Most homeowners experience a problem with pests at some point. Finding nuisance insects, rodents, or other bugs or critters in your home can be disturbing, and it is natural to want to get rid of them as soon as possible. However, while a pest problem needs to be addressed quickly, you shouldn't call the first company you find in the phone book.
It takes time for pests to cause extensive damage. Mice can reproduce quickly, but their gestation period is 21 days. You have a few days in which to do your due diligence and find a knowledgeable pest control company with a good reputation, such as Bug Ninjas. It is crucial to find a company you can trust. Otherwise, the treatment could be ineffective at best or harmful to you or the environment at worst.
What Do You Need To Do When Looking for a Pest Control Company?
Due diligence is vital when you are looking for a pest control company, but what exactly does that mean? Take the time to investigate several companies fully to make sure that the one you ultimately choose can perform an effective treatment while keeping you and your family safe from harmful exposure to toxic chemicals.
You should look into several companies before making your final decision, and here are some things you should keep in mind as part of the process.
1. Look for Pest Control Companies That Provide Integrated Pest Management
Integrated Pest Management is a common-sense approach to pest control based on scientific principles. It is the safest method, the method that is best for the environment, and also the method that is most effective against pests.
IPM involves identifying the pest as specifically as possible and tailoring an approach toward control based on identification. It calls for learning as much as possible about each pest and using that information to formulate a plan for control that will be most effective. Following IPM, professionals identify all the options available for control and start by using the least toxic methods available first in a systematic approach. Only if the initial method is not effective does an IPM technician move on to more toxic options. IPM limits exposure to chemicals by only applying the treatments where they are needed.
2. Understand the Different Pest Control Categories
Not all pest control companies are equipped to handle every type of pest. Some are more specialized while others work more generally. General household pest control can handle most of the nuisance species that you may encounter in your home, such as bed bugs, rodents, and mosquitoes. Some pests, such as termites, require more specialized methods and therefore a different category of pest control. Before you hire a pest control company, make sure that it provides the type of service you need. Bug Ninja provides termite control as well as more general services.
3. Find Out About the Legal Requirements
Every pest control professional has to comply with federal and state regulations on the industry, and sometimes with local requirements as well. Every state has its own laws governing pest control companies, so the requirements vary. However, it is a standard requirement that the company has to be licensed in the state in which it operates, as Bug Ninja is licensed in Louisiana.
You don't have to take a company's word that it is licensed. In the state of Louisiana, you can verify this information with the state Department of Agriculture and Forestry. A representative of the company should also be able to show you documentation as well.
4. Confirm Insurance Coverage
You should also find out about the insurance coverage the company has for its technicians. It should have general liability insurance to cover you in the event that the technician makes a mistake, and workers' compensation insurance to protect you from liability in the event that a technician is injured while working on your property. It is reasonable to ask for proof on paper that a pest control company has adequate insurance.
5. Find Out About the Company's Reputation
Chances are good that you know other homeowners, such as friends and family members, who have had to hire pest control professionals such as Bug Ninja in the past. You can ask them to recommend a company with which they had a good experience. You can also investigate whether there have been any complaints about a company by making inquiries to the state pesticide regulatory agency or third-party organizations such as the Better Business Bureau.
6. Make Sure the Company Has a Working Phone Number
Unfortunately, there are some fraudulent pest control companies operating in the United States. Once you get ready to start calling companies to arrange interviews, you may find that some do not have phone numbers listed, or the phone number list does not work. If you find any of these, stay away from them as they are probably fraudulent. When you do get ahold of a pest control company by phone, ask for its physical address. If you cannot verify its location, that is a red flag, and you should not communicate with the company any further.
7. Interview up to Five Pest Control Companies
When you have narrowed down the list of candidates to around three to five companies, you should conduct interviews with them face to face. During the interview, there are important questions that you should ask:
During the interview, ask for references, which you should follow up on as soon as possible. You should be able to receive a free estimate of the cost to treat your home from each pest control company during the interview.
