A reader: I’m having lots of problems with bugs this summer. I just found a flier on my porch recently with what looked like some really reasonable rates. I’ve always taken care of the maintenance myself but I’m beginning to think I really need to get some professional help. Any suggestions for finding a reliable pest control company?
Action Line: Weather can play a huge role in pest issues and many of us are experiencing “critters” where we haven’t previously. Don’t be tempted by a cheap price. You would be wise to look beyond the low price to find a responsible pest control professional.
First, check to make sure any company or individual you are considering is properly licensed. You can do this by checking with the BBB at www.bbb.org/ccie or by going to the Department of Consumer Affairs, Structural Pest Control Board (SPCB) website www.pestboard.ca.gov/
The SPCB licenses pest control operators and regulates the application of pesticides and services related to general household and industrial pest control, and termites and other wood destroying organisms. The Cal-EPA, Department of Pesticide Regulation licenses and regulates the practice of pest control in non-structural areas, such as food production and ornamental pest control.
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Before you make a decision, talk to your neighbors and friends. It's quite likely that someone you know has encountered a pest problem before and has a reputable firm to recommend. Inquire about the type of pest problem and how satisfied they were with the service.
Ask what types of chemicals are used. Discuss any allergies, breathing ailments or health conditions that may be affected by the process and what you need to do to protect you and your family. Remember to also ask if there are any health hazards or dangers for your pets.
Reach a complete understanding with the company before work starts. Find out what the pest problem is and how it will be treated. It might be a good idea to get the treatment plan and period in writing as well as what you can expect as a result. Are you looking for a one-time service or are you expecting monthly service?
Read the guarantee. Many companies offer them. But there are limitations. So be sure you fully understand what the company is offering.
Consider value, not price. What you think looks like a great deal may need a second look. A higher price may come with better service or more frequent visits. Pest management plays a major role in living healthier, more comfortable lives.
An untrained consumer might simply purchase a less expensive over-the-counter pesticide yet lack the proper knowledge on actual application. The professional pest management technician relies on training, expertise and more sophisticated techniques to apply industry-approved pesticides in our environment in a conscientious manner.
For more tips on pest control go to www.bbb.org/ccie
Action Line is written by Blair Looney, president and CEO for the Better Business Bureau serving Central California. Send your consumer concerns, questions and problems to Action Line at the Better Business Bureau, 2600 W. Shaw Lane, Fresno, CA 93711 or firstname.lastname@example.org.