While the amount of companies available to consumers can be dizzying, there are several indicators to help determine if a company is a good fit for handling bed bug infestations.
(PRWEB) September 15, 2011
Selecting a pest control company for bed bug treatments can be a difficult task. Not only are bed bugs relatively new to the pest management industry, they have also proven extremely difficult to treat. As part of National Bed Bug Awareness Month, entomologist Jeffrey White of BedBug Central provides advice to consumers on how to select a pest control company for bed bug treatments.
National Bed Bug Awareness Month began Sept. 1 with the help of a U.S. Representative and 10 of the foremost bed bug experts from across the country to develop an educational, online tutorial series and articles. The awareness month will culminate with the North American Bed Bug Summit being held in Chicago from Sept. 25-27 at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare.
White acknowledges that while the amount of companies available to consumers can be dizzying, there are several indicators to help determine if a company is a good fit for handling bed bug infestations.
You can watch a brief "how-to" video on the selection process and read more details on how to select a company below:
Find a Pest Control Company: Narrowing Your Best Options
According to Andy Architect of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), there are more that 20,000 pest management firms operating in the United States. Unfortunately, not all companies specialize in bed bug remediation. Here are some steps from entomologist, Jeffrey White, to narrow your options and find the best:
- Use web and telephone directories to locate several pest management firms in your area. Some may designate themselves as bed bug specialists, but this designation should only be an indicator and not a deciding factor.
- Only utilize companies that have been registered to apply pesticides by the pesticide regulatory agency in your state. Lacking this license should serve as an immediate red flag. To find your state’s agency visit: http://npic.orst.edu/state1.htm.
- Search for companies that use integrated pest management (IPM) services. IPM is a form of pest management designed to minimize the use of pesticides. Companies that utilize an IPM approach are more likely to provide ongoing monitoring and a multidisciplinary approach to bed bug management (more on this later).
Interviewing Companies: Questions You Should Know to Ask
Once you hire a pest management firm they may be entering your home and spraying pesticides or performing services that can cost hundreds of dollars. Interviewing the selected companies is not only your right, it is strongly advised.
- Ask companies about their membership in recognized national, state, and local pest control associations. Membership to these associations requires periodic evaluation of their pest management protocols as well as ethical business practices. Some key associations to look for include:
- The National Pest Management Association (NPMA), state pest management associations, QualityPro, the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and bedbugFREE. Companies may also be members of equivalent associations.
- Membership with the bedbugFREE national network is an optional affiliation to consider when bed bug treatments are desired. This membership indicates that companies are not only members of NPMA and/or QualityPro, but have also had their bed bug treatment protocols evaluated to ensure they share multidisciplinary treatment methods and philosophies similar to BedBug Central’s protocol.
- Ask companies about their integrated pest management (IPM) approach to bed bug treatments. A good company should utilize some, if not all, of these procedures:
- Use of a multidisciplinary approach beyond pesticides such as: vacuuming, cleaning, steaming, using mattress encasements instead of treating beds with pesticides, heat or Cryonite treatments, and/or fumigation.
- Insist on inspecting before quoting a final price.
- Price jobs according to findings and not just a flat fee.
- Educate you on bed bugs, the company’s inspection findings, what they will be doing, and prevention.
- Provide a written inspection report and a strategy for services rendered.
- Provide a thorough follow up program that is not based upon a minimum number of visits but rather is based upon the current status of the bed bug activity. Follow ups should continue until control or elimination is achieved.
- Inquire if children or pets are present and adjust their treatment protocol and use of pesticides accordingly.
- Have a well-defined methodology for determining when an infestation has been eliminated.
- Work with property managers to notify adjacent apartments about the problem and recommend including surrounding units for inspections and treatments.
Things You Should Do: Customer Compliance is Half the Battle
- Comply with a company’s recommendations. When treating for bed bugs, companies will often recommend follow up actions customers can take to enhance the treatment process. Do your part and follow these recommendations.
- Ask about the company’s treatment plan options and agree on a pricing structure. Bed bugs can be a pricey pest to eliminate so the cheapest service is rarely the best.
- Walk your home with the pest management professional during each visit to keep track of what work is being done.
- Ask the pest control professional to point out any conditions that may undermine bed bug control efforts and ask for recommendations to be included in a written inspection report.
- Know what you and the company are each responsible for, if repairs are not in the agreement you should be provided with a list of items needed to resolve the issue.
- Finally, educate yourselves! Education may be the most valuable tool in the fight against bed bugs in both prevention and treatment. There is an excellent bed bug information resource available at BedBug Central called Bed Bugs 101.
About BedBug Central
BedBug Central serves as the nation’s most authoritative information resource and website available to the public for information concerning bed bugs and bed bug related issues concerning health, prevention, and treatment methods. More information can be obtained at http://www.bedbugcentral.com.