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How to Know When to Hire a Pest Professional
Why Do-It-Yourself Measures Aren't Always Enough
When pests find their way indoors, homeowners are often tempted to try and control the problem on their own, but the truth is that most pests are better left to professionals. After all, pest professionals have the knowledge, tools and training to safely and properly eliminate pest infestations.
"When a homeowner attempts to treat a pest problem on their own, they are often treating the 'tip of the iceberg', and not the root cause of the problem," says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the NPMA. "The pests you see might be eliminated, but a larger infestation can continue to grow out of sight. These infestations can pose significant health risks to your family and cause damage to your property."
There are several pest scenarios that should always be handled by a professional. These include:
Termites and other wood-boring insects
Wood-boring insects like termites, carpenter ants, carpenter bees and powder post beetles can damage important support beams in your home, resulting in expensive repairs that are not typically covered by homeowners' insurance policies. Termites alone cause approximately $5 billion in property damage every year and are known as "silent destroyers" because of their ability to chew through wood, flooring and even wallpaper, silently and undetected, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This is even more concerning when you consider the fact that 52 percent of Americans have never had their home inspected for termites.
Bed bugs are notoriously elusive, hiding out in hard to detect places like behind electrical switches and under wallpaper. In addition, they are very hardy pests, having been known to live for several months without a blood meal, and withstanding a wide range of temperatures, from nearly freezing to 122 degrees Fahrenheit. In fact, according to the NPMA's Bed Bugs in America survey, bed bugs are THE most difficult pest to treat - more difficult than cockroaches, termites and ants! Even when working with a professional, it can take several treatments before the bugs are completely eliminated.
Stinging insects - such as wasps, yellow jackets or fire ants - should always be left up to the professionals. Many stinging insect species will swarm en masse if their nests are threatened, posing a serious health risk to homeowners. In fact, these pests send more than half a million people to the emergency room every year. Those with allergies to insect stings are especially at risk.
No matter the type of pest, if you have an infestation that keeps coming back, it's time to contact a professional. More likely than not, there is an underlying cause that needs to be addressed before the problem can really be resolved. A trained professional will be able to inspect your home, identify the infestation and determine a plan to treat the problem most effectively.
If you suspect you have an infestation, your first step should always be to call a qualified and licensed pest professional. They have the tools and know-how to properly identify your pest problem and recommend an appropriate course of treatment. They can also recommend DIY steps to prevent future problems.