It doesn’t matter if it’s insects or rodents: pest invasions are never fun. Unwanted critters can wreak havoc on your home, spread diseases and give you a serious case of the shivers. If you wind up with a big pest problem, it’s important to call an exterminator rather than ignoring the issue or trying to deal with it yourself. A professional will be able to safely and fully restore your home to its former pest-free glory.

mouseBut choosing an exterminator can be intimidating. What traits should you look for? Are you getting a fair price? Can they really and truly get those racoons out of your basement? It’s important to be informed, because pest control can be expensive. Here’s what you need to know when hiring an exterminator:

1. Ask for credentials. Don’t be shy – you have the right to see the exterminator’s license! Before you hire, ask how their technicians are trained and what certifications they had to receive before being hired.

2. Check their history. Do some research to find out how long the exterminator has been in business. If a company has been serving your community for years, chances are they’re a trustworthy organization. Another great way to find a reputable company is by asking neighbors and friends who they used in the past (and whether or not they were satisfied). You can also use sites like Yelp for recommendations.

3. Get an estimate. Depending on the pest, different strategies for removal (i.e. chemical spray vs. setting traps) can vary widely in price. Make sure you get an estimate for each strategy, and then weigh the costs and benefits. For larger projects (like termites), it’s a good idea to get estimates from multiple companies so that you can choose who is best to tackle your problem. Note: Most professional exterminators should offer you some sort of guarantee for the pest removal – be wary if they don’t!

4. Demand thoroughness. A professional exterminator should inspect your home, confirm the specific pest problem and then present you with several possible solutions. Ask them to explain the pros and cons of each extermination method. Note: An exterminator who doesn’t seem very knowledgeable is a red flag! They should be able to explain the pest’s habits, why the invasion may have happened in the first place and how each extermination method will affect you and your home.

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