While our most well-known company, Hill Property Inspections LLC, performs frequent pest inspections for wood-destroying insects, our partner company, Hill Pest Control LLC, also performs pest inspections for all types of pests and provides treatment. Countless homeowners are on contract with a pest control company to prevent unwanted invaders, but many are on the fence and question whether professional pest treatments are really necessary. For those who do recognize its importance, the question is how often treatments should be done and whether calling out (and paying for) a pro is really necessary. In this post, I’d like to take some time to go over the importance of professional pest control and answer some basic questions.
In reality, every property owner should have a concrete plan to manage unwanted pest intrusion; and that’s true whether you attempt to do it yourself or hire a professional who is trained in identifying and properly treating the myriad of insects, rodents, mites and other pests that plague countless homes and businesses nearly every day. Even if you feel confident you don’t have an active problem with pest intrusion, the chances are pretty high that you do.
We share our environment with an untold number of species, and in comparison we humans are unbelievably low in number. This is generally a good thing, as nature has a way of properly managing levels through predator-prey relationships, environmental influences and several other factors, but unacceptable levels of detrimental pests can quickly become a problem – even for those who normally aren’t too bothered by the occasional spider, stink bug, centipede or other “creepy critter.”
Many potential pests are of major benefit to us and are often taken for granted. Bees are perhaps the best and most obvious example, as they play a crucial role in pollinating and (in the case of honey bees) producing honey. Bats are another undervalued species and eat many insects to help keep population levels at bay. No one wants bats roosting in their attic, but those who recognize their importance sometimes place bat houses nearby to intentionally provide a suitable shelter. Again, it’s only when pests pose a threat to health, safety or structural integrity that they become problematic. And high pest levels can pose other threats, even outside our homes or businesses, like destruction of plants and being a constant nuisance when we’re trying to enjoy some relaxing time outdoors.
Unfortunately, problematic pest invasion happens all too often – especially at rural properties where insects, rodents, snakes and wildlife are naturally more plentiful. You may be tempted to try and treat these problems on your own with over-the-counter remedies or old-fashioned “tricks,” but these measures rarely prove effective – especially in the long run. Your expense, time and effort may result in a temporary and mild improvement, but it will almost certainly never compete with professional pest control that employs the most effective products, a wealth of knowledge, the best equipment, and a customized approach. We in the industry refer to this approach as integrated pest management (IPM), and it’s one of the main factors that separates a DIY-er from a true pro.
So, what are some of the most common problems resulting from unacceptable levels of pests? For one, wood-destroying insects (especially termites) can cause structural damage to wooden structural members that could lead to thousands of dollars in repair work, and this type of damage is usually not covered by homeowners insurance. Termites, alone, account for billions of dollars worth of damage every year in the U.S., and they eat at wood continually while often going largely unnoticed. Rodents are unsanitary, often carry disease, and can lurk in walls and other hidden spaces where they’re known to chew wiring and other components that could lead to a hazard. They also multiply quickly and can survive with very minimal amounts of food and water. Bed bugs, which have been on the rise in recent years, also multiply quickly and can live a very long time off one feeding, and their bites cause small, irritating bumps on the skin of people they feed off of. Mosquitos, likewise, leave itchy red bumps (as everyone knows), and they are known to carry pathogens that can be very harmful. Ticks are similar, as are fleas, and each is plentiful in certain areas. Roaches, which are among the oldest species on earth, are incredibly resilient and can survive through hardships that would easily kill many other insects, and they eat nearly everything (including other dead roaches). They’re also incredibly good at hiding – usually in kitchens – and you may have them now without even knowing and even if your home is kept fairly clean.
With so much at stake, attempting to go it alone for treatment is almost always a recipe for disaster. Proper and effective pest control involves so much more than purchasing a generic chemical and some traps or baits from a local store and then hoping you apply them correctly. It involves extensive knowledge, proper identification, formulation of a situation-specific plan, use of quality equipment, correct timing, and appropriate application along with ongoing monitoring. Exclusion work (especially sealing of cracks and crevices) is also very important and usually requires an experienced professional to do the work correctly and in all areas that could serve as common entry points. These areas can be very small, and most invaders – even mice and bats – can squeeze through tiny holes that seem too small for them to fit through.
When it comes down to it, playing the role of pest control technician on your own is rarely ever a good idea. Certain tasks are simply best left to the pros; and you’ll find that in the long run, paying a professional to do it right the first time (and thereafter) will ultimately save you money… and a great deal of stress.
So, be sure to get in touch with a reputable pest control company in your area for ongoing treatment. Whether you do or don’t have a current pest problem, scheduling an initial inspection and treatment, along with quarterly maintenance service, is a no-brainer and will help you rest at ease knowing your property and family are protected against the many unwanted pests that could cause you multiple problems. And be sure to opt for a quarterly plan as opposed to an annual or semi-annual treatment, as even the best products only last a few months on average, and you’ll almost certainly save money by getting on a plan. If you happen to be located in or around Cambria and Somerset Counties in southwestern Pennsylvania, feel free to reach out to us for a free consultation, or check us out at http://www.hillpest.com.