Pest control is a very broad term that refers to services that help homeowners with all types of unwanted animals and insects.

In a nutshell, pest control is a term referring to the management or eradication of unwanted animals, pests, bugs and insects from residential or commercial properties.

Their list of services include:

  1. Inspection of properties for pests
  2. Determining effective pest control treatments
  3. Conduct infestation treatments
  4. Project from seasonal pest tendencies

Right from their definition, the role of pest control companies or exterminators is to control pests in any environment. Some of the tasks most of them deal with include:

Inspection of properties for pests

Like in most other services, inspection is the one service every pest control company handles.

Whether you have an infestation of rats, bed bugs, or roaches, a pest control company has exterminators who should be able to determine the source of your infestation and how bad the problem is.

Some of the questions an inspector may ask you include:

  • What type of pest did you see?
  • Where did you see the pest?
  • Do you have an idea of their entry points?
  • Where is the damage?

Note: Most companies offer a free inspection for pest infestations in the country.

Therefore, it’s always advisable to seek inspections from several companies before hiring your exterminator.

What is pest control

Determining effective pest control treatments

Once a pest control company has completed inspections, their next step is determining the right treatment for your home.

The treatments are all different depending on the pest in your home, yard, or office.

So for instance, if you have a rodent problem, an exterminator will advise you whether you should opt to set traps or use chemical treatments.

If you have bedbugs, the exterminator determines whether you should use heat treatments or chemical solutions.

This role is very important because most pests have developed resistance to many chemicals used in pest treatments today.

Therefore, pest control companies have to keep tabs on all the research and developments happening in the field of pest control treatments.

Conduct infestation treatments

Although an exterminator can recommend a DIY treatment that you can do, they’re always available to conduct the treatment.

The companies have the experience and the right equipment to handle the treatments quickly and more effectively.

Everything from fumigation, to setting rodent traps, to handling the chemical treatments and poisons, the experts will deal with it.

Project seasonal pest tendencies

Just like meteorologists, most pest control companies tend to forecast pest infestations depending on the environmental conditions.

For instance, rodents like rats and mice tend to resurface during the colder seasons like winter as they look for food and warmth.

On the other hand, insects like carpenter ants, flies, and yellow jackets become a problem during the warmer seasons.

Knowing and anticipating these infestations makes it easier for the exterminators to curate packages that would ensure a steady income stream throughout the years.

It also allows them to prepare the right chemicals and treatments required to eliminate any infestation and still alert you of preventive measures beforehand.

How often do you need pest control services?

Most pest control professionals recommend having a pest control technician at least once every three months or quarterly.

The reason for this is that nearly every pest control treatment loses its effectiveness after a few months.

Therefore, it’s more likely that your pest problem could be back sooner than you thought.

Having a pest control professional conduct regular inspections allows them to spot early indications of an infestation and stops them before they happen.

In cases of slippery pests like bedbugs, some exterminators recommend a bi-monthly treatment plan indefinitely.

But ultimately, how often you’ll require professional pest control services will depend on the type of pest, size of the affected area, your location, the weather, among other factors.

How often do you need pest control services

Does Pest Control Work?

In most cases, Yes! If you hire the right pest management professional, the results won’t disappoint you.

The professionals usually have the expertise and experience required in pest management to get rid of any insect that might be bothering you.

Other advantages of investing in pest control include:

Early detection and elimination of pests

Whether you have bedbugs, cockroaches, ants, spiders, termites, or rodents, a professional exterminator is able to identify the pests early and eliminate them before they can spread.

Use of the most efficient pesticides

After years of exposure to the same chemicals, many pests today have developed some resistance to chemicals used in pesticides.

That’s why you can notice a re-infestation just after completing extermination.

Pest control companies do their research and determine which chemicals have been the most successful within your area.

They also have access to many powerful pesticides which may not be available to the general public.

Protecting your health

The pesticides and chemicals used during most professional extermination jobs can pose severe health risks to anyone living in the house.

Allowing an expert handle the infestation protects you from coming in contact with any toxic or poisonous chemicals.

How Long Will It Take to Get Rid of Your Pest Problem?

There’s no definite period for the effectiveness of your pest control treatment.

The length often differs depending on the pest problems and the rate of infestation.

Most companies may spend anywhere from an hour to six hours on pest control treatment.

If the problem is severe, the pest control technicians may spend anywhere from a day to weeks for fumigation

Keep in mind that after the treatment is complete, the results won’t be immediate.

Different pests may take longer or shorter to die depending on their infestation and resistance.

Here’s a short summary of how fast the pests could die after extermination:

PestTreatment durationTime to die
Ants15 - 30 minutes2 - 3 weeks
Cockroaches15 - 30 minutes5 - 6 weeks
Termites4+ hours2 - 8 weeks
Bedbugs1.5 - 2 hours6 weeks
Rodents (rats and mice)Up to 15 hours3 - 4 weeks
Fleas 15 - 30 minutes3 - 4 weeks
Spiders15 - 30 minutes5 - 6 weeks

Pest Control Vs Exterminators

In the world of pest management, the terms pest control and exterminator are quite popular.

