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The gold standard among pest control companies is to practice the quarterly approach to eradicating infestations. However, there are many pest experts with decades of experience who strongly disagree with this approach. They feel this practice is putting unnecessary chemical applications into people’s homes and the environment.

Experts take on an infestation with a single and, if required, a second application, which generally eliminates any pest issues depending, of course, on what type of infestation they’re dealing with.  

They instruct the homeowner to call their office at any reoccurrence of the problem, upon which they will promptly return to finish the job.  Over decades of hands-on experience they have found that annual inspections are all that is necessary to keep the vast majority of homes pest-free.

Many professionals find it completely uncalled for to continually spray a home that has no bugs. Not only is it a waste of time and money, but it also unnecessarily exposes residents to harmful chemicals on a routine basis. They are so against this both dangerous and wasteful practice that they refuse to do it and warn people to be mindful of scammers.

Pest Control Scam

The vast majority of pest control workers are fantastic professionals, who protect us from those insects and pests that can do us harm and damage our property. Yet, as in any industry, there are those just out to make a dime, and you have to wonder if they’re really killing anything… except your wallet.

One of the biggest scams among the less legitimate pest control companies is to actually professionally provide a service that you have asked them to do.  They tackle the infestation but then, when the job is complete, they miraculously know that the problem has not been taken care of.  Not only that, but a second application probably won’t do it either.  They suddenly have a great idea, sign a yearly contract, plus, get this, if the bugs aren’t gone by the end of the year, this contract will automatically renew. Easy, hassle free… Sure, except it’s a scam.  

For one thing there are laws in place in most countries about contracts that self-renew.  The truth is, you would never be pressured by a licensed pro to sign anything and, if you require anything more than a single application, the expert should be able to explain in great detail as to why.

We all panic when we think we have an infestation in our home.  We’re vulnerable, and falling for these scams is not difficult when you believe a person that identifies himself or herself as a professional. Why would you have reason to doubt what this person is telling you?

We can’t tar the entire industry with the same brush though and serious infestations are not anything that should be tackled as any kind of DIY-type endeavor.  The products available on the retail market may treat the ‘symptoms’ or see visible critters ‘disappear’, but they do nothing to shutdown the actual causes.

Avoid scams by thoroughly researching who is licensed and regulated in your local area to perform the services you require. Once you find a few, go through the reviews of their customers, then call and get references.  Then get quotes and have a question/answer session with the actual companies, pick three.  Once you choose someone and they come into your home, always ask to see the license. If you follow these steps, you’re much more likely to have a safe, cost effective and hassle free experience. 

Identifying an Infestation

They may be small, tiny living creatures, but they can pack a massive punch. They have a way of leaving a trail – or heap – of evidence and if you have an idea of what to look for, you will know they’re here. Listed below are some of the worst indications that you are not alone:

  • Termites. They can destroy anything that is made out of wood or cellulose.  It doesn’t even have to be the actual structure of your house.  Keep an eye on kitchen cabinets, wooden floors, you name it, they’ll eat it.  They can usually accomplish their mission of destruction before anybody ever finds out about them.
  • Cockroaches.  Despite being just plain disgusting, their poop is especially harmful to microorganisms.  They cause folks’ allergies and asthma to flair, so if you notice that you or a family member is having difficulty with breathing or respiration it could be you have a roach problem.
  • Mosquitos.  These are just nasty suckers.  They are disease carriers plain and simple.  They carry every disease you can think of from malaria all the way to encephalitis and anything in between and beyond. They cause raised, red, itchy bumps on the skin.  
  • Fire ants. Their bites cause red, itchy, inflamed and painful blistering. They’re red and they travel in bunches.
  • Fleas and Ticks. They spread typhus and Lyme disease.  Fleas hop and bounce.  They’re tiny, but you can see them flying around.  They give you itchy little red welts.  Ticks embed themselves into your skin to suck blood. They usually try to go for a place where they won’t be spotted, like your scalp.
  • Spiders can be the absolute worst.  There are some species that are life threatening.  You may not be capable of eradicating the infestations of these pests, but there are things that you can do to prevent them from wanting to come into your home in between professional treatments.

Preventing the pets

In between the time that your pest control professional comes each year, you’ll want to take measures to avoid anything being attracted to your house.  Regularly doing these things will help prevent a new infestation from establishing itself in your home.

  • Get rid of food clutter.  Don’t leave food out on the counters or tables or in candy bowls.  After you have a meal, wash everything that food has come in contact with and store the leftovers in sealed containers.  
  • Scraps. If you have food scraps that you need to get rid of, put them in a sealed plastic bag and throw them in the garbage.  Take the trash bags outside every day to a can that is completely sealed.
  • Appliances. Make sure that you take time to clean behind your appliances on a regular basis.
  • Leaks. Bugs are drawn to water, so you want to make sure any plumbing that is leaking is fixed immediately.  Be mindful of the water that sits in the bottom of a plant tray or any water that is left out for your pets. Mosquitoes love it.
  • Toilet. It is not sanitary to leave urine or feces residue around or inside the toilet, and bugs love it.  Make sure to always keep the toilet clean and be sure the seal is secure is you have a septic tank.
  • Screens. Replace any screens that have holes in them.  That’s an open invite for bugs to come on in.
  • Pipes. Use steel wool to fill openings around pipes.
  • Walls. Inspect the walls for any kind of cracks or crevices that need to be filled and make sure that they are taken care of.  Bugs can fit into some very tiny spaces, even cockroaches.
  • Stacks. Get rid of clutter, e.g. stacks of magazines and newspapers.  

The experts that come to treat your home appreciate homeowners who take an active approach to the prevention of infestations.  It makes their jobs a lot easier, and reduces the number of times they need to come back.  The true professionals don’t like having to spray homes more than is necessary; they don’t want to expose their clients to pesticides any more than they absolutely have to.  

What Some ‘professionals’ Won’t Tell You

There are, as in every business, some bad apples in the ‘professional’ realm.  They don’t divulge everything that they’re supposed to and provide a less than quality customer service.

  • Guarantee.  Pest control professionals will rarely ‘guarantee’ that they are going to completely eliminate your pest issue.  Unless your contract actually states that you want ‘complete elimination’, they’re under absolutely no obligation to get rid of the problem.
  • Baits.  When a bug has a food source that is making them happy — and they’re not on the lookout for another one — they’re not going to search for baits.  For example, termites don’t go looking for tube baits. They’re ineffective. Termites are perfectly happy destroying your house; they have no interest in finding bait.
  • Species.  Some of the ‘professionals’ don’t worry about the specific species of bug that is involved in the infestation, e.g. there are multiple species of ants and each one requires a different method of elimination. It seems over 40% of the associates in this business lack the qualifications needed.
  • Material Safety Data Sheet. They do not let you know that this is available to you.  This is kind of like the chemical label.  It will give you lots of information on the chemicals used, e.g. side effects if you’re overexposed, what to do if you suffer poisoning, and as to if it is government approved.


Using a professional is the way to go when eradicating a massive infestation of pests from your home.  You cannot do it on your own.  In finding a good professional, you want someone with as much experience in the business as possible; decades even, because they’re looking out for you the customer not themselves.  That’s how it should always be, having the customer’s best interest in mind. So find a service you like, trust and know always cares for their reputation. There’s too much at risk not to do otherwise.