When it comes to pest control, prevention is crucial to a homeowner’s peace of mind. But once you’ve had an invasion, it may be time to call in the experts.
Pests are inevitable. Crawling in through the smallest openings, ants and other insects are looking for food and water. In the case of rodents, they’re seeking warmth. The single best prevention is to make them unwelcome. Keep kitchen surfaces clean, dishes washed and food packages tightly closed. Outside, don’t let water stand around the foundation of the house or in gutters and downspouts. Seal entry points. Make sure outside doors have good weather stripping, windows are caulked and weep holes have steel wool inserted with pesticide blown in. Don’t forget to keep pets current on their flea and tick prevention.
Is pest control a DIY job? Store-bought pesticides provide temporary prevention and control, but for long-term protection and with certain specialized infestations, a professional service is recommended. Similarly, most homeowners can likely handle mice removal, but invasions by raccoons, bats, squirrels and other wildlife require specialized services to capture and relocate them.
Whether using a professional service or doing it yourself, follow all safety guidelines regarding chemicals. So-called “green” pest control companies use natural plant oils toxic to pests, although your home may need retreatment more frequently.
Pest control companies typically will offer an agreement for an initial treatment with periodic maintenance treatments. These could be quarterly, three times a year or once a year. Professionals say this is necessary to maintain a pest-free home.
Two types of insects are more than a nuisance; they are destructive. Termites and carpenter ants can destroy the wood frame of your home. Carpenter ants chew to create a nest. Termites actually eat the wood. Eliminating these pests is never a do-it-yourself job. Get three estimates from reputable companies you have researched. All companies should offer to retreat at no charge if termites return in a certain period. Treatment is designed to last five years, but can vary based on the density of infestation. Many states require sellers to disclose any history of wood-destroying insects. You must document if you’ve had termites or carpenter ants and the treatment used.
Bees and bedbugs. If you have bees in a wall or the attic, hire a professional bee removal service. Bee populations are dropping worldwide so it’s especially important to relocate them. Bedbugs also require special handling. Eradication requires professionals who set up special heaters in your home, raising the temperature to 119 degrees for up to 90 minutes.