The conventional wisdom is that pest control chemicals can be dangerous, especially if you have pets or children. Does that mean it’s smart to stay away from pest control services entirely?
It’s not a black or white question—we need to look more closely at the details. For example, some cleaning products use poisons that can harm people. Other cleaning products, like cleaning alcohol, may cause other problems like fires if they are handled improperly. These are just some of the safety issues that might come to mind.
Cleaning chemicals are just the tip of the iceberg. It also matters if they are used properly.
Professional Pest Control vs. Over the Counter Solutions: Which Is Right For You?
Depending on your experience and the extent of the problem, there are some pest control problems you can solve yourself. Other pest problems almost always require a professional pest control service provider. How do you decide when to seek outside help?
A. What Is The Size of the Pest Control Problem?
If you have a very small pest problem, like a small number of ants in one room, a do-it-yourself solution makes sense. You can buy a small trap, set it down, and hope for the best. Unfortunately, pest problems are often much larger than you first imagine. You might see evidence of bed bugs in one bedroom but not see that they have spread across your home. That’s why it is best to choose a professional pest control service to fully inspect your home.
B. What Is The Risk of the Pest Control Problem?
Some household pests represent a bigger problem than others. For example, a handful of fruit flies are a small problem. Throw out any rotten food, and you will be rid of the problem quickly. In other scenarios, there is a much greater risk of injury and harm from pests. Take the example of rats and wasps, for example. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you could end up getting strung or even getting an infection.
C. How Much Time Is Required To Eliminate The Pests?
For most homeowners, the time required to find and thoroughly eliminate pests is a top concern. To put the question in context, think about how long it takes to clean your home on the weekend. For a 2-bedroom home, a thorough cleaning can take 2 or 3 hours. If you have pests to eliminate, it can take much longer! You have to research which kind of pests you have, purchase the right chemicals, and then get down to work. Before you know it, you can lose most of a weekend in pest control work that may not even be effective.
It’s far simpler to hire a pest control service that can quickly find and eliminate all traces of household pests, both seen and unseen. However, hiring a pest control company does involve some uncertainty. How do you know if the control is going to do a good job? Let’s consider that question next.
Regulations on the Pest Control Industry
Since the pest control industry works with powerful chemicals, there are regulations to ensure high standards are maintained. Let’s take a look at how different areas regulate the industry.
New York - Certifications are offered for “commercial pesticide applicators, commercial pesticide technicians and private pesticide applicators.” Depending on the certification required, several years of work experience and mandatory training is required to work in the industry.
California - Administered by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, the industry is required to license staff and products. According to California law, a valid private applicator certificate is required to administer pesticides and similar products.
Florida - The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is accountable to regulate the industry. To work in the industry, technicians are required to meet a variety of requirements, including passing a pest control exam. You can also search for a public database to find out if a company or individual holds a current license.
Tip: To find out about pest control regulations in your area, do a Google search like this: “pest control regulations STATE” or “pest control laws STATE” (e.g., pest control regulations Michigan).
In addition to these regulations, many of the best pest control companies also pursue certifications to develop their skills further. When you are hiring a pest control company, take a few minutes to ask which certifications or training they have.
Taken together, these regulations protect the consumer by ensuring that pest control chemicals and products are used carefully. By hiring a properly licensed pest control company or individual, you will be exposed to minimal rest.
The Advancements in Green Pest Treatments You Need To Know About
If you’re worried that pest control services mean environmental destruction, pay attention. In the past few years, there has been a boom in green pest treatments. These new products significantly reduce the environmental impact of controlling common household pests. If you are concerned about protecting the environment, this section will equip you with good questions to ask.
1. Use non-toxic bait in traps
Instead of putting toxins or poison in traps, consider using non-toxic bait instead. For example, if
you are attempting to trap a rat, consider offering cheese or peanut butter as bait.
2. Use fatty acid soap
According to the NRDC, this type of soap is one of the least toxic ways to deter pests. To keep yourself safe, keep it away from your mouth and use gloves.
3. Consider using microbial insecticides and diatomaceous earth
Instead of using conventional toxic pesticides, look for other options. Some of the most popular green alternatives for pest control include microbial insecticides. This type of product is targeted specifically at removing pests and generally has minimal or no impact on people and animals. For outdoor pests, look into diatomaceous earth (“DE”) which is made from algae. DE tends to work best when it is applied early in the morning.
4. Look for green certifications
Asking about specific pest control products do get challenging. After all, you can’t expect to personally know every pesticide product on the market. Instead, you can simply ask a pest control company which green certifications they have. Some of the most popular options include EcoWise, GreenPro, and Green Shield. For example, the GreenPro program officially discourages harmful practices such as “Preventive pesticide applications that are based solely on the calendar.” A green approach to pest control requires rethinking old habits and only using powerful chemicals when there is a clear justification to do so and no other alternative.
5. Practice regular and thorough cleaning
One of the best ways to prevent pests is also the simplest: Clean thoroughly! If you leave crumbs, food, and other garbage out in the open, you are more likely to attract pests. Likewise, reviewing your windows and screens for cracks is another simple way to stop pests from entering your home. Improving your home’s defense against pests is a simple way to keep your pest risk under control.
What Can You Do to Prepare Your Home for a Pest Treatment?
To have the best pest control service experience, it is wise to take some time to prepare your home first. Use this section as a checklist to make the most of your pest treatment.
1. Ask the pest control company for suggestions
Before you do anything else, ask your pest control technician for suggestions on how you can prepare your home for their visit. For example, they may ask you to provide garbage bags or other items.
2) Make a plan for your family and pets
A curious toddler, cat, or dog wandering into pesticides is a scary thought! That’s why you should prepare to manage your pets and family in advance. You might ask your spouse to take the kids and pets on a trip for a weekend. Alternatively, moving everyone to the backyard for a few hours may be a good option as well.
Tip: If powerful pest control substances are going to be used, plan for this fact as well. You might need to temporarily block access to the area after treatment. Confirm with your pest control technician if this step is needed.
3) Complete an above average cleaning effort
Simply cleaning your home thoroughly is one of the best ways to prevent and reduce pest problems. If you have been too busy to thoroughly clean your home in the past few weeks, make a plan to do a thorough cleaning now.
4) Make your home and property easy to navigate
Clutter makes it hard for your pest control technician to do their work. If they are tripping over toys, clothes, and other items, your pest treatment will not be as effective.
As a homeowner, it is your responsibility to prevent pests and deal with these problems when they arise. Do it yourself methods such as thorough cleanings are an excellent way to reduce the chance of pests appearing. However, don’t waste your valuable time trying to get rid of vermin when they appear in force. Hire a certified pest control technician and let them handle the problem for you.