HomeownerHelpful Info: Home Maintenance

Pest & Termite Control

Pest & Termite Control Educational Content

The strategy for managing household pests used to be limited to applying synthetic pesticides. Now, there are more options for pest control. Instead of only using synthetic pesticides, many people opt for a more comprehensive approach to pest control. This typically involves turning to natural pesticides first. If needed, the exterminator will carefully apply synthetic pesticides. They can also set humane traps and make repairs that prevent pests from entering your house in the first place. This comprehensive approach to pest management is healthier and safer for people, pets, and the environment. It is also effective. A pest control service contract gives you worry-free, long-term pest protection. If you have a specific problem, most pest control companies also offer targeted, short-term solutions.

A comprehensive approach works well against outdoor pests like mosquitoes and fleas. The exterminator usually applies treatments around the perimeter of the house as well as to standing water and dense foliage. These areas are most likely to harbor insects. Your pest management professional is also likely to recommend preventative measures that you can take on your own. This usually includes things like dumping out standing water, caulking foundation cracks, and filling open tree holes with sand. Add these tasks to your normal yard maintenance routine to make sure you do them regularly. Using insecticides on bees and wasps is a bad idea. While their stings hurt and can be really dangerous, these insects are important pollinators. They play a vital role in the health of our ecosystem even though you don’t want them to live under your eaves. A pest control professional will know how to safely and humanely control the swarm and move the nest.

Squirrels. Seeking warm, safe nesting locations, squirrels sometimes invade unprotected attics. They may enter through a small, existing hole or chew through wood to gain access. Solving the problem usually involves trapping and relocating the squirrel. Then, the pest control pro will sanitize the nest area and make exclusion repairs. These exclusion repairs are important because they keep the squirrel from returning. Address problems with squirrels and other animals as promptly as possible. Animals can get settled and cause significant damage in a relatively short period of time. It’s important to have them removed before the problems get worse.

Mice and rats. Mice and rats live in groups and multiply rapidly. If you see one of these rodents, it is likely that you have many more. They may look cute in photographs, but mice and rats can cause significant structural damage to your house. They also carry and spread germs, bacteria, and diseases that can be harmful to humans. Watch for signs that rodents have taken up residence. If you hear scratching sounds in the walls or see droppings, rub marks, or evidence of a nest anywhere around the house, call a professional.

Getting rid of mice and rats usually involves baiting and trapping them, removing them, and then preventing their reentry. The exclusion method is the best way to prevent rodent access. This involves finding and sealing up all gaps larger than a dime. Without exclusion repairs, the rodents will almost certainly return.

As a bonus, you may even save money on power bills by sealing up these spots that were allowing warm air to escape. Try to get into the habit of inspecting your house periodically. Time, weather, and persistent pests can eventually create new holes and gaps. The quicker these spots are found and sealed up, the less likely you’ll be to have recurring rodent and pest problems.

Stinging insects. Due to their painful stings, yellow jackets, hornets, bees, wasps, and the like can be a problem for many people. Carpenter bees, in particular, can cause structural damage when they drill holes into wood. The sting of a yellow jacket can be very painful, so if you find them in or near your house, have them removed. Yellow jackets are known for defending their colonies if they feel they’re under attack. Don’t try to remove a stinging insect nest on your own. Call a professional pest control company instead.

Termites can strike almost anywhere. If you live in an area with high temperatures and high humidity, however, you have an elevated risk for termite activity. Most residential termite damage is the result of infestations of subterranean termites. Subterranean termites live in the ground and build mud tubes to help them travel from their colony to a food source. Since termites eat wood, unprotected homes are an easy target.

Discourage termites by keeping firewood and landscaping elements at least six to eight inches away from your house. Termites need moisture to breed, so keep your gutters and downspouts clear all year. Have any leaks repaired promptly and keep an eye out for dripping outdoor faucets or damp areas around the foundation.

Most homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover termite damage. Instead, you’ll need a termite inspection and an annual termite bond, even if you haven’t seen termites around the house. Your pest control company can help you arrange this.

Many pest control companies sell either a “Termite Re-treatment” bond or a “Termite Re-treatment and Repair” bond. The “Termite Re-treatment” bond ensures repeat treatments if termites come back. It does not, however, cover the cost of repair for termite damage that might have occurred. A “Termite Re-treatment and Repair” bond provides treatment and financial coverage for termite damage repair. Termite bonds typically require a significant first-year treatment fee. This covers the inspection and initial treatment. Beyond that first year, the fee is much lower.

Unwanted wildlife and insects can make your house and yard uncomfortable and unsafe. A good pest control company will keep your house protected from both the occasional pest and recurring nuisances.

Because of the chemicals used, the pest control industry is highly regulated. Individual service representatives must be registered to use pesticides. You can do your part in pest prevention by storing food securely and taking out your trash promptly.