Exterminators: Delivering Peace of Mind to Homeowners

Yara Zakharia, Esq.

Naturally, for most Americans, the sight of a rodent crawling under the dinner table is the coup de grace prompting them to shriek with an air of horror and disgust "Call the exterminator!" However, other seemingly harmless creatures that invade the space humans call home can be equally-threatening and constitute a veritable nuisance. From noise pollution, scratches, and bites to unsightliness, food contamination and disease, structural pests disturb homeowners' peace and diminish their quality of life. Exterminators specialize in managing these unwelcome house guests by identifying the troublesome pests, carrying out home inspections, and crafting control strategies. They deploy an arsenal of pest control mechanisms to maintain their client's home in a bug-free state.

Common House Pests and Rodents

Most pest control companies offer termite control, wildlife removal services, and insect pest control, such as silverfish pest control. Some of the most commonly-encountered house pests that exterminators are capable of eliminating are as follows:

  • birds (i.e. pigeons)
  • mice
  • rats
  • squirrels
  • beetles
  • spiders
  • scorpions
  • flies
  • ants (i.e. Pharaoh ants, sugar ants, fire ants, household ants, carpenter ants)
  • bats
  • termites
  • bees (i.e. carpenter bees)
  • lice
  • ticks
  • fleas
  • cockroaches (i.e. Oriental roaches, German roaches)
  • raccoons
  • wasps/hornets

Exterminator Services

Most exterminators provide homeowners with a free inspection of the premises and a pest control quote. Upon surveying the property, the pest control technician will offer his or her prospective client an overview of the customized pest management plan, including 1) the pests to be targeted, 2) the severity of the infestation or problem, as well as the extent of damage to the structure itself, 3) a description of the chemical in the pesticide, 4) the various treatment options (type of pesticide and application method), 5) the non-chemical treatment alternatives, 6) the potential negative effects on health linked to the pesticide's active ingredient, 7) tips on preventing future pest issues, and 8) instructions on how to limit pesticide exposure. It is the client who ultimately decides the form of pest control to be utilized.

On the day of the initial service, exterminators conduct spot treatment as well as preventative treatment both inside and outside the property aimed at keeping pests at bay. Thereafter, the pest control professionals conduct periodic treatments of the home pursuant to the service plan. An increasingly popular technique employed by exterminators is integrated pest management, which consists of 1) the setting-up of physical barriers at different entry points around and inside the property, 2) the utilization of baits which prevent pests from breeding or annihilate them, and 3) the placement of traps to eliminate the creatures. Exterminators may choose from a wide array of pesticides ranging from dust powders and sprays to bait. Generally, two kinds of pesticides are utilized: 1) general-use pesticides, which are the most frequently-used and 2) restricted-use pesticides, which are intended for infestations of the most serious kind.

What To Expect from Exterminators and Pest Control Companies

Customers will find that many exterminators offer safe and effective, environmentally-friendly or green products that reduce the quantity of chemical inside their home and that do not damage their lawn, flowers, and soil. Some of the most commonly-performed tasks by exterminators are as follows:

  1. Applying traps and rodenticides at all points of entry
  2. Placing traps to eliminate vermin and pests
  3. Setting up poisonous bait or paste in key areas
  4. Installing chimney caps to shut out animals
  5. Preventing nesting in attics, sheds, and decks by sealing well the perimeters
  6. Protecting homeowners from fire ants year-round by tackling each mound individually and applying granular treatments throughout the yard as a preventative measure
  7. Trapping and removing wildlife such as moles, chipmunks, raccoons, opossums, skunks, and squirrels
  8. Eradicating different types of termites (i.e. subterranean, damp wood, dry wood) and preventing further entry and infestation by applying traditional liquid treatments or placing termite baiting stations in the soil surrounding the home
  9. Removing wood-decaying fungus and powder post beetles
  10. Repairing damage (i.e. wood treatments) resulting from termite infestation

Exterminators offer their services on an annual, semi-annual, quarterly, or monthly basis. Many pest control programs focus on a home's interior or exterior (i.e. lawn treatment) or

provide treatment for both the inside and outside of the property. Consumers can find numerous pest control companies that offer emergency services 24/7. Before soliciting the services of a pest control contractor, consumers should 1) ensure that its technician's license is current (if the state has licensure requirements) and 2) find out whether damage or loss attributed to the employee is reimbursed by the company (i.e. whether the employee is bonded).

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