10 Questions to Ask Your Pest Control Service Provider
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10 Questions to Ask Your Pest Control Service Provider

Reading time: 7 minutes

No one wants to live in a pest-infested house, but many Western Canadian homeowners don’t know where to start when it comes to maintaining a pest-free living environment. It often requires the expertise and careful planning of a pest control professional.

Choosing the right exterminator for the job can be intimidating. Here’s a helpful list of questions you can use to interview different residential pest control professionals and decide who to hire.

Ant Pests Infestation
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1. What extermination methods do you use?

Understanding how exterminators do their jobs is vital to ensuring the company you hire takes the right approach. Ask providers what methods they use and whether they recommend chemical pesticides, natural treatments, or other environmentally friendly pest management strategies for your specific problem.

Most of the time, professionals will combine multiple tactics to create a customized treatment and prevention plan to eliminate pests and keep them from returning.

2. How do you decide which methods to use?

Ask exterminators how they decide which pest control methods they’ll use. The most effective strategies depend on things like the kind of pest, how severe the infestation is, and whether there are children or pets who live in the home. A reliable exterminator will only select the most appropriate solutions after considering all the moving parts.

Each pest has its own life cycle, behaviours, and vulnerabilities that can be used to an exterminator’s advantage to eliminate them. Some effective methods for one type of pest may not affect a different kind at all. The professional you hire should be able to explain how they will treat your home and why they’ve chosen that particular strategy.

Homeowners and exterminators should be able to have an open dialogue about how, when, and where treatment will take place. Homeowners should feel confident about discussing concerns and asking questions about what will happen next.

3. Are the products you use safe for kids and pets?

Safety is crucial to effective pest control, especially in houses with young children, older people, or those with certain health conditions. Knowing which products your provider will use and how these could potentially impact family members or pets is important so you know how to prepare for the treatment ahead.

Pesticides in Canada are regulated by the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA). This governing body establishes the national safety and efficacy criteria for insect repellents, other insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, and rodenticides throughout the country. The approval process for pesticides to market is complex, and the PMRA's criteria are rigorous.

All pesticides currently available have gone through rigorous scientific studies and are monitored continuously for new data that may indicate a potential safety concern.

4. Do you offer natural pest control options?

Natural pest control methods may be growing in popularity. Still, most professionals have always integrated at least a few layers of natural, organic, or non-chemical controls into their overarching strategy.

Be sure to ask if your exterminator uses natural methods and, if so, what they use. You can also request information about how your provider's products affect the local environment to determine if they are sustainable and in line with eco-conservation initiatives.

You'll also want to ask about the success rate with these treatments. Some natural or organic methods may take longer to work than traditional ones or be less effective if not coupled with other strategies. That doesn’t mean they don’t work; it just means you need more information.

Take note if an exterminator seems reluctant to discuss alternatives to harsh chemicals or dismisses your concerns about pesticides. Education is key, and a qualified pest control professional will happily answer questions and provide the information you need to make important decisions.

5. What should I do before my exterminator comes?

Preparation is a principal component of successful pest management. Knowing what steps you should take before your exterminator arrives at your home can help you make sure the services you receive are more effective. For example, they may want you to cover outdoor furniture or unplug electrical appliances.

By asking your provider what you can do ahead of time to make their job easier, you become a proactive part of your pest management strategy. This helps foster a good relationship with your professional and increases the likelihood that your infestation management efforts will be successful.

If you skip this step, there’s a chance that your exterminator may not be able to treat your home on the day they’re scheduled to.

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6. What should I expect during my pest control treatment?

Homeowners must also know precisely what will happen when the exterminator works in their yard and how the treatment will be done.

You should also make sure you know when the area will be safe to use, where anything you should avoid is, and how long these restrictions should last. You don’t want to accidentally wipe down a surface before the treatment has taken effect. Knowing where bait, traps, and treated surfaces are also helps you keep children and pets away and ensures that your treatment is effective and long-lasting.

7. How long will it take to get rid of my pest infestation?

The amount of time it takes to get rid of different pest infestations varies based on the type of pest, how large the infestation is, where your home is located, and other relevant details. No two infestations are the same, and even the same kind of pest may require different treatments and elimination timelines.

That said, you don’t necessarily have to go in blind without knowing what to expect. You should still ask your pest management expert for a rough estimate of how long they think it will take for you to start seeing the results of your treatment. They should be able to give you at least a ballpark figure so you can better manage your expectations and know when you should call if something is wrong.

8. How much will my service cost?

Figuring out how much you can expect to pay for pest control is essential for two reasons: budgeting and deciding who you should hire.

When working with an exterminator, you usually get what you pay for. Very cheap services are likely to offer only mediocre results. While a deeply discounted price may initially sound great, the risk of success could be higher, and there may be a significant tradeoff regarding the quality and safety of the services you receive.

The pest control provider you choose should have a clear pricing structure that includes any fees or additional costs added on the back end. You should feel comfortable asking questions about their pricing, and they should be willing and able to explain what’s included in your service cost, what exactly you will get, and when you’ll be billed.

If any exterminator seems annoyed or too busy to go over this information in detail with you, it may be in your best interests to consider other options before making a final decision.

9. Will you help me prevent future pests?

Good pest management goes beyond immediate treatments to eliminate infestations right now. It extends to a comprehensive, year-long pest management strategy that addresses multiple types of pests throughout each season.

Reliable professionals should give you an idea of what a comprehensive pest control plan looks like for you and what you can expect from it to keep your home pest-free in the future.

10. Are your pest control services guaranteed?

It’s a good idea to ask an exterminator if their services are guaranteed before you hire them. This can reassure you that someone from the company will be available to help you if anything goes wrong before or after your treatment.

Even if you don't need to cash in on the guarantee, having one in place shows that a pest control provider is committed to the satisfaction of their clients and is willing to fix any issues that might come up after the initial treatment.

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Learn More from the Qualified Exterminators at Buzz Boss

Pest control in western Canada can be complex and sometimes challenging to deal with, even during frigid winters. Most homeowners need professional exterminators to keep mosquitoes, rodents, ants, ticks, wasps, and other destructive pests away.

Click here to discover more about different pests and the methods used to control them at Buzz Boss’ comprehensive learning center.

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