Got the Welcome Mat Out for Pests?

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Angie’s List Tips to Stop the Invasion Before It Starts

By the time you notice a spider, stink bug, or beetle or hear the pitter patter of four-legged feet, it might already be too late.

If you don’t want to see creepy critters crawling through your house this spring, you better take action now. By the time you notice a spider, stink bug, or beetle or hear the pitter patter of four-legged feet, it might already be too late.

“The sign of just one pest or rodent could indicate a much larger problem,” says Angie Hicks, founder of Angie’s List, which offers consumer reviews on local service companies, including pest control and rodent removal. “Ignoring them is not the answer.”

Instead of waiting to go on the defense against unwanted guests, take the offense by implementing these six steps to pest-proof your home.

1.    Trim tree limbs and branches near your home. Squirrels, raccoons, and bats consider these their personal avenues to your attic. Ants also use the overhanging limbs to get on your roof and into your home.
2.    Remove any piles of wood or debris close to your home. You might as well put out a vacancy sign for bugs, mice and other small animals seeking shelter.
3.    Seal any holes or openings in windows and doors. Even tiny holes can become doorways for bugs, rodents and bats. Caulk or repair cracks and holes in windows, doors and screens and gaps in siding.
4.    Secure containers inside and outside. Garbage cans offer a vast menu to hungry critters. Keep lids closed and a fair distance from entry points.
5.    Keep the kitchen clean. Clear food from all surfaces, clean dishes every night, and sweep floors of crumbs.
6.    Schedule regular inspections. Even if you’re not aware of an infestation, have a professional periodically inspect and treat your home before a pest problem occurs. Ask about potential issues with termites, beg bugs, or rodents.

“Exterminators have a variety of tools and methods to combat pests of all shapes and sizes,” Hicks said. “That’s why it’s important they receive proper training on all available methods.”

Using over-the-counter products instead of hiring a pro will likely yield only temporary results and won’t treat for all insect types. A qualified professional pest control company can tailor its treatment to address your specific issues. Prices vary by region, but typically one-time treatments cost between $130 and $150. For ongoing service, expect to pay between $80 and $110 for quarterly treatments, or $40 to $60 for monthly treatments.

Before you hire a pest control professional, Angie’s List suggests you ask the following questions:

  •     What is your process for exterminating pests?
  •     What chemicals, if any, do you use?
  •     Are those products harmful to children or pets if ingested?
  •     Do you offer eco-friendly options?
  •     Do you have a pest control license?
  •     How long will my family need to be out of the house?

A quality extermination company will have a strong track record. Check reviews on Angie’s List and ask friends and family members for recommendations.

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Jodie Kehoe
Angie's List
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