As residents of one of the ‘buggiest’ states in the U.S., Floridians are encouraged to schedule pest control treatments at least three times a year. This 7-minute article provides a crash course on how to ask the right questions and find the residential pest control expert that will give you the most value for your hard-earned money.
Pests are far more than flying, buzzing, scurrying annoyances that can infest your home. From disease-carrying mosquitoes, rats, and roaches to structure-damaging termites, ants, and beetles, left unchecked, they can cost cause hundreds and thousands of dollars in repairs, replacements, and worst of all, medical bills. According to the University of Florida, the state spends upwards of $160 million a year on mosquito control alone due to the risk they pose to public health.
This isn’t to say that every pest sighting is cause for alarm. While residential pest control services should leave you and your family well-protected, a stray ant trail or mosquito in your backyard may not be completely out of the ordinary, especially if you’re due for another professional treatment. However, if your home was recently treated and your pest problem has persisted or briefly improved then gotten worse, you may be looking at an untrained, unqualified service provider, or pest control scam.
With how critical residential pest control services are for persons living in North, Central, and South Florida, it’s important to watch out for fake companies that will try to take advantage of gaps in your knowledge to offer fraudulent services. This can be especially difficult when some hide behind legitimate licenses and appear to have all the right tools for the job.
But before you call it quits on finding a trusted pest control company and try to tackle any pest problems yourself, here’s our no-frills guide to avoiding cons and getting what you paid for.
When to Look for Professional Pest Control Services
If you’re reading this article, you’re probably in the market for pest control services due to an uptick in their numbers or a full-blown pest infestation. Residential control services are a must once a pest problem becomes too large, however, here are some key pointers about when to find an exterminator that can be helpful moving forward.
- When moving into a new home – Even if the previous owners were proactive in their pest control treatments and maintenance, it’s important to establish your own routine with zero delays. In some cases, when a house has been emptied for weeks or months prior to a sale, mosquitoes, rats, roaches, and other pests will have used the opportunity to nest and breed in any tall grass, standing water, or interior spaces. A professional pest control company will ensure you can move in with little to no issues.
- After building or renovation – In addition to pre-construction treatments recommended for termite control, once the finishing touches are on your new home or new addition, your next step should be to reach out to a reputable pest control company. They’ll be able to identify any points of vulnerability that pests can use to get inside and put preventative measures in place to reduce the chances of a future infestation.
- When your DIY treatments aren’t working – As we previously mentioned, not every pest sighting warrants an immediate call to the exterminator. If you’ve only spotted a few ants or a single bug, chances are that a safe store-bought or homemade solution will nip any sort of infestation in the bud. But if it’s been a few weeks, your treatments don’t seem to be working, and the problem is on the verge of becoming much bigger, contact a residential pest control provider as soon as possible.
- During the winter – Due to Florida’s mild winters, very few pests die off. Instead, their activity slows as they shift to conserving energy. If you had a huge pest problem disappear just before winter, you may be looking at a bigger infestation once spring rolls around. Don’t hesitate to contact pest control during the winter if you suspect this is the case.
- When people in the home suffer from allergies – If you or a family member are experiencing symptoms related to asthma or allergies, many times, pests and insects in the home are contributing factors. Common household pests are knows to trigger asthma and allergic reactions, so pest control can also be allergen control.
Benefits of Using a Professional Pest Control Provider
While some minor pest problems can be solved with DIY methods, the benefits of residential pest control extend far beyond extermination. The right pest control company provides multi-layered service, which includes:
- Pest detection – Not all pest problems are what they appear to be. While one carpenter ant or spider doesn’t signal an infestation, it is possible that they have been nesting and breeding somewhere in your home, and the problem has now gotten big enough for you to notice. Many pests are also attracted to the same areas, such as places that have mold and food sources, so the presence of rats means cockroaches may be scurrying somewhere nearby.
Regardless of the size of your issue, a professional exterminator can ensure there are no hidden surprises for you to deal with later on.
- Entry point analysis – There are numerous ways in which pests can enter the home. From windows and doors to pipes, vents, utility lines, and even trees and bushes that brush exterior walls, sometimes it takes a professional eye to catch a vulnerability you may have missed. Be sure to ask your pest control company about measures you can take to better seal your home.
- Cleanup – No one likes getting rid of dead pests, and in cases where their numbers are huge, or they may pose a health risk, it’s better to leave it to a professional. Exterminators are also better equipped to quickly eliminate and dispose of pests quickly, which is especially important when dealing with rodents. Many DIY solutions do not instantly get rid of their targets, giving mice and rats the opportunity to die in your vents and walls and create a putrid stench.
