and technical training to be effectively managed. A professional service may appear to be a large investment, but it may be worth the investment if it helps solve a serious problem. By working with a pest control professional who practices integrated pest management methods and keeps current with the latest technology, you can receive the safest and most effective management strategies. When toxic chemicals are included in a pest management plan, it’s safer to have the chemicals handled by a professional.


1. Make sure you identify the pest, then find out how to control it by following the steps below.

  • If you are not sure of the pest’s identity, contact your local University of California (UC) Cooperative Extension office or county agricultural commissioner’s office. A telephone directory will provide their local numbers. Get advice about management solutions from them.
  • You can find information on managing the pest in the online UC Pest Notes. Using this information, determine if management is required and if it is, whether or not you can safely and effectively solve the problem yourself.
  • You may be able to make changes in your landscaping or home design to prevent or reduce pests permanently, and this can eliminate the need to hire professionals. Taking out problem tree species and replacing them with pest-resistant ones is an example, or treating your pets with spot-on flea treatments will eliminate the need to treat carpets or outdoor areas for fleas.
  • Most pest management professionals generally have access to more effective pesticides, or other tools, that aren’t available to consumers. This may be the case for your pest, and you may need professional help.
  • If pesticides or procedures such as setting traps for skunks need to be repeated, determine whether you have the skills or time to complete the task. Otherwise, hire a professional.
  • Often, it is best to hire a professional if toxic chemicals or sophisticated application equipment are required.

2. You can ask neighbors, friends, or family about pest control services they’ve used. You should speak to at least three companies and observe their communication methods and customer service policies:

  • Determine which types of services are offered by the company. Do they provide monthly spray contracts or do they implement an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program that includes nonchemical methods?
  • Find out if there are alternative pest control methods that are less toxic. The company should tell you whether it uses such less-toxic pesticides or baits when appropriate. Ensure that exclusion methods, baits, and traps are used against cockroaches (rather than sprays), and that baits are used against ants (rather than sprays). Check out the UC Pest Notes for other examples of least toxic approaches.
  • Verify that the company has the proper licenses, registration, certificates, and insurance.
  • Individuals and companies performing pest control treatments on households must operate with a license issued by the California State Structural Pest Control Board. You can check the status of a pest control company’s license online or by calling 800-737-8188.
  • If you operate landscape maintenance or gardening businesses and do yard pest control, you need a Pest Control Business License as well as a Qualified Applicator Certificate (QAC or QAL) issued by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. Besides carrying a license, the licensee should have an identification card that has an expiration date. You may check the status of an individual’s certificate or a business’ license online or by calling 916-445-4038.

3. You should ask the company to inspect the site.

The company may charge you for this inspection, but you will receive a written diagnosis or identification of the problem for that fee. A professional should show you where the pest is causing the problem and explain how they will handle it. It should also provide you with information regarding the nature and course of treatment(s), the pesticides to be used, the frequency of inspections and treatments, as well as an estimate of the cost of implementing the treatment plan. You should receive information about the safety of any products they may apply as well as any precautions you should take, such as protecting pets and children.

4. You should review the solutions.

  • Think about long-term solutions to the problem. If an organization practices IPM, it will recommend habitat modification, baits, and monitoring in addition to spraying monthly or upon return of the pest. Pest management strategies may include screening the windows, adding sweeps to the bottom of the doors, and changing the way you water your yard.
  • You should consider your chemical tolerance. You should ask what pesticides will be used, what their active ingredients are, as well as the adverse effects they will have on pets, the environment, and people, especially the elderly, young children, or those with sensitivity to environmental factors. Find out if specific legal requirements require precautions to be taken following application. You can request a copy of the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for each pesticide used, which describes its chemical properties, hazards, and safety precautions. If you have further questions regarding pesticides to be used, you can consult the National Pesticide Information Center by visiting their website or calling 1-800-858-7378.
  • Ask how and where pesticides will be applied. It is possible for chemicals sprayed around a home’s perimeter to be washed away by irrigation or rain, especially if the home is surrounded by concrete walkways or other water-repellent materials. We should avoid spraying this type of material since it is ineffective, costly, and may contaminate our waterways.
  • If a company offers only calendar chemistries with automatic perimeter sprays monthly or quarterly, avoid that company. It may or may not be necessary, as the pest may or may not be present when the treatment is applied, and it is also not a long-term or integrated pest management method. For example, baiting for termites requires regular monitoring and refilling of bait stations.

5.  You should review the contract.

A pest control company should present information on the identified problem, the reasons for a particular treatment choice, and how the treatment is applied. Generally, a contract should state the following.

  • Name of the company
  • Length of the service
  • Treatment plan
  • Price
  • Guarantee

There are two kinds of insurance a reliable pest control company should carry: general liability and workers’ compensation insurance. You can find additional details on the back of the contract, including some possible exclusions. If you cancel the contract, can the company charge you a penalty? Is there an arbitration clause or another method of settling a potential dispute?


6. Stay in touch with the company to make sure you receive the service outlined in your contract.

  • Make sure that the company is monitoring pest populations according to the contract.
  • Inform the company about levels of pests that are acceptable as well as intolerable. Generally, you can tolerate ants on the landscape, but not inside your house.
  • You should notify the company of any changes in pest populations observed in-between visits.

7. Make sure you take the appropriate steps to manage the pest.

An effective pest management program will typically require the customer to take certain measures to reduce pest problems. You may have to eliminate food sources or rid an area of clutter that harbors pests, such as removing woodpiles or debris, or fix plumbing leaks or repair structures. It is important to follow through with these recommendations or the pest management program may not be able to solve the problem.

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