Hiring a Milwaukee Exterminator (Residential Pest Control)
Household pests, such as termites, ants, and rodents, are obviously best terminated and prevented from invading the main structures and outlying areas. These insects, mammals, and reptiles, even birds, pose hazards to the residents’ physical and mental health as well as to the structural integrity of the house, shed and greenhouse, among structures.
The question: Should you hire a professional exterminator or adopt a do-it-yourself approach to pest elimination and prevention? The answer is a “yes” and a “no” depending on the type of pest, scope of the problem, and type of treatments required for the elimination and prevention of pest infestations.
Determine Your Own Ability
Keep in mind that minor pest infestations can be resolved using do-it-yourself methods while major pest infestations, especially when possibly dangerous animals like rats, snakes and bats are involved, are best handled by professional exterminators. Your first steps then are the identification of the pests, the methods of control, and your ability to implement these methods on your own.
Many pests, such as rats, bats and snakes as well as ants, bees, and cockroaches, are easily identifiable. But when you are in doubt about the pest’s identity, you should take a sample to your local agriculturist’s office or a local pest extermination company, for a definitive identification.
You can then perform basic research about effective pest control measures. Your best places for research are the Milwaukee public library systems and online sources, as well as a friendly pest exterminator who can provide free advice. You will want to implement the do-it-yourself pest control methods based on their recommendations.
But when the pest extermination process requires any of the following steps, then you should hire a professional pest exterminator for the job:
• Use of toxic chemicals especially substances that only professionals are allowed to purchase from agricultural stores
• Use of sophisticated application equipment or implementation of advanced measures requiring appropriate training
• Formulation of detailed pest control management plans for large-scale residential pest issues
• Handling possibly dangerous animals with high risks for illnesses and injuries, such as rats, snakes and bats (i.e., venom, rabies)
• Necessity for climbing trees and roofs, or getting into spaces where utility cables (e.g., electric wires) are present, or opening up a closed space (e.g., wall) to flush out the pests
The bottom line: Hire a reliable pest exterminator in the Milwaukee area to eliminate present pest threats and to prevent future pest infestations. Find a reliable pest exterminator even before pest problems arise, if possible, so that you have somebody to call in an emergency (e.g., a colony of rats breeding in the attic that requires immediate attention).
Lest you think that do-it-yourself pest control methods are cheaper, think again. When you or your family members suffer from illnesses or injuries caused by your do-it-yourself efforts, the financial toll can be considerably higher. For example, you can fall down from the roof, or be bitten by a rabies-carrying rat, or be electrocuted by a live wire.
Get Recommendations and Referrals
Avoid hiring the first name you see when doing ‘Pest Control Milwaukee’ searches online, the first recommendation made by your friends, or the first pest exterminator that offers their services. Get the names and contact information of 3 to 5 pest exterminators in the Milwaukee area and compare their services, fees, and reputation for reliability before making your choice.
Ask Relevant Questions
Ask these relevant questions of each pest exterminator: (Think of it as you, the employer, interviewing prospective employees)
• What are your services offered? Be sure that the prospective exterminator has the knowledge, skills and tools to eliminate the specific pests in your Milwaukee home. Ask about the structural services, too, such as fixing the cables, pipes and wires damaged by the pests; otherwise, you should contact an electrician or plumber for this purpose.
• What is your philosophy in pest control? Be on the lookout for pest control methodologies that you may or may not agree with, such as chemical versus non-chemical or a mix of both.
• What are your qualifications including training? Be sure to ask for proof of training and certification especially when the exterminator has a team implementing the pest control measures.
• What types of insurance and bond does your company have at present? Be aware that pest exterminators, like all service providers, are required by law to have valid general liability insurance, workers’ compensation, and surety bonds, among others. These insurance types are for your own protection, too, in case a worker becomes injured or ill while on the job in your property.
• What recommendations and referrals can you provide? Ask for a list of client references as well as do your research into complaints filed against the company; the Better Business Bureau and Angie’s List are a good start.
• What is your guarantee or warranty? Always ask for a warranty on services since a botched job will likely require a second visit, free of charge ideally. Ask about the policy on callbacks, too.
• What preparatory methods should the residents do before the actual pest extermination? Your pets, children and property must be protected from the effects of the pest control process including the chemicals used.
• What is your payment system? Ask about the payment schedule (i.e., downpayment and final payment) and methods accepted (e.g., credit cards, check, or cash).
Write down the answers to these questions for each prospective pest exterminator. You will be able to make objective comparisons when you can refer to your notes instead of remembering from memory alone.
Ask for Proof of Licenses and Permits
Avoid being taken in by good appearances and answers, too. Ask the prospective pest exterminators for proof of licenses, permits, registration and certificates for the business and its employees. Check that the insurance and surety bond are up-to-date as well.
Be sure to verify the validity of these documents with the issuing authority instead of solely relying on the information contained therein. In California, for example, pest control companies and individual pest exterminators are required by law to secure a California State Structural Pest Control Board-issued license. Individuals operating businesses with yard pest control as one of their services are required to secure:
• A pest control business license; and
• Either a Qualified Applicator License or Qualified Applicator Certificate issued by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation.
Check that the pest exterminator also has a license to purchase and use regulated chemicals and pesticides. Ask your local pesticide agency or any concerned authorities about these matters since each jurisdiction will likely have different rules and regulations.
When you are satisfied that the prospective pest exterminators operate legitimate businesses as well as equipped with the right tools and technologies, you can make comparisons between all of them. You should compare the factors with the highest weight in your estimation, such as the pricing structure, policy on callbacks, and after-service customer services, among others.
Always remember, nonetheless, that you must never compromise satisfactory quality with low prices. You have to keep in mind that the health of your family as well as the structural integrity of your house is at stake here. You should be ready to pay good money to get good services.
Request for Site Inspection
Your eyewitness account of the nature and scope of the pest infestation will probably have inconsistencies because of your inexperience with the matter. You should then request the pest exterminator for a site inspection – better yet, your chosen pest exterminator ask for your permission to inspect the infestation site.
You may be charged a fee for the site inspection, which can be deductible from the total contract cost. With your payment of the fee, you should be provided with a written comprehensive diagnosis of the nature and scope of the pest infestation.
The written report will typically contain the following information:
• Type of pest/s behind the infestation (e.g., rats, ants, bats)
• Places in the property where the nests or colonies are located
• Extent of the pest infestation
• Suggested course of treatment including the types of pest control measures to be adopted (e.g., traps, pesticides)
• Safety of the pest control measures and precautions to take
• Frequency and duration of treatment and inspections
Review the Suggested Solutions
Always review the suggested solutions for their safety and efficacy before making your decision to go ahead with the treatment. Use the Internet for research purposes, ask Milwaukee pesticide agencies, and inquire about the effects from your family and friends.
Your pest exterminator may suggest several of the following pest control measures:
• Traps include sticky traps against insects, spring-loaded traps for rodents, and baited traps for other animals.
• Poison spray is usually used for the extermination of insects.
• Fumigation involves sealing off the house and filling it with pesticides like poison gases.
• Diatomaceous earth kills pests typically insects by breaking down their protective layers.
• Biological control agents are used to eliminate mites and nematodes, among other insects.
Exclusion methods like weatherstrips and window screens, regular cleaning, and habitat modification are also used. When considering these solutions, consider their long-term efficacy and your chemical tolerance.
As a final precaution, always read the contract, ask questions about its provisions, and request for necessary changes, if necessary, before the actual pest control measures are implemented in your property.