Selecting the Best Pest Control Service

- Choose carefully, and use only when really needed -

Summary: Our aim is to support DIY pest control around your home and garden whenever possible but there are a few situations that should only be handled by professionals. Consider the following points when evaluating and hiring pest control companies to get the best possible outcome.

Jack DeAngelis, PhD
OSU Ext. Entomologist (ret.)

DIY or professional pest control?

There are a few pest control situations that should never be attempted by the average homeowner (see Which Pest Control Situations Are DIY?). There are also some homeowners that simply do not want to get their hands dirty and would rather hire pest control services for even simple jobs. So, here are a few things to consider when selecting a pest control service company.

You can also choose between relatively small local companies and the large national firms. The choice usually comes down to cost versus job complexity (see Local vs. National Pest Control Companies). So, make a list of every company in the phone book and consider the following 5 "rules" when you contact them:

fumigation tent
House tented in plastic sheeting prior to fumigation.

Five "rules" for selecting a pest control company:

(1) Select a company based on their reputation, time in the community and willingness to answer your questions. The last point is especially important. You should be given a written proposal that describes the pest problem in detail and how it will be treated including what insecticides will be used and in what amounts.

(2) Companies differ in the range of pest situations that they routinely handle. This is especially true for less common pests, like bed bugs, or situations that require specialized equipment like some termite applications and structure fumigation. Ask if they have experience with the pest control situation for which you need service.

(3) Do not select a pest control company based on price alone, an advertisement in the phone book or the "deal of the week". Be cautious of unsolicited sales pitches and never select treatment just because your neighbor's property is being treated or because there is "leftover spray from another job". Ask for references and check them!

(4) Don't be pressured into an immediate decision. No pest situation requires immediate treatment. Most of the time a delay of a few days or weeks won't make any difference. Take time to gather information and make a good decision.

(5) Be cautious of claims of "secret formulations" or negative comments about competitors. If someone tells you they have special materials that no one else has, your "bs detector" should go off! Also be cautious of claims of endorsement by local government or university personnel as these folks are not permitted to make specific recommendations about companies or products.

More pest control suggestions

  • There's no reason to treat outdoors for insects during the winter months since insects are inactive when it is cold - warm, tropical climates may be an exception.

  • An adult should be at home when pest control treatments are done to answer questions about the property.

  • Maintenance treatments, often suggested for intervals of 1-3 months, are not needed. In certain specific cases, such as Formosan termite control in tropical climates where pest pressure and damage potential are especially high, repeat treatments may be justified.

  • Tenting and fumigation of residential structures is almost never necessary for pests other than drywood termites. Fumigation is sometimes appropriate for commercial structures like warehouses, however.

Don't forget to bookmark us for next time - press ctrl-D in most browsers.

Mission: To provide accurate, up-to-date and unbiased information for solving common insect and mite problems around your home, business and landscape using least-toxic methods.

Please see the Disclaimer statements as well.

Copyright © 2004-... LivingWithBugs, LLC. All rights reserved.