Post details: General Household Pest Control

04/07/05

Permalink 12:39:34 pm, Categories: Article, 1232 words   English (US)

General Household Pest Control


If you have problems with pests such as ants, fleas, cockroaches, or occasional invaders such as millipedes and ladybugs, you are looking for someone who can give you General Household Pest Control.

Choosing a pest control company generally comes down to two things. First, you must evaluate the effectiveness of a company's pest management methods. Second, you must decide if you are satisfied with the customer service you received.

Evaluating Pest Management Methods

When evaluating the effectiveness of pest management methods, ask for specific steps that the PCO will use in his or her pest management program. The Alabama Cooperative Extension System recommends the use of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques. IPM incorporates all available control methods into a pest management program. IPM requires homeowner cooperation for maximum effectiveness. Control methods include sanitation, exclusion, and the use of multiple pest management products.

Sanitation

Sanitation will aid in pest management. Do the following:

* Keep the kitchen area clean.
* Wipe down countertops, stove, and cabinets with warm, soapy water.
* Keep food in sealed containers, including pet food that may be stored outside.
* Keep garbage cans covered.
* Take out the trash at least once a week.
* Do not leave water standing in the sink. Water is the most important factor for pest survival.
* Clean out cabinets. Beetles or moths found in the kitchen area may have come from food that is infested. Check foods such as cereals, rice, and grains to see if they are infested. Discard infested food. Vacuum cabinets thoroughly and wipe surfaces clean before the pest control operator arrives. Leave the cabinets empty so the Pest Control Operator has a clear treatment area. Chemical treatment should be confined to the cracks and crevices of the cabinet because that is where the insect pests will hide. Do not replace cabinet items until the treatment is dry.
* Clean out closets. Beetles or moths found in the bedroom, hall, or closet areas may be coming from clothing or carpeting. Check woolen sweaters and rugs for moth cases or beetle larvae as well as the adult forms. Dry cleaning clothes before storing them will make clothes less attractive to these destructive insects. Dry cleaning after an infestation is discovered will also kill these destructive insects. Thoroughly brushing clothing or rugs outside will also help eliminate these insects. After inspecting and cleaning clothes or rugs, clean out closets and thoroughly vacuum the inside before the PCO arrives. For more information, see Extension publication ANR-159, "Controlling Carpet Beetles and Clothes Moths."
* Fix leaky pipes that can cause moisture problems. Moisture problems cause mold and fungi to grow. Mold and fungi are used as food by some beetles and other small nuisance insects such as psocids. Chemicals alone cannot effectively control these types of insects unless the moisture problem is solved.

Exclusion

Another important part of controlling pests in your home is to make sure that they stay outside. Repair window screens and doors to exclude flying insects such as gnats, mosquitoes, and flies. Repair door sweeps to exclude crawling insects such as cockroaches or pillbugs.

Pest Management Products

There are numerous pest management products available to homeowners and pest control operators. These products can be found in bait, dust, granular, and liquid formulations. Attractants, pheromones that confuse insects during mating (confusants), repellents, and glue boards are also practical in many instances. Always follow the use and disposal directions on the label. The label is the law.

Evaluating Customer Service

When evaluating a company's customer service, ask around. Customer satisfaction is mostly a matter of personal preference. Ask your friends or relatives the following questions about their pest control service:

* Why have they selected that company?
* Have they had bad experiences with other companies?

These are some questions to ask yourself:

* What is your chemical tolerance? Are you sensitive? Are you indifferent?
* Do the proposed techniques fit your lifestyle? If your Pest Control Operator asked you to carry out all the suggestions for sanitation and pest exclusion listed above, would you be willing to do them? Some pest control companies have carpentry units that will do minor repairs such as fixing leaky pipes, repairing window screens, and caulking cracks for an additional fee. Do you need to look for a pest control company that can offer you these additional services?
* Do you prefer monthly, quarterly, or yearly pest control? Some contracts will allow you to call the company only when you have a pest problem. Products have changed over the years so that monthly applications to nonharborage areas are not necessary. Even though most Pest Control Companies service monthly, homeowners can investigate other options.

The trend is toward more extensive service with fewer trips. One advantage to monthly pest control is that someone should be looking at your house for pest problems monthly. One disadvantage of monthly pest control is that homeowners insist that PCOs apply a chemical treatment monthly whether there is a pest problem or not. Monthly chemical treatments may not be necessary and may cause undue exposure to the occupants. Would you be willing to have someone monitor your house monthly and apply a chemical treatment as needed?

Sometimes it is not even necessary for the PCO to enter the home to take care of pest problems. Seventy-seven percent of all insects live outside the home. Servicing from the outside does not require you to be home when the servicing is done, which is convenient if you have a busy schedule. Outside treatments also reduce inside exposure to occupants. Does this type of service fit your lifestyle?

* If you chose quarterly or yearly pest control, will you be charged if you call the PCO for a problem between scheduled visits? As a rule, materials that are registered for General Household Pest Control will not last for a whole year. However, you are buying the expertise of the Pest Control Company, inclusive of inspections in inaccessible voids where insects live, such as attics, soffits, eaves, wall voids, built-in furniture, and the like.

Other questions that may tell you about the company include:

* Does the PCO appear neat and professional?
* Is your PCO on time?
* Is the PCO able to answer your questions satisfactorily?

Other tips include:

* Compare prices and service, and remember, the lowest price does not always mean the best deal when shopping for a pest control professional.
* Make sure that you and the pest control company are clear on the terms of your contract. Be sure the contract includes the name of the company, the length of service for the contract, what services are covered, and the price.

More details to check on the contract:

* Make sure to look for possible exclusion clauses in the contract. Exclusion clauses specify the things that can cause the contract to be canceled.
* Can either you or the pest control company cancel? Will there be penalties assessed if you cancel the contract?
* Is there an arbitration clause or other method to settle possible disputes?
* Ask to see a certificate of insurance. Does the company carry complete insurance coverage with adequate coverage including an "errors and omissions" clause? An "errors and omissions" clause covers things like inadvertent staining on carpets or accidental breakage of items.
* Be sure that the company is licensed, meaning that there is a Certified Operator in charge within 100 miles of the office.
* The contract should be signed by both parties.

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