Spring has sprung, which means it’s that time of year again: pest season.
As winter breaks and spring encroaches, many pests are coming out of hibernation. That’s bad news for your house, which is the favorite hideaway for many critters. And many of them bring a rash of problems indoors with them, from diseases to structural damage.
We’re here to make springtime brighter, allowing you to focus on the flowers and not your attic’s rent-free tenants. If you’re looking for Eagle pest control, keeping reading for a comprehensive guide on the pests you’re likely to encounter in your home and how to choose a pest control company to deal with them.
Common Pests in Idaho
Unfortunately, there are pests in every far flung corner of the world. If humans have made homes there, pests have inevitably followed.
The first step in effective pest control is recognizing the types of pests that can infest your house. Here’s a quick review of common culprits in Eagle, Idaho.
Mickey and Minnie (Rodents)
When you say the word “pests,” rodents and cockroaches are usually the first things to come to mind. Or rather, mice are the first thing that come to mind. The truth is that several types of rodents can infest your house–sometimes at the same time.
And if you don’t know which rodents you’re dealing with, you’ll have a hard time trapping them.
The three most common types of rodents seen in North American infestations are:
- House mice
- Norway rats
- Roof rats
This is more than an issue of semantics. Rats are much bigger than mice, so mousetraps won’t do you much good for a rat infestation. Rats and mice also behave quite differently–mice are curious and will investigate anything new, while rats are cautious and will avoid new things in their path until they become accustomed to it.
On this premise alone, you need completely different trapping methods for rats versus mice. A mousetrap should be directly in a mouse’s path–if you don’t catch a mouse with it in the first few days, it’s in the wrong place and should be moved. For rats, you have to place an unset trap in a rat’s path for a while before placing a set trap, or the rat won’t approach it.
They also infest different areas. Mice prefer to build a hidden nest near their food source and will use just about any soft material to build a nest, but they rarely burrow. Rats will happily burrow, through the Norway rat is the only one who lives in burrows–roof rats nest in attics, walls, and trees.
Because these rodents nest in different places, you can have multiple infestations at once. That’s bad news, because the three species do not get along. Roof rats and Norway rats will fight each other to the death, and mice will avoid all rats on principle because rats eat mice.
Cockroaches are among the top three most dreaded pests out there, along with ticks and bed bugs. They’re also one of the most difficult insects to kill.
Cockroaches are one of the most resilient bugs out there, thanks to their exoskeletons, which are made up of overlapping plates connected by a stretchy membrane, firm enough to offer protection but flexible enough to compress and shift energy to the roach’s legs. These exoskeletons allow them to withstand compression forces between 300 to 900 times their body weight.
In regular English: you can smash a cockroach with a hammer and it probably won’t die.
Cockroaches are quite flexible in their eating habits. In fact, food is typically what attracts them. Despite their close association with filth, cockroaches don’t care about dirtiness–they care about the crumbs and scattered food bits that invariably go along with it.
They’ll eat almost anything that humans eat and plenty of things we don’t, though they don’t feed on humans and don’t generally mind humans except for the promise of an easy dinner. Any crumbs on the floor are enough to attract a cockroach, even if you think the crumbs are tiny.
That said, cockroaches can be attracted to a house even if it’s relatively clean. And they’re difficult to kill on your own once they’ve set up shop. The only effective way to wipe out these buggers is by hiring an exterminator.
Jerks with Wings (Stinging Insects)
The birds and the bees are cute…just not when they’re in your attic. Unfortunately, several types of stinging insects love to take up residence in your attic where it’s dry and protected–the perfect place to set up a hive.
Common types of stinging insects include:
- Honey bees
- Yellow jackets
- Fire ants
If you know your stinging insects, you know that not all of them die when they sting. Honey bees die when they sting because their stinger is pulled out of their body, so they’ll only sting if they feel they need to protect themselves or their hive.
Wasps and hornets, however, can keep stinging multiple times, and they will if you disturb them.
Stinging insects are generally inclined to leave humans alone if they’re left alone, but they don’t make good renters. A hive can seriously weaken the wood in your attic, and a hive growing unchecked can eventually cause the wood to give out. That’s bad news for anyone unlucky enough to be standing nearby.
Tiny Vampires (Bed Bugs)
“Don’t let the bed bugs bite!” is a surprisingly cute expression for an insect that inspires instinctive revulsion.
Bed bugs are often confused with other big bads of the bug world (cockroaches, ticks, etc.) The reality of bed bugs is both better and worse than you think. On one hand, you don’t need to decapitate them or light them on fire to kill them–they’re actually rather easy to kill, if you can catch all of them.
On the other hand, despite their reputation, bed bugs don’t care about filth. They’re not attracted by food crumbs or clutter. They’re parasites, which means they only care about one thing: blood from a warm-blooded host (you, your kids, your pets, etc.)
Also, despite their name, they’re experts at hiding. They like to hide in beds because it gives them easy access to their host while the host is asleep (and thus less likely to kill them) but bed bugs will hide anywhere they can reasonably access a host (couches, chairs, blankets, walls, curtains, suitcases, even clothes, if they can use the clothes to hitch a ride).
Why You Need Professional Pest Control
So, now that you know what squatters might be living under your roof, you can take a deep breath. After all, pests don’t infest tidy, well-kept houses, right?
Not so fast.
The truth is that pests are attracted to a house for any number of reasons, many of which have nothing to do with cleanliness. Sure, cockroaches love dirty spaces because they’re more likely to get free dinner, but rodents often like houses because they provide more shelter from predators than the great outdoors.
And because several different types of pests can take up residence concurrently, you need professional pest control to live truly pest-free.
DIY Isn’t Doing Enough
While it may be tempting to tack on DIY pest control as part of your spring cleaning, the truth is that DIY pest control options don’t do enough.
Most of the time, DIY pest control only scratches the tip of the iceberg.
That’s because DIY pest control options are designed to deal with the visible signs of infestations. In reality, the visible signs of an infestation are merely the obvious indicators of a much deeper problem. Catching a mouse is helpful, but unless you can root out the nest, mice will just keep coming back.
A professional pest control company knows how to find subtle signs of infestation. They can help you identify how severe the problem really is, and may be able to identify problems you didn’t even notice. Better still, they know how to address pest infestations in their entirety so that you can return to your life with a clean slate.
Pests Pose Real Health Hazards
In addition, several posts pose significant health hazards to you and your loved ones.
Racoons, for example, are common carriers of rabies, a fatal but preventable virus which infects humans almost exclusively through animal bites and attacks the central nervous system.
Ticks also carry the bacteria which is responsible for Lyme disease, which causes flu-like symptoms but can spread to the nervous system and heart and cause severe issues if left untreated.
In addition, some pests do not carry disease but are dangerous simply by virtue proximity. Bee and wasp sting allergies are quite common. Some people are even allergic to mice and rats. If a pest takes up residence in a house where someone has life-threatening allergies, you’re playing a dangerous game of chicken.
Damage to Property
Pests can also cause major damage to your property, and severe infestations can be quite expensive to fix.
Termites, for example, are known to burrow through wood. The size of a termite means that a single termite burrow won’t hurt your walls too badly, but a severe termite infestation can leave your walls structurally unstable.
Even mice and rats can cause major property damage. Remember, mice will chew on anything that might be useful in building their nests. And while mice don’t generally burrow, they can certainly take advantage of small holes in your home. Rats do burrow, and they’re big enough that their chewing can quickly cause damage.
Last but not least, pest control is just as important for your mental health as your physical health.
For some people, even the suggestion of unwanted visitors is enough to cause significant stress and anxiety. They can also exacerbate preexisting mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and controlled bipolar disorder, as you’re struggling to view your home as a safe, unthreatening place.
Ultimately, a pest-free home is a happy, healthy one. Why wouldn’t you make an investment in your own wellbeing?
What to Look for in Eagle Pest Control Services
Whether you’re dealing with an infestation or worried that you might have one, a pest control company can bring you some much-needed peace of mind.
The key is finding the right pest control company for the job.
We know that finding the right expert is challenging, especially for the average homeowner who may not know what to look for. Here’s what you can do to ensure you hire the right pest control team.
Do Your Homework
The single best thing you can do for yourself and your household is to do your homework.
When many people discover an infestation (or suspect they have one) they want to take immediate action. They want exterminators in tomorrow, and they want the infestation gone ASAP. For those who are concerned about allergies connected to an infestation, this can be especially troubling.
We understand that infestations are deeply upsetting. We also know that it’s vital to get rid of major health risks as soon as possible.
However, most problems can wait a few days while you find a pest control company that is qualified and equipped to deal with the problem. More to the point, a high-quality pest control company will help ensure that you’ve completely dealt with the problem, preventing pest issues in the future.
Plus, it pays to find a competent, well-priced company instead of rushing. If you pay extra for a company that does a bad job, you’re going to end up paying extra to have a different company come in for a second time.
Instead of scrambling to find the first available company, take some time to do your research. If you’re allergic, stay with a friend or loved one while you do this. Ask friends and family for recommendations and generate a list of prospects. Do your homework on their pricing and available services.
Then, give them a call. Ask them to explain what they can do to assist you and how their fees work. If you like what you hear, ask for a consultation–most companies provide free estimates.
License, Certification, and Insurance
One non-negotiable area is licensing, certification, and insurance.
In Idaho, professional pest control technicians must be licensed by the state in order to apply restricted-use and general-use pesticides in residential and commercial environments.
When you call a pest control company, ask to see their license. It must be current and valid within the state for them to operate legally. Don’t be shy about asking–any pest control company worth their salt will gladly provide proof of licensing. And if they kick up a stink, hang up the phone and go elsewhere.
In addition, you should do your homework on any city- or region-specific licensing for technicians, as this is one more sign that the company is willing to invest in high-quality, trained professionals.
Lastly, you should ask to see proof of insurance. Most pest control companies will carry general liability insurance, which will offer you some protection if something goes wrong while they’re treating your home. They may also carry workmen’s compensation insurance, which will protect you if an employee is injured on your property.
While companies are not legally required to carry insurance, you should think twice about hiring a contractor without insurance. If something goes wrong in your home, you’ll be liable for the fallout.
Another sign of investment in high-quality work is membership with local, state, or national professional organizations. Idaho, for example, has the Idaho Pest Management Association, which offers a member directory.
This is not as much of a requirement as licensing and insurance. Pest control companies are not obligated to become members of such organizations before they are allowed to operate.
That said, membership in such organizations is informative. Organizations often update their members on new pest control techniques, training, research, and new regulation in the field. Membership signals a concern for quality and an investment in providing the best possible experience to customers.
That said, a company’s track record can often speak for itself.
Don’t let a salesperson answer this question for you–remember, their job is to sell their company. Instead, do some digging on the kind of work the company performs. Look at reviews. If you know a friend or family member who hired this company in the past, ask for their honest insight.
On the flipside, you can also call your local regulatory agency to see if they’ve had any complaints about the company in the past. This doesn’t replace the power of testimonials, but it is helpful to know that a company is squeaky clean.
Finally, you should look for a company that guarantees the quality of its work–and be wary of companies that do not.
The goal of any pest control company should always be quality. If a company has invested in the best people, tools, and training, they should be able to guarantee a quality experience.
It’s also important to ask what you, as a customer, have to do in order to keep your end of the bargain. A termite control company, for example, might void their guarantee if you make structural changes to your home without giving prior notice to the pest control company.
Beware of Companies That…
There are plenty of fly-by-night pest control companies whose goal is to prey on desperate, scared people. Any company like this will not offer you the services you need–and may do more harm than good.
Some pest control companies are quite obvious about it. Think door-to-door sales targeting the elderly or infirm, or those who arrive out of the blue to show you insects found in a neighbor’s yard as signs of a neighborhood pest problem.
However, some companies are more subtle, preying on what people do not know. For example, if a company claims to have a “secret formula”, run the other way. All pesticides must be registered by the U.S. EPA and the States Department of Agriculture.
Conversely, if a company tries to say they are endorsed by the EPA or the Department of Agriculture, you should still run the other way. Government agencies DO NOT endorse a private service company or any pesticide product.
And speaking of pesticide, ignore companies that try to offer you a quote based on the gallons of pesticides used. Termite control can require several hundreds of gallons of diluted insecticide, depending on the severity of the infestation. It’s also difficult for a company to know how many gallons of insecticide they’ll need to deal with an infestation, so they’re probably scamming you.
Basically, if it seems questionable, it probably is. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Do your homework and don’t let desperation or fear do the talking.
Looking for Eagle Pest Control Services?
If you’re in the market for Eagle pest control services, we would be proud to bring peace of mind back to you and your family. We offer industry-leading guarantees and smart preventative programs to help ensure that your home stays pest-free for the whole year. We’re locally owned and operated pest experts, with technicians offering 20 years of pest control experience.
If you’re ready to reclaim your home for your family, let’s talk about what we can do to help. Get in touch today for a free inspection and quote with a flexibility guarantee.