The idea of a quarterly pest control service that maintains your house with preventative treatments and quickly helps in cases of pest invasions could seem like a money grab. Some may think they aren’t that accountable, effective, or worth it cause they could do all the prevention themselves.
Is quarterly pest control worth it or a scam? When performed by a reputable company, quarterly pest control is worth it and not a scam. Unless, you are willing to learn all the preventative measures, upkeep them, and know all the best methods and techniques to deal with getting rid pests in the first place.
There are some disreputable pest control companies that do run scams, but for the most part, using a pest control company to do quarterly pest control for your home is well worth it.
The Benefits of Quarterly Pest Control Services
Quarterly pest control services will vary depending on the company that you choose to use for these services, but in general, they include an inspection of your home for any signs of insect infestation, interior insect barrier spraying, exterior spraying, special treatments around crevices, and removal of bees nests, wasps nests, and spider webs.
The most important benefit of using a quarterly pest control service is that the people performing your service are experts at what they do. They know what to look for when inspecting your home, the most effective way of treating the problem, and how to prevent a recurrence.
While some avid DIYers might be interested in learning the ins and outs of pest control, most of us just don’t have the time to put towards it.
When you use a pest control service, you benefit from years of learning and the expertise of a professional.
Saving Your Time
Not only do you benefit from the help of an expert, but when you use a quarterly pest control service, you save yourself time. We are all busy, whether it is with work, family, or fun. Our time is precious.
It is very easy to forget or procrastinate quarterly home maintenance tasks like pest control, especially if you don’t think you have a problem with pests, but when it comes to pests, prevention, and early detection is key.
By using a quarterly pest control service, you will ensure that you do not forget important pest control tasks, and you will free up some time to do more of the things you actually enjoy. Of course, if you’re into pest control like I am, that is a whole other story!
Quarterly pest control services come with a warranty. The idea is that if you’re doing routine pest control tasks every three months, then you should never really run into a pest problem.
With quarterly pest control services, you are covered for the periods between scheduled visits, just make the call, and a professional will come by and deal with the issue at no additional charge.
Of course, you should always read over the warranty carefully and be in touch with your pest control company about any specific questions you have concerning it. Coverage will vary by company.
If your property or the area where you live tends to have an issue with certain pests, then pest control, especially if done ineffectively, can take a big bite out of your budget. Quarterly pest control allows you to budget for this expense without having to guess how much your pest control services are going to cost.
Quarterly pest control services also means you will be unlikely to have unexpected pest control expenses pop up. An unexpected critter invasion can happen in the cleanest of houses, and when it makes a sudden appearance; a call to an exterminator can severely damage your budget.
A quarterly pest control service will protect you indefinitely, and you can plan out all the costs upfront, so you don’t take an immediate financial hit out of the blue.
Remember: Calling an exterminator to handle a pest problem is going to cost much more than quarterly pest control services.
Effective Preventative Measures
Quarterly pest control services are warrantied for a reason. They are extremely effective at preventing insects and other pests from invading your home. Depending on the company you work with and the type of services they provide, you may even be protected against rodents.
Along with these prevention benefits, you will not have to repair damage to your home caused by infestations, and you will not be exposed to the health issues and diseases that pests can bring into your home.
The Disadvantages of Quarterly Pest Control
There are a few disadvantages, but considering the benefits, they are fairly minimal, and not unexpected.
According to A Bee and Pest Pro, the cost of quarterly pest control services typically ranges between $110 and $310 per quarter. This will depend on the company you work with, the area you are located, and the size of your home. If you have a preexisting pest issue, that will likely incur another fee.
The cost isn’t much considering what the cost of damage to your home would be if you developed an infestation, but it can be seen as an added cost if you do not have an issue with insects.
Most pest control companies use chemical insecticides and pesticides to deal with pests and to prevent infestations. If you are sensitive to such things or if you just don’t want to use chemicals to prevent insect infestations, then these methods are not for you.
Talk to your pest control company about your options. You may be surprised at the safety of many of the chemicals used indoors and around your home.
What Do Pest Controls Services Actually Do
What exactly does the quarterly treatment of pest control mean? What exactly do they do to ensure that your house doesn’t become infested and that they aren’t just siphoning money off of you with “prevention treatment.”
The Treatment Process
As soon as the exterminator arrives, he will need to know what types of problems you are having and who the prime suspects are whether they are roaches, ants, ladybugs, etc. Depending on your type of problem, the exterminator will determine his correct course of action.
The technician will then go inside your home and spray along the interior perimeters of all the rooms. They will walk through every hallway and room of the house looking for locations that are usually bug hiding spots.
If there are problems specific to a certain area then they will take care of it immediately. Confirm with the exterminator the safeness of the insecticide, they are usually odor-free and safe after drying but you should always confirm.
After this interior treatment is done, they will move on to the exterior, he will walk to the outside of the house and treat the foundation which includes the windows and the doors. In doing so a barrier is created to keep the pests from the outside from coming in.
Make Sure a Pest Control Company is NOT a Scam
Most pest control companies are completely honest and open about their services, but this is not the case for all of them. Make sure the company you are working with is reputable. Here are some things you should be on the lookout to ensure that you’re working with a reputable company.
