Angie's LIST Guide to
Pest control services

A homeowner's guide to hiring an exterminator or pest control company to rid your home of insects or rodents.
 

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What is an exterminator?

An exterminator -- or pest control professional -- is trained in all facets of pest elimination, and uses a variety of methods to prevent future infestations from occurring. Independent exterminators are available in most areas, but most homeowners hire extermination companies to handle the work. While there are many viable do-it-yourself extermination products and methods on the market, it's often necessary to call in the professionals.

Humans have been fighting back against pests since the dawn of civilization. Pest control was mainly used to protect crops in ancient civilizations, but companies began offering the service to homeowners and businesses in the late 1800s. Since then, a wide range of household pest control products and extermination techniques have been developed.

Tools of the trade

Today, exterminators have an army of potential options for combating pests of all shapes and sizes. Different tools and methods work well against different pests, so it's important for an exterminator to have extensive training about all of the available methods.

Some of the most popular pest elimination methods include:

Traps – Both kill and no-kill traps are available. Traps are mostly effective against small infestations and are not designed for elimination of large pest populations. Variations include catch-and-release traps, spring-loaded traps (traditional mouse trap), sticky traps and electronic traps. Spring-loaded, electronic and multi-catch traps are most commonly used for rodents and snakes, while sticky traps are effective against a wide range of insects. Visual traps that use light to attract pests are effective against many types of insects as well.

Baited traps – This method involves placing poison bait in a “bait station” that permits a pest to enter. The idea is that the pest will consume the poison and then leave the area.

Poison Spray - Poisoned spray is ideal for situations in which pests are confined to a specific area. It is commonly used to exterminate insects.

Fumigation – Fumigation is the process of sealing off a structure and filling it with poison gases or pesticides. If it's feasible to seal off an entire house, this method can tackle large areas quickly and easily. It is used for everything from spiders to flying insects.

Hiring tips

It's better to preemptively hire an exterminator for regular inspections than it is to wait until there’s a problem. Unfortunately, pests don’t give warning in anticipation of a strike, so you never know when you will need the assistance of an exterminator.

Tips for hiring an exterminator:

In many states and jurisdictions, exterminators must be licensed. Check with your state pesticide agency to find out if this applies to your area. The exterminator may also be required to a hold a license to use certain pesticides or chemicals. Ask to see the exterminator’s license before making a hiring decision.

Look for a company whose employees are bonded, which means the company will reimburse you if damages are caused by its employees.

The exterminator should be able to design a specific plan to identify the types of pests that need to be controlled, the extent of the infestation, the best removal method and steps to lower the risk of future infestations.

A quality extermination company will have a strong track record. Check reviews on Angie’s List and ask your friends and relatives for recommendations.

Green & humane options

Like many homeowners, you may prefer to hire an exterminator who is willing to use eco-friendly or cruelty-free eradication methods. Many professional exterminators will be happy to offer these options upon request.

A few of the most common and popular elimination methods include:

No-kill traps - These types of traps confine pests to small areas and allow them to be released back into the wild at a later time.

Diatomaceous earth - Otherwise known as DE, this is a compound that is made up of algae skeletons. It kills insects by breaking down their waxy outermost layers.

Biological control agents - In some cases, predatory or parasitic insects like nematodes and mites can be used to eliminate pests.

Additional methods - Sometimes, very simple measures will help get pest infestations under control. Exclusion methods like window screens and weatherstrips often work well to plug gaps where pests enter the home. Regular cleaning will help to remove the food source that most pests seek. Habitat modification, which often involves the removal of weeds and plants from around the periphery of a home, will also limit pests.

Comments

i HAVE SEVERAL LARGE HOLES IN THE WOOD PLANK THAT GOES ACROSS THE FRONT OF MY HOUSE..THIS IS PLANK THAT THE GUTTERS ARE ATTACHED TO. LAST COUPLE DAYS I HAVE SEEN 2-4 BEES ON MY LIVING ROOM BLINDS AND IN THE WINDOW SILL THAT IS NEAR THIS PLANK OUTSIDE. I AM THINKING IF THESE BEES ARE INSIDE MY HOUSE THAT I MUST HAVE INFESTATION INSIDE MY HOUSE TOO, AND NOT JUST OUTSIDE ON THIS PLANK THAT HOLDS THE GUTTERS. i WANT TO GET A PEST CONTROL COMPANY TO COME OUT AND SEE THE PROBLEM AND WHAT I NEED TO DO TO GET RID OF THEM. I ALSO WANT TO KNOW IF I HAVE TO REPLACE THIS WHOLE PLANK OR CAN IT BE REPAIRED. OR IS IT BEST TO JUST REMOVE THE PLANK AND PUT UP A NEW ONE?

A long term, non-toxic solution to Carpenters:

Replace the facia board with a composite material that carpenter bees cannot bore int

You have carpenter bees, a pest control company will come out and dust the holes and the bees will dead by the next day.. after that fill the holes with wood puddy

I have fleas in My house and they are driving me crazy. I have fogged, sprayed and used home remedies and nothings working. Please help

Fleas usually enter your home on the pet. If your pet is not properly treated with medicine and continues to carry fleas all your effort may be in vain. Most Flea products carry an adultcide with little or new long term residual and hopefully I.G.R. or insect growth regulators. If your pet roams your yard consider areas that don't get alot of sun where shade is common. These are the outside areas you want to pay attention too. Control on pets is a huge key in success. Personally I have found the pill products to be more succesful (They don't wash off). A professional is always the best bet in controlling your inside population. Most companies have special programs just for Fleas or Ticks.

I had worked at a pizza restraunt that had closed down shortly after but when I was able to bring home some items from the store little did I know it had roaches of all sizes I guess in it.....sad to say but now my boyfriends mothers house now has them and I feel so guilty for leading them here I fear we all can get sick or worse it causes us not to be together anymore,.... Help me what should I do

You have transported German Roaches most likely. This Roach does not come from the outside. The German Roach is the most difficult roach to control. You can try "do it yourself" bait products specific to roach control but my advise is to hire a professional. Only 1 female can produce 30,000 offspring in a year. Sanitation plays an important role in control along with persistance in treatment intervals until they are all gone.

estimate for 4 units apt.

I have bed bugs and can't get rid of them . The brother stayed over one night and he didn't realize it until a few months later both their in my bed carpet cloths how can I get rid of them

are they ants because they are more common then spaiers and roosters also why bugs are in your house?

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