With most people using the terms interchangeably, it’s hard to think that there could be a difference between the two terms.

But there is.

An exterminator – refers to the professionals whose sole pest management strategy is to kill pests.

Pest control specialists – have multiple strategies on how to control each specific pest.

So for instance, for pest problems like termites or rats, an exterminator’s only priority will be to poison them or set bait stations.

For the same, pest control technicians will offer you several termite control options as well as rat control alternatives to choose from.

Here’s a summary of these differences.

Pest Control Specialists Versus Exterminators
 Exterminator Pest control specialists
Solutions end goalShort term - Looks to kill the pests Long term - Look for the most effective solution for each pest.
TreatmentsRely on pesticides and chemicals some of which could be harmful to humansFocus on the source and entry points of the pests and what could be attracting them. If chemicals are needed, they look for ones which are safe for you and your family
Concern for the environment Treatments may not be environmentally friendlyAlways work with green treatments, safe for humans and also protect the environment
EducationNot very informativeVery informative. Most of them sit down and explain the solutions they’ve planned
Qualifications and ExperienceSome exterminators didn’t go to school, just had an on the job trainingAll pest control companies require their specialists to have gone to be educated and certified

How to choose a pest control company

Since there’s never a one-size-fits-all solution for pest problems, you need to choose a pest control service that really understands your pest control needs.

Some of the markers to look for in a company include:

Check their licensing and certifications

Most states in the country today have a State Pesticide Regulatory Agency which issues pest control licenses to companies.

Although the licensing requirements are different for every state, this should be the first thing you look at.

You can verify the licenses at your state’s department of agriculture.

Go for experience

In an industry that deals with a lot of annoying bugs and toxic chemicals, experience is extremely valuable.

You want to hire a specialist who understands that specific pests require specific treatments.

Companies that have been in the industry longer than five years probably have dealt with your problem before and know what works and what doesn’t.

Confirm their insurance

In your background checks of the companies, check to confirm that the exterminator has an active insurance cover.

They should have at least a General liability cover as well as a Workman’s compensation cover.

To make sure the covers are active, ask the professional for their insurance number and contact the insurer to confirm.

Having these covers protects you and your family in case any accidents occur on the job.

Seek at least three quotes

This is the general rule when working with any specialist.

Always get at least three quotes before deciding which expert to go with.

The good thing about this is that most post control companies offer a free quote during the consultation.

Nevertheless, don’t be quick to go with the cheapest exterminator.

Always look at the details of everything covered in their estimate and ensure they use the most effective control methods.

Remember, cheap is expensive!

Ask questions

Asking questions will always get you answers to some of the things that a professional pest control service or an exterminator may be hiding from you.

Some of the best questions you should ask include:

  • What’s your treatment approach?
  • Are your exterminators in-house, or do you outsource?
  • Will you be using any toxic treatments e.g., poisonous baits, boric acid? Are the chemicals safe for humans, pets, and plants?
  • Do you monitor my house after the treatment?
  • Can you provide some references to some of your most recent clients?
  • Do I have to move out of the house during the treatment?

Can you get rid of pests by yourself

Yes, but not always. DIY pest management is possible depending on the type of pests and the intensity of the infestation.

If the pest infestation is relatively small-scale, it’s always cheaper and easier to do it yourself.

For instance, an ant infestation may just be caused by food left uncovered or unkept garbage.

By removing the food, the ants will leave without the need for you to use chemicals to eliminate them.

However, you still have to consider your knowledge of the pest, the risks involved to your family and pets (if you’re using chemicals) as well as the effectiveness of the treatments you use.

Keep in mind: Pests are constantly building resistance to most of the chemicals in use for treatment today.

Therefore, you might still have to contact a trusted pest control specialist and confirm that your DIY treatment will work.

FAQ’s

Yes! While they can be expensive, investing in a pest control service guarantees you that all the irritating and dangerous pests will be eliminated from your property quickly and effectively.

Doing this could also you a ton of money since the experts can detect an infestation early and stop it before it causes severe damage.

The general rule is usually once every three months. However, if you’ve recently had a pest control treatment, you’ll require a bi-monthly inspection for at least 6 months to ensure the pests are gone for good.

It depends on the pest and the extent of the infestation. Most people find it best to wait until early spring to spray their bugs and pests. This is because, during this time, most insect colonies are still small.

Nonetheless, there’s never a ‘best’ time for pest control. If you notice an infestation, contact a professional service to get rid of it immediately.

Ben McInerney
Author: Ben McInerney - Ben is a qualified arborist with 15 plus years of industry experience in Arboriculture. He ran a successful tree service before turning to writing and publishing. Ben is dedicated to providing users with the most accurate up-to-date information on everything trees.