Make Sure the Company and Technician are Licensed
Say you call a company, even a reputable one, and they send a licensed technician to your house. Most states will require these technicians to be certified before they spray pesticides in your house, but some states are different.
They then show you the company’s license, and you agree to the estimate. At the time of the appointment; however, a different technician shows up and starts working, he will also be wearing the company uniform and have a company truck.
The problem is that some companies have one single professional that goes and passes all these tests and then “trains” the other employees while they are on the job. The employees that are actually working may not know how to use the chemicals properly, which is very dangerous.
Be sure to ask for the license of the person that actually works within your home.
Look Out for Free Inspections
These scammers go to different houses without an appointment and offer up a free pest inspection. The technician, who is probably not licensed, will enter your home and inspect it, and then tell you that there is evidence of termites, bed bugs, ants, or some other pest that needs to be dealt with right away. They sometimes even plant dead bugs in your home so they can “discover” them.
You should never hire someone that simply comes to your door and trust their word for a potential pest infestation. If you are concerned, go to a reputable company and hire a licensed exterminator.
Be Wary of Contracts You Can’t Cancel
Permanent contracts are one of the most frustrating scams in pest control. It starts off very legitimate. The pest control professional will give you a solid estimate, he shows up on time, and he does the job he was hired to do.
However, once he has finished, he says that a one-time treatment won’t eliminate everything. He will then tell you to sign a year-long contract to completely eradicate the pests. Even worse is that if there are still bugs after a year, the contract will renew.
Most states have laws to prevent these sort of self-renew contracts because many people will feel the need to sign if it means more effective pest control.
In reality, second treatments are not usually necessary if the pest control technician did their job properly. If there is a need for second treatment, then the technician should be able to tell you the reason why, but it should not take an entire year to eliminate a pest control issue, and you should never be cornered into signing a contract.
In essence, you end up paying these professionals for not doing their job properly.
This contract is different from a quarterly pest control service contract. Most quarterly pest control service contracts can be canceled at any time, and they offer preventative services with a guarantee as to the effectiveness of the services.
Bed Bug Box Scams
Bed bugs have always been a problem in major cities and are on the rise even now. They are a stubborn pest that bites and can cause health issues. Let’s be honest here; they are also just kind of creepy. No one wants to sleep with bugs living in their mattresses.
But because of this, some scammers have found that bed bugs are an effective way to exploit people. In this scam, the “professional,” who is usually not trained in pest control at all, will tell you they will kill your bed bugs with heat.
Now, heat will actually work to kill bed bugs if it is used on the entire house, and the temperature is maintained at 140 degrees Fahrenheit for a couple of hours.
In reality, the scammer will bring portable heaters to only parts of your home, and the bugs will move to cooler areas until the heat dies down. The bugs will then come back, and you will be right back where you started.
Pricing Should Be Fixed, Usually
This isn’t technically a scam, but be on the lookout for companies that give you an estimate of the cost for your pest control. Some disreputable companies will give you one price as an estimate but then bill you a much higher price, saying that it is difficult to predict the actual cost of a service.
This is mostly untrue. Most reputable pest control companies will give you an upfront cost for services that will not change after the service is done. If a service is going to cost substantially more, then you should be contacted before the service is completed.
Additionally, if you receive an estimate, your pest control professional should be able to give you a fair idea of what, if any costs will fluctuate, but this would only be necessary in very specific instances.
Green Pest Control
There are many natural or non-toxic ways to handle pest control, but we wary of pest control companies that claim to be “green” as there are no regulations placed on this term. Most pest control companies use chemicals, some of which are toxic, but many of which are safe to use around children and pets.
If a company claims to be “green,” you may want to find out what exactly they mean by the term, and make sure you aren’t paying a premium just for their name.
The Worst of the Worst
Occasionally those people who are going door to door offering home pest inspections are doing no such thing. Thieves will pose as pest control professionals. They will come in, pretend to inspect the home, and help themselves to any valuables the find along the way.
Be wary of letting any stranger into your home, whether they look the part or not.
Alternatives to Quarterly Pest Control
If you aren’t interested in quarterly pest control, there are likely more options available to you through your pest control company. Some offer semi-annual or yearly pest control services that work similarly to quarterly prest control. Of course, these are not as effective as quarterly pest control, and they likely do not come with the same warranties.
But if routine pest control just isn’t in your budget right now, you will need to take matters into your own hands. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so keep reading to find out some of the measures you will want to take to ensure that your home stays pest-free.
The benefit of taking pest control into your own hands is that you have complete control over what areas are sprayed, what is sprayed on them, and how they are sprayed. Many homeowners value this.
Here are some preventative measures you can take that will help keep your home pest-free if you don’t want to use a quarterly pest control service.
Check for Locations Pests Might Be Entering Your Home
The most common way is through tiny passageways, small insects can sneak through cracks and get through the tiniest of gaps. You may not be able to make your home completely bug-proof, but you can seal most of these gaps to stop many of them.