8. Inspect Company Vehicles
When you are interviewing pest control companies, you should take a look at their vehicles. In Louisiana, it is acceptable to use a removable sign on the vehicle, such as a magnetic sign. However, an unmarked vehicle is a red flag for a fraudulent company. Not only should the vehicles be clearly marked with the name of the company, but the pesticide containers should be labeled clearly with their contents. The containers should be secure, the equipment should be well organized, and the vehicle itself should be well-maintained and clean.
What Should You Expect a Pest Control Company To Do?
What you can expect from pest control pros varies depending on whether you choose one that performs Integrated Pest Management. Assuming that you hire an IPM company, such as Bug Ninja, you can expect these steps to deal with your problem.
1. Identify the Specific Pest
IPM is based on learning as much as possible about each specific type of pests, including its life cycle, needs, and habits. A pest control company that practices IPM should be able to not only identify the pest but explain the risks that it poses to you and your property and present options for resolving the issue.
2. Perform an Inspection
Effective pest control involves not only identifying the type of pests you have in your home but also where they are hiding and how many of them there are. To do this, a technician must perform a thorough inspection of your home that involves looking around, behind, under, and on top of areas that are likely to be infested. They are looking not only for current nests but also entry points. IPM involves preventing further inspections by identifying and sealing these entry points.
3. Explain Safety Measures
The chemicals used in pest control can be dangerous. The company should be able to explain the safety measures it has in place to prevent unnecessary exposure and reduce risks to the environment. You should ask questions about how the pesticides are applied and whether you have to clean up the residue, which is rare with an IPM approach.
By law, the company should be able to provide you with material safety data sheets and product labels for the pesticides used upon your request. If you do request them, you should review them.
4. Provide a Written Quote
A pest control company should quote you a price for services in writing. The written quote should be itemized with prices for all the services performed as part of the treatment.
5. Explain the Terms of the Contract
You will be asked to sign a contract before the treatment can take place. You have a responsibility to read the entire contract before signing it and to make sure you understand it. If there are any terms that are unclear, you should ask about them, and the company should be able to explain them to you in a way that you can comprehend.
6. Comply With the Law
You can expect a pest control company to comply with applicable laws even if it means not doing exactly what you want. For example, a technician cannot just "spray everything" merely because that's what you ask of them. That would be a violation of the constraints imposed on pest control companies by law.
7. Show You the Damage or Signs of Infestation
A pest control company should be able to show you the signs of infestation and the damage that has been done to your property. If you do not understand what you are seeing, you should be able to receive an explanation upon request.
8. Have Qualified Personnel Perform the Inspection and Application
The people who perform the inspection of your property and the application of the treatment should be qualified to do their jobs. Just bear in mind that the same person doesn't always do both. The one doing the inspection may be a salesperson with the company, while a technician may perform the actual application.
9. Communicate Effectively
A pest control company should be able to explain to you things like contract terms, pricing, and instructions that you have to follow prior to the treatment. For example, you may be asked to leave the premises during the application or not to allow pets in the area. You may have to move furniture out of the way so that the technician has access or dispose of food to prevent contamination. The company should be able to communicate these requirements to you clearly well before the treatment takes place.
However, effective communication also involves listening to your concerns and taking them into consideration. Remember that taking your concerns into consideration is not the same as doing whatever you want without regard for applicable laws.
Pay attention to your feelings when you are communicating with representatives of the company. If you feel that you are being rushed or pressured, or that you are not being listened to or shown the proper respect, this is a red flag that the company may not be trustworthy. In that case, you should cut off contact with the company immediately.
10. Make Suggestions To Prevent Future Infestations
In addition to identifying and sealing entry points, a pest control company should be able to suggest home maintenance steps you can take to prevent future infestations. For example, clutter inside and out provides cover where nuisance species can hide. Allowing standing water on your property or irrigation that moistens the walls can create conditions conducive to pest breeding and infestation. Allowing the branches of trees and shrubs to touch walls and windows provides a bridge of sorts for pests to access the building.
