When DIY Pest Control Won't Cut ItMissy Henriksen
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Five signs it's time to call in a pro
As a homeowner, you know there are some home projects you can
take on yourself (painting the guest room) and some that are better
left to the professionals (installing electrical wiring in the
basement). The same logic goes for pest control. In some cases,
do-it-yourself measures are fine but in others, it is best to call
in a pest professional to ensure the job is done correctly and
safely. So how do you know which pest scenarios are DIY-approved
and which are pro-worthy?
In most cases, the answer depends on the several factors,
including the type of pest, its threats to your family's health,
the potential for property damage and the size of the infestation.
For example, one lone yellow jacket that found its way into your
home is no cause for alarm. But a nest of yellow
jackets near your front porch? Time to call in the pros.
Specifically, here are a few pests that you should leave to the
Termites are especially
destructive pests that cause more than $5 billion in property
damage every year. These wood-eating insects use their scissor-like
jaws to chew through walls, floors and ceilings 24 hours a day,
seven days a week. This means that a termite infestation can cause
serious property damage and compromise the structural stability of
your home in a relatively short amount of time. What's worse,
damage from wood-boring insects like termites is not typically
covered by homeowners' insurance policies. Pest professionals are
trained to understand the unique biology and behaviors of termites.
They can perform routine inspections to spot early signs of a
problem, and if necessary, have the tools and know-how to
effectively treat an infestation.
2. Other wood-boring
Like termites, other wood-boring insects such as carpenter ants, carpenter
bees and powder post beetles should be taken seriously.
Carpenter ants, for example, excavate wood in order to build their
nests. Their excavation results in smooth tunnels inside the wood.
Carpenter bees, on the other hand, bore through soft woods to lay
eggs and protect their larvae as they develop. Powderpost beetles
can be equally as destructive. These beetles create tunnels in
unfinished wood during their larvae stage, reducing it to a fine,
flour-like powder. Once the powderpost beetles reach adulthood - as
much as a year to five years later - they emerge and lay eggs on
the wood, continuing the cycle. Given time, wood-boring pests can
damage important support beams in your home, resulting in expensive
3. Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are
certainly not a pest that should be handled on your own. For one,
they are notoriously elusive, often hiding out in
hard to detect places like behind electrical switches and under
wallpaper. A trained pest professional will know where bed bugs are
likely to hide in your home and can develop a treatment plan to
target the pests while ensuring the safety of your family and
To effectively treat a bed bug infestation all stages of the bed
bug life cycle must be treated, including bed bug eggs, nymphs
(babies) and adult bed bugs. Unfortunately, DIY pest control
methods are often ineffective against bed bug nymphs and eggs.
Attempts to control a bed bug infestation on your own may only
exacerbate the problem and give the infestation time to grow. And
bed bugs reproduce quickly - one female bed bug can lay one to five
eggs in a day and more than 500 in their lifetime, meaning that a
small infestation can quickly grow out of control.
In addition, homeowners that attempt to control a bed bug
infestation on their own often spend more money in the long run on
failed treatments. Some residents with bed bug infestations
unnecessarily throw out furniture, clothing and other personal
property in an attempt to control an infestation. In extreme cases,
seriously damaged their homes or
sickened their families by misusing pest control
Infestations of any type of stinging insect - such as wasps,
yellow jackets or fire ants -
should always be left up to the professionals. Stinging insects
pose serious health risks. In fact, they send half a million people
to the emergency room every year. A single colony of stinging
insects can contain anywhere from a few hundred to 80,000 members,
which can attack if their nest is threatened. Those with allergies
to insect stings are especially at risk, but if a large nest of
stinging insects attacks, it can be life threatening to anyone.
5. Reoccurring or heavy
No matter the type of pest, if you have an infestation that
keeps coming back no matter what you try, it's time to contract a
professional. Reoccurring pest infestations are a sign that your
home is just too enticing for pests. Perhaps a small access point
(such as a tear in a window screen or a crack in the foundation) is
providing easy access indoors for ants. Or perhaps a drip under the
bathroom sink is creating the perfect conditions for cockroaches.
Whatever it is, a trained pest professional will inspect your home,
determine the infestation and help you resolve it once and for
DIY methods are also no match for heavy pest infestations.
Because many pests pose serious health and property threats, a
sizable pest infestation should be left up to the professionals to
handle, before it can grow any larger.
As a homeowner, there are a lot of DIY
steps you can take to help prevent pests from finding their way
into your home, but even these are most effective when completed in
partnership with a pest professional. And, if you suspect you have
an infestation, your first step should always be to call a licensed
and trained pest professional. They will be able to properly
identify your pest problem and recommend an appropriate course of
treatment. To find a local, qualified pest professional in your
area, visit the PestWorld.org
zip code locator.