Make sure you have work clothes and get on the ground around the house’s exterior, go behind bushes and decks to examine its current state.
Take a mirror, pencil, and a flashlight with you. If you can stick the pencil through the hole, then the crack is big enough for a small mouth and many insects to fit through it. Inspect every inch of the house to make sure all the major gaps are closed off.
The best areas to look at are doors, wall penetrations, windows, dryer vents, roof vents, exhaust fans, and the foundation.
Keep Wood Away From Moisture
Most pests need to get moisture and water from their surroundings. If the wood is moist, it makes them a prime target for insect infestations like ants and termites.
If the soil around the wooden parts of your house is kept dry, it will be less tempting for insects to hide in.
To do this, you must rake the moist soil and mulch a distance away from the low wood and window frames. Make sure to turn the mulch periodically to keep the dampness levels down.
Pet Food Problems
Pet food should be stored in metal trash cans with tight lids. Mice cannot climb these vertical and slick cans, and simple plastic containers may also work if they are sealed tightly.
Only put out enough food that your pet will eat within the day. Feeders that allow your pet to eat as much as they want will also allow pests like mice and ants to eat as much as they want.
- Make sure everything is always washed and cleaned after every meal, this includes plates, utensils, pots, pans, and anything that touched the food.
- Any scrap of food should be put into trash cans that are tightly covered, and these trash cans should be taken outside every day.
- All leftovers should be in sealed containers.
- Make sure all appliances are cleaned, especially the backsides.
Inside Your Home
- Leaky plumbing needs to be fixed, and water must not accumulate in any areas. Houseplant trays and pet water dishes are generally overlooked.
- Don’t allow feces or urine to stay in the toilet, always flush.
- Clean the toilets properly and keep the septic tanks sealed tightly and securely.
- Screen windows and doors shouldn’t have any holes that will allow pests through.
- Steel wool should be used around the openings of pipes.
- Close off cracks and crevices in walls so that insects have no point of entry.
- Old stacks of papers, magazines, and newspapers should be thrown away.
Outside Your Home
- Get rid of all the clutter on your property, since pests will most likely start to establish colonies in boxes, debris, stacks of dry leaves, and old toys.
- Keep the lawn and plants trimmed and well maintained.
- Regularly hose down garbage cans, paths, and patios, so bugs aren’t attracted.
- Cushions on outdoor furniture need to be cleaned.
- Woodpiles and junk should be removed.
When You Should Really Use a Pest Control Company
Some problems are just too big for you to handle, and before you start extensive planning and buying supplies to take care of them, you should save time and money by handing it off to a professional.
Here are some of the most dangerous or stubborn insect to remove from your home or property:
- Cockroaches: These are a great example of an infestation that is most likely out of your hands due to their high resistance and their ability to repopulate quickly. Most methods that can be used by DIYers aren’t that effective, and if 5% of their total population survive, they will completely repopulate in a few months.
- Bedbugs: Bed bugs are another stubborn pest that is hard to get rid of. They are called bed bugs, but they don’t live in just beds. If any survive, they will repopulate. So if you’ve got bed bugs, it is best to call a pest control professional.
- Aggressive Wasps and Hornets: Aggressive species of wasps and hornets (spoiler: it’s most of them.) should really be handled by a pest control professional. If handled improperly, removing a wasp or hornet nest can be a life-threatening situation.
- Termites: Even if you suspect that you only have a localized termite issue, it is best to get a professional’s opinion simply because of the extent of the damage they can cause to your home.
Natural Pest Repellants for DIYers
There are many natural pest repellants that can safely be used around your home to prevent problems with pests.
- A universal, natural, pest repellant is peppermint castile soap mixed in with water. Apply this solution to all baseboards and flat surfaces in the house.
- Using a mixture of some essential oils, and grain alcohol in a spray bottle can be used to keep out flies, mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks from coming into your house.
- Putting coffee grounds around access points to your house can keep ants from coming in.
- Vinegar is very effective at keeping away spiders, combine this with water in equal parts and put this at access points as well to keep them out.
- Most people don’t realize that some plants and herbs will help keep out insects like mosquitoes. Planting nice plants like lavender, thyme, basil, lemongrass, and mint in and around your house will help keep them away.
- Plants that are within the Allium family can repel a large amount of garden destroying insects. Chrysanthemums will be able to take care of lice, bedbugs, fleas, roaches, and ants.
- Using carnivorous plants like the pitcher plant will result in insects that are lured and then eaten.
Handling Chemicals as a DIYer
Many online resources will be able to help you in purchasing pesticides and equipment for pest control as well as educating you on how to use them properly. This also means they have unique pest control strategies and pest identification methods. These man-made methods are longer and more effective than the natural ones, but they also carry some risks.
The first thing you should do is to try baiting rodents and insects. Baiting is effective and easy to keep away from your pets and children.
If spraying is a necessity, you can first start with a low toxicity spray to test effectiveness. Check the label of the products you are choosing to get information about the toxicity of the chemicals used and take any precautionary measures that are suggested seriously.
Lastly, do not store anything in pesticide containers, or switch them, look to the labels to learn where you can dispose of the containers safely.