The professionals may also suggest ongoing inspections and treatments to prevent future infestations. This is part of Integrated Pest Management.
Bug Ninja is a pest control company providing services in Baton Rouge that takes an Integrated Pest Management approach. Contact us today for more information.
Exterminating Fleas 101
Whether you own pets or not, there’s always a chance of an indoor pest problem in your home at any time of year. You might think that fleas are only an issue during the warmest months of the year, but especially in the South these parasites are a year-round problem. If you suspect you have a flea problem at home, you shouldn’t wait around and hope the situation resolves itself — you need to take quick action. Here’s a brief guide to exterminating fleas so you can get rid of these troublesome pests for good.
Detect the Presence of Fleas
Are you wondering if you have a flea problem at home? The first thing you should do is jump into detective mode. There are some obvious signs to look for, especially if you have pets. If your dog or cat is scratching like crazy and you hear them whining or groaning, they likely have fleas.
You may even see fleas on your short fiber carpets or hardwood floors. If you spot a single insect, there are likely many more, so you need to spring into action to prevent a full-blown infestation from occurring in your home. Don’t hesitate to call an exterminator immediately.
Check Your Pets Before Exterminating Fleas
If you have fleas on your pets, that means the bugs are inside your home, whether it’s the pests themselves or their eggs or larva. Grab a flea comb, a cup of soapy water and dry paper towels to physically check your pets for fleas. It’s best to use slow, gentle strokes to see if any bugs are getting caught in the comb’s teeth.
As you encounter fleas on your pets, drown them in the soapy water and keep combing. You should also invest in a veterinarian-approved flea and tick shampoo. It’s best to keep shampooing pets every week until you’ve eliminated every trace of the parasites from both your pets and your entire house.
Clean Your House
If you’ve found fleas on your pet or on yourself, they are probably inside your home, too. A deep cleaning can help. Take time to dust wood furniture and thoroughly wipe down all other surfaces. Wash all bedding, throws, curtains and other fabrics.
One of the best things you can do to remove fleas and flea eggs from your home is to run the vacuum over your floors, whether hardwood or carpet. Vacuum your floors several times and make sure to use the wand extension to get into cracks and corners where insects could be hiding. Be thorough and vacuum all sliding door tracks and windowsills.
Call an Expert at Exterminating FleasIf you detect fleas, whether in your home, on pets or even on your own body, you need to call an exterminator right away. The presence of one flea signals the presence of many more, so extermination is the only option for preventing a full-blown infestation.
When it comes to exterminating fleas, Bug Ninja is the name to call. If you want to get rid of pests in a hurry and make sure they don’t come back, contact us today.
7 Signs of Drywood Termites
Drywood termites are found around the world throughout the tropics. They consume dry wood and are often found in residential roof materials and within the wooden wall supports of homes and other buildings. These termites can also infest any dead wood that you have lying around near your home.
Though termites are small, they can cause as much as $5 billion in property damage every year (in just the United States!) That’s a lot of damage. Unfortunately, since they’re so small, termites are often overlooked until they create a full-blown infestation and do a lot of hidden structural damage to your home or commercial building. That’s why it’s so important to learn how to spot signs of drywood termites in and around your property.
Look for These Signs of Drywood TermitesWhen you know how to recognize signs of a termite infestation, you can quickly take action to get rid of the problem before significant damage is caused by the little pests. If your area is prone to termite infestations, it’s important to inspect your home or commercial building regularly. Look for these seven common signs of drywood termites.
1. Flying Termites
One obvious sign of a termite infestation is the visible presence of flying termites. Winged termites can be both males and females, and they’re responsible for leaving their nests to establish new colonies. So if you see any flying termites on your property, watch out! They’re most likely looking for a new home, and you don’t want it to be yours!
