There are many options these days when you are faced with a pest problem. Ants, roaches, wildlife, termites, bedbugs, etc. all require different approaches to treatment and prevention. Once the problem is initially dealt with, treatment usually must continue on a regular basis to make sure the critters don’t come back. Also, pests like termites can do significant structural damage to your house that must be assessed and repaired.
Here’s a quick buyer’s guide to help you educate yourself on the subject of pest control.
It’s easy enough to know when you have a cockroach or ant problem, you simply see the little devils crawling around and you want them out. Other pests, however, are not that easy to spot.
In the case of termites in particular, unless you know what to look for you might not know they are there until they’ve already hollowed out significant portions of your house! Bedbugs are also notoriously difficult to see. You usually don’t know you have them until you find a pattern of telltale bites on your skin.
The best way to be absolutely sure you know what kind of pest problem you are dealing with in your home is to schedule a professional inspection. An experienced pest control specialist knows exactly what to look for and the areas particular pests tend to congregate in your home and around your property.
There are over 12,000 species of ant on Earth; they are the most common of household pests. Ants live in colonies where non-reproductive workers build the nest and find food. The queen of the colony bears all the children and can live for years.
Other reproductive males and females can fly and are called “swarmers.” Swarmers fly off to mate and establish other colonies. After mating the male dies and female becomes queen of a new group.
Ant infestations are notoriously difficult to deal with. Different species of ants often require different types of treatment and it is incumbent upon the pest control expert to correctly identify the species and discover the colony in order to eliminate the problem.
Out of the thousands of cockroach species only about 30 hang around human beings. They are an ancient and highly resilient insect that can thrive in extreme climates.
Roaches can get into your house by hiding in anything that is being brought in, boxes, garbage cans, furniture, etc. They also enter through water pipes, drains and sewers. Four sure signs of roaches are:
- Actually seeing one (usually at night)
- Droppings-pepper-like specks, coffee ground-like grains, oval pellets
- Egg Cases-Oblong brown sacs in books, behind furniture or in wall cracks
- Smell-Pungent musty odor as infestation progresses
You can roach bomb your house with varying levels of success, but only a pest control expert is trained to spot the multitude of places cockroaches can hide. A full treatment usually includes different types of bait as well as crevice and crack spraying.
Like ants, termites live in colonies with a queen and reproduce by swarming and establishing new colonies. Termites eat cellulose, most often in the form of wood. They also obtain cellulose from boxes, paper and carpet. Termites can be attacking your wooden structures from the inside out so you may not even know you have them unless you know the warning signs:
- Shelter Tubes-Dark brown tubes, 10-50 mm wide usually on walls or floors. Termites construct these to hide themselves from predators while they work.
- Droppings- Mounds of tiny pellets that appear near where the termites enter your home.
- Hollow Wood-Tap wood surfaces in your house to ascertain if they are hollow. Also check for sagging wood floors.
- Wings-After termites swarm to create new colonies they shed their wings. Individual or piles of discarded wings are a sure sign of infestation.
If you suspect you have a termite problem you are going to need a professional inspection to see how far the damage has spread. A variety of methods can then be used to eliminate the problem, including baiting, liquid treatment, and even tenting your home. After this, it is wise to schedule continued treatments and yearly inspections to prevent the problem from returning.
In addition to ants, termites and roaches, our advertising partner Terminix also can take care of mosquitos, rodents, spiders, wildlife, and all other manner of pests that may be harassing you.
What Should I be Looking For?
To achieve optimal pest elimination and prevention, you need to go with a company with experience and knowledge of all the different types of pests and their habits. Here are some other things to look for:
Licenses-Does the organization require technicians have current licenses and are correctly classified for a given job? Also, does the company require their workers to be up on safety regulation changes and current industry developments?
Qualifications-Does the company employ a certified entomologist? These experts can work with the company to research and stay on top of innovative new pest control technologies.
Experience-How long has the company been in business? Have they treated your type of problem before?
Cost-Does they offer you free quotes? Must you sign a long-term contract? What are your obligations under said contract?
Guarantee-How committed is the company to solving your pest problem? Do they offer a guarantee for their work? If so, how robust is this guarantee?
The Bottom Line
With over 85 year of experience, our advertising partner Terminix fits all of these criteria and then some. The company’s “Ultimate Protection Guarantee” is the most comprehensive treatment and prevention guarantee in the business. As long as you keep your payments current and schedule yearly inspections, you will never have to pay for any extra visits that are required, or for any future damage to your home caused by termites.
Under this guarantee, there is no cap on what the company will pay for damage repair caused by termites.