Tips for a Pest-Free Home

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Mosquitoes, fire ants and mice are a few of the unwelcome critters that homeowners are dealing with in the summer. When your pest problem gets too big for a flyswatter, it may be time to call in a professional service, according to Better Business Bureau serving New England.

Having a pest problem is a pain. Just ask Sam. Those noises he heard in his attic weren’t only noises — it was a colony of bats taking refuge from the heat and in turn, setting up camp in his house.  He never imagined his fairly new home could be infested. It wasn’t until a bat flew through his kitchen that he knew something was definitely “up.” Thankfully, Sam found a reputable business with positive customer reviews on bbb.org. They were knowledgeable in evacuating “uninvited guests” and his home is now a no-fly zone.

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A common harmless garter snake found in Massachusetts (Photo: India New England News)

In 2015, more than 1 million people turned to Better Business Bureau for information on pest control services. Better Business Bureau also received 3,178 complaints on pest control services most commonly regarding problems with product or service and guarantee or warranty issues.

“A good exterminator will make every effort to successfully eliminate your pest problem, but it’s important for you to do your research first,” said Paula Fleming, spokesperson for the local BBB. “In some Massachusetts’ cities, spraying for mosquitos is included in your taxes as part of the Mosquito Control Project. Be sure to check with your state’s Department of Agriculture for more information.”

Better Business Bureau Serving E. MA, ME, RI & VT (BBB) and the National Pest Management Association provide the following tips for finding a qualified pest control professional:

Research: Evaluate pest control professionals and services that are members of national, state or local associations. Check out BBB’s Accredited Business Directory to find reliable pest control services in your area.

Licensing: Verify licenses or other credentials of the pest control professional who comes to solve your pest problem.

Estimates: Get bids from several pest control businesses, and make sure you are comparing the same services. BBB provides a free Request a Quote service to make it easier to gather estimates from local BBB Accredited Businesses.

Contract: Before signing a contract, be sure to fully understand the nature of the household pest(s) to be exterminated, the extent of the infestation, and the work necessary to solve the problem. Make sure all guarantees are clearly stated in writing with details about the service agreement. Be sure you understand what the company will do if pests continue or come back after treatment and how long it will take to implement the treatment.

Safety: Familiarize yourself with the methods and/or materials that will be used to treat the infestation. If a business suggests pesticides or chemicals to troubleshoot your issue, ask for the name of the product(s) and/or to see the label. Your family and furry-friends could be impacted by the process.

Insurance: Find out if the pest control company has liability insurance to cover any damages to your house or furnishings during treatment.

If a guarantee is given, know what it covers, how long it lasts, what you must do to keep it in force, and what kind of continuing control, prevention and management are necessary.

High-pressure sales tactics: Beware of businesses that offer bargains which sound too good to be true. Use caution with businesses that come to your home uninvited and offer a free inspection for pests or press you for immediate and/or costly treatments.

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