If you have ever seen someone wildly contorting their body, swatting in the air, arms flapping about while they attempt to put an end to a dive-bombing flying insect, it is truly a site to behold. People don’t like bugs and can lose all sense of control when one lands on them. It is why many of us will dispense an entire can of bug spray on a single insect when a simple squirt will do the trick. Never mind that only about one percent of insect species can hurt you or destroy your property, we want bugs gone and out of our life.
When the pest problem in your home gets too big for a flyswatter, or a do-it-yourself spray or trap, it’s time to call in a professional service. Take the time needed to select a reputable business, and make sure you’re doing business with someone you trust. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) annually receives thousands of inquiries and complaints on the pest control industry. To make certain you are not left with more than just the insects as a point of annoyance in your life, the BBB and the National Pest Management Association recommend that you heed the following advice before signing a contract.
Check the Pest Controller out. Always check the company’s BBB Business Review and BBB Rating at www.mybbb.org.Find out if the company is a member of a professional pest control industry association or if they are a BBB Accredited Business. You can also ask friends and neighbors to recommend pest control companies they have used successfully and how satisfied they were with the service.
Always deal with an insured, qualified and licensed pest management company. Ask to see the license or other credentials of the pest control professional that comes to solve your pest problem. Find out if the pest control company has liability insurance.
Don’t rush. If a sizable amount of money is involved, get bids from several pest management companies. Since you are paying for professional knowledge as well as skillful application, look for someone whose judgment you can trust.
Understand before you sign. Before signing a contract be sure to fully understand the nature of the household pest to be exterminated, the extent of the infestation, and the work necessary to solve the problem. If a guarantee is given, know what it covers, how long it lasts, what you must do to keep it in force, and what kind of continuing control, prevention and management are necessary. Ask for a written inspection report, with an itemization of charges, if a pest treatment is recommended. If pesticides are being used, make certain to understand the toxic effects, if any. Your safety concerns (allergies, age of household members, pets) should be noted in the contract and reflected in the choice of pesticide that is used.
Don’t fall for high-pressure sales tactics. Buy value, not price. Beware of companies that offer bargains that sound too good to be true. Be wary of companies that come to your home uninvited and offer to give your house a free inspection for pests. They may try to scare you into authorizing immediate and costly treatments.
(Edward Johnson is president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau
serving eastern and northeast Pa.)