- Extermination and ongoing prevention – Combined with maintenance, effective residential pest control not only gets rid of your current pest problem, but it also creates a barrier against future infestation. The location and structure of your home may affect the recommended number of treatments and how long they last, but you should generally aim to have a visit once every three months.
Tips for Selecting a Reputable Pest Control Company
Now that you have a clearer grasp on the benefits of pest control services and when to secure them, here’s how to go about finding your provider. This is not an exhaustive list, so as a general rule, exercise sufficient skepticism for companies that do not look legitimate and don’t be afraid to ask questions and verify.
- Step 1: Search for local providers – Florida’s biodiversity and climate profile sets its pest problem apart from other states. As a result, local exterminators who operate in cities like Coral Springs, Parkland, Boca Raton, and Pembroke Pines will have a unique understanding of the pest issues plaguing residents in North, Central, and South Florida. This also has the added benefit of boosting your local economy.
- Step 2: Look for reviews – If a pest control company has provided consistently great service to other Floridians, they’ll most likely have ratings on Google, Facebook, and Yelp. Be sure to check what previous customers are saying, and if the company has reviews on its website, they should be linked to the appropriate social media – otherwise, they may be fake. In the same vein, be sure to leave a review after using a service, as you can help good pest control companies get more business and warn others away from poor providers.
- Step 3: Check for licensing and insurance – Pest control involves the application of chemical substances that can cause harm if not handled and applied properly. Licensing not only ensures your provider is trained in applying pesticides, but knows which pesticides are recommended for specific pest problems, and which are restricted depending on your area. Professional exterminators should also have insurance in case of unforeseen damage or injury as recommended by The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
- Step 4: Review their listed services – In addition to offering extermination services for your problem pest(s), great residential pest control companies should have integrated maintenance and pest management packages that help you protect your home year-round. With more customers requesting environmentally friendly solutions to their pest problems, pest control companies that offer these treatments are demonstrating a willingness to adapt to innovations that benefit their clients.
- Step 5: Consultations should be offered beforehand – No two pest problems are alike. An exterminator should not be coming to treat your property before understanding the issue, and they cannot do so without conducting an inspection. If a residential pest control provider shows up ready to spray before a conversation, it’s time to look elsewhere.
Warning Signs: How to Avoid Pest Control Scams in South Florida
As with any important and in-demand service, pest control is not immune to scammers collecting residents’ hard-earned money and delivering poor results or no results at all. As scams continue to grow more elaborate, you should always be on the lookout for red flags and stop communication if you feel uneasy. Here are some of the top warning signs to look for:
- Multiple technicians – One of the biggest pest control scams that allow companies to appear legitimate involves licensing and ensuring a single technician to do the inspections, then sending out an inexperienced person to spray the home. Generally, the pest control technician who does your inspection should be the one to treat your home, and if not, the new technician should conduct a walkthrough of their own beforehand.
- Unusual or no online presence – Some scammers will attempt to push their services door-to-door or over the phone, and do business exclusively through calls, emails, and in person. This makes it nearly impossible to track them if you pay upfront and they stop responding altogether. Beware of pest control companies without a website or reviews/recommendations, or a large number of recent, positive reviews that do not appear to be written by real people.
- Suspicious contracts – As a general rule, you should never sign a contract without reading it. If your contract includes services that were never discussed or locks you into a long-term/maintenance plan that you did not ask for, this is a major warning sign.
- Hidden fees and pricing – If your residential pest control company agrees upon an affordable price or complementary service, then surprises you with a much higher bill than expected once your treatment is complete, this may be a scam in action. Agree on the price and what you will receive before any work starts and get the terms in writing.
- ‘Green’ prices – While some pest control substances may be more environmentally friendly than others, there are, at the time of this article, no set regulations regarding which pest control treatments can be classified as ‘green’ under an official body. If you are being asked to pay unusually high prices for green pest control treatments, this could be a scam.
Your Professional Pest Control Provider Checklist
At this point in the article, you should have everything you need to find the right pest control professional for your home. We highly suggest going over the article and making a short checklist of all the points you want to remember. You can also bookmark this page and return to it at any time.
Have any further questions? Send us a message and one of our experts will get back to you within 48 hours.
The safest, most effective way to remove bugs, pests, and rodents from your Florida home is to get a full-service treatment from a professional pest control services provider.
Gregory’s Pest Control, based out of Coral Springs, Florida, has over thirty years of experience protecting families in Broward, Palm Beach, and other South Florida areas from infestations. We also have a barrier protection program to eliminate entry points and breeding areas, and an advanced maintenance service that sees one of GPC’s expert personnel returning for a checkup every 30-60 days.