2. Small Bugs That Look Like White Ants
Some people see drywood termites but think they are small, white ants. If you see white or cream-colored “ants” near your home or commercial building, you may have a termite infestation. Termites sometimes look transparent. They also have straight antennae instead of the curved antennae of ants. Termites are also much thicker through the waist area than ants. Finally, there are no species of white ants, so any white ant-like bug you see is likely a termite.
3. Termite Droppings
Drywood termites leave droppings (called frass) behind. This is one of the most common indications of a termite infestation. As the termites consume wood, they create fecal matter. To dispose of this fecal matter, they push it out of the tunnels they make in wood. The feces pile up outside the termite nests and can be easily spotted if you know what you’re looking at.
The droppings left by drywood termites are very fine. Many people mistake them for sawdust. But if you haven’t been sawing anything in your home or office building, there is no reason for there to be sawdust inside. If you see it unexpectedly, look around for telltale signs of termite burrows. These could be tiny holes in your wood paneling or any other wood structures. Often, there is a dark powdery substance left directly around the outside of termite holes.
4. Hollow Wood
Termites like to consume the inside portions of wood while leaving the outside portions somewhat intact. So if you’re trying to find out if you have drywood termites on your property, look for branches, logs and other pieces of wood that are hollow on the inside. Hollowed-out wood is very lightweight and may feel or look papery. Termites also use the same eating pattern to consume the inside portion of chair legs, bedposts and other types of wood furniture.
Some common horror stories involving termites include accidentally pressing a finger right through a termite-consumed door frame or lightly bumping a skirting board with a vacuum cleaner and breaking right through the board due to termite damage.
5. Fallen Termite Wings
Even if you don’t actually see termites flying around your house or building, you may notice fallen termite wings. Discarded wings are a sign of a serious infestation. Soon after finding a mate, swarmer termites lose their wings. So if you see fallen termite wings, it means there are termites on your property that are getting ready to start a new colony (if they haven’t started one already). This is the time to schedule pest control services without delay.
6. Clicking Noises in Your Walls
One of the most annoying signs of drywood termites is clicking sounds in your walls at night. These noises occur when the termites bang their heads against the wood to warn the colony of danger. Clicking noises can also be caused by termites simply shaking their bodies. And of course, the chewing sounds termites make as they consume the wood in your home or building can be quite loud when it’s multiplied by hundreds or thousands of little bodies.
If you hear unusual clicking sounds coming from your walls, press your ear against the wall and listen closely. You’ll soon be able to tell if the sounds are really coming from inside your walls or from somewhere else.
7. Doors That Are Hard To Open
As drywood termites eat through the wood of your doors, warping is a common result. Warped doors tend to become stiff when they’re closing or opening. Termites also create a lot of moisture within wood as they consume it. It’s easy to confuse this damage with damp weather, but take a closer look to rule out a termite infestation. You may also discover that your wood window frames are harder to open or close when you’re dealing with a termite infestation.
Schedule Your Pest Service for Drywood TermitesIf you have any of the above signs of drywood termites, it’s essential to do something about it as quickly as possible. Termites can multiply at an alarming rate. They are also voracious eaters and can quickly consume massive amounts of wood within your home or office building. Many homeowners discover (too late) how serious a “small” termite problem can quickly become.
To protect the structure of your home or building while also protecting your bank account, look for signs of termite problems regularly. If you are ever suspicious of termites, contact Bug Ninja at your earliest convenience. We’ll get you scheduled for our leading pest control services as soon as possible so you no longer have to worry about the damage drywood termites are causing to your property.
Pests are a huge problem in homes and other types of buildings throughout the United States. According to the United States Census Bureau, residents of 14.8 million housing units reported rodent sightings within the last 12 months. A typical home often has many different species of insects living in it, but homeowners may not always be aware of their presence. If you have ever dealt with insects or other pests, you may be able to make your home a less hospitable place for them to dwell. Insulation and pest control are more closely related than many homeowners realize. Here’s what you need to know about the two.
How Pests Get Into Your Home
Like criminals, pests often look for easy opportunities to get into your home. Homes with structural issues are more likely to become infested than those that are well-sealed and structurally sound. But even still, it’s possible for bugs and pests to get into your house when you let the dog out to go to the bathroom, when the kids run outside and forget to shut the door behind them, or when you unknowingly carry a spider inside on the back of your jacket.
Pests can also get into your home through exhaust fans and dryer vents, small cracks or holes in your siding, or through the tiniest access points in your exterior foundation. If you have a natural Christmas tree every year, you’re probably bringing a lot of little bugs into your house that are hidden away in the tree. Some homeowners are surprised to learn of the link between insulation and pest control. The right kind of insulation in the right amounts can deter pests from entering your home.
There are so many ways pests can get into your house that you should expect to see some occasionally. Depending on the type of pest you’re dealing with, you may be able to quickly kill it and be done with it. But chances are, if you see one pest, there are probably others hiding more successfully in your home.
Signs of a Pest Infestation
Seeing an occasional spider isn’t typically something to be alarmed about. But if you develop a pest infestation of any kind, it’s very important to schedule pest control services to come take care of the problem. An infestation isn’t likely to resolve on its own, and depending on the types of pests infesting your home, they could cause extensive damage. Insulation and pest control may help minimize the damage pests do in your home.
To figure out if you’re dealing with a pest infestation, look for these common signs:
Additional indications of a pest infestation include tapping, scurrying or other strange noises (especially at night or when things are quiet). If these signs are very apparent, you’re likely dealing with a pest infestation that should be addressed before it becomes even worse. You may also want to look into insulation and pest control.
Most Common Home PestsThe most common types of home pests in Louisiana and other parts of the United States include:
Not all of these pests are capable of producing the same level of damage (for example, millipedes are unlikely to cause structural damage to your house but mice are capable of chewing through walls, wires and other important parts of your home). However, they are all an annoyance and don’t belong inside your home. Some can also cause a variety of health issues to you, your kids and your pets.
The Link Between Insulation and Pest Control
It may seem strange, but insulation can help combat pests in your home. Adding insulation won’t get rid of a current infestation (you’ll need to call a professional pest management service for that), but it can help you deter future pests from choosing your home as a living destination.
Spray foam insulation is a unique type of insulation that helps create air-tight reinforcements to the most vulnerable areas of your house (including around door and window sills). Some insulation is also commonly called pest control insulation because it is so effective at keeping pests out. Insulation and pest control are two great tactics you can use to keep your residence and the surrounding property free from unwanted pests such as rodents and insects.
Spray foam insulation can also improve the energy efficiency of your home by slowing down airflow. It is dense enough to keep air from flowing into and out of your house, which means your HVAC system won’t have to work as hard to keep your home at your specified temperature. If saving money while simultaneously making it harder for pests to get inside sounds appealing to you, it may be time to learn more about pest control insulation.
Some types of pest control insulation also degrade more slowly than typical fiberglass insulation, which means it will last longer and you can go longer before you need to enhance or replace it. Ultimately, this means lower costs for you as a homeowner. Some types of pest control insulation even contain borates, which are present in nature and are poisonous to insects. Borates are safe for humans and can provide additional pest control to give you peace of mind in your own home.
Use Insulation and Pest Control to Combat Your Pest Problem
When combined, insulation and pest control can help you finally get rid of unwanted pests that are infesting your home and property. They can also help you take care of minor pest problems before they become bigger issues.
If you have any signs of pests, Bug Ninja Pest Control can help you get rid of them. Contact us today to learn more about our pest control services or to schedule your pest control appointment.
I really enjoy researching and writing about pests. The more we know about bugs, the easier it becomes to control them.