Generally there are three types of pest-management professionals: commercial pest control professionals, wildlife management professionals, and extension/cooperative offices.
Pest Control Professionals
When you have a pest problem that simply won’t go away, consult a pest control professional. These services, such as Terminix® and Orkin®, specialize in particularly difficult problems with cockroaches, termites, carpenter ants, and bedbugs. In particular, if you have termites or carpenter ants, call at once, as these pests will cause severe structural damage if not handled properly and immediately.
Before You Call
If you live with family or roommates, ask them where and when they’ve seen the pests in question and whether they’ve noticed any damage. Gather as much information as you can, and organize all your findings before calling a pest control professional. A good pest management professional will ask you lots of preliminary questions, so be prepared.
When You Call
If you have multiple pest control services in your area, it’s a good idea to get quotes from all of them before choosing one. You may also want to contact your local extension service or commerce office to find out which pest control service has the best reputation. When you call a pest control service:
- Ask how much an inspection costs.
- Ask the company if it uses environmentally safe pest control techniques before using dangerous chemicals.
- Ask the company to send its most experienced control professional to your home. Less experienced workers can be careless and spray-happy.
Integrated Pest Management
Integrated pest management (IPM) is the practice of relying primarily on nonchemical, physical, and biological pest control techniques, using toxic chemicals only as a last resort. What comes into your home eventually ends up in your body, so it’s important to know that the company you’re dealing with isn’t charging you a premium simply to spray your house with carcinogens. Ask the company about IPM and what it means to them. If the representative can’t answer that question, try a different service.
Wildlife Management Professionals
Wildlife management professionals handle larger pests such as raccoons, opossums, and skunks. They are experts at trapping and relocation and often handle species that are protected by law.
Cooperative Extension Offices
Cooperative extension offices, run by universities and local governments, are good sources for advice about environmental issues such as pest control. Most extension offices are related to university biology or entomology departments in one way or another. In this respect, you can’t find a better authority on the subject of pests.