What to Expect on Your First Visit with a Pest Control Professional
So, you’ve noticed evidence around the house that you may have unwanted pests. What now? Whether you’ve got an infestation of ants, termites, cockroaches, or rats, it’s a good time to call in a pest control professional. Once you’ve made that first step, you may be wondering what exactly comes next.
While it’s good to realize that you do need to hire a pest control professional, it’s hard to know exactly how to proceed and what you can expect when the person actually gets to your home. After all this isn’t like ordering pizza or a pair of sunglasses off the internet. You’re having someone come into your home to look through all the dark corners and try to find evidence of insects or rodents. It’s unnerving, and even potentially embarrassing. The best thing you can do is be prepared and know what to expect so you don’t get caught off guard or feel awkward about what’s going on.
Depending on the pest control company you choose, there are a number of services they will be able to provide for you. This includes prevention and elimination of a number of pests, including:
- Rats and mice
- Millipedes and centipedes
- Nuisance animals like skunks, raccoons, opossums, and bats
Whatever you need the pest control specialist to address will have some effect on what happens during their first visit at your home. But regardless of the nature of the pest you’re dealing with — or even if it’s just a preventative measure because you don’t want pests to show up in the future — the initial inspection will likely proceed in a very specific way.
The Initial Inspection
Once you’ve called a pest control professional to come to your home they should arrive promptly and meet any safety protocols that you would expect. That means not only should they be in uniform, but especially during the covid-19 crisis you can expect that they will be wearing a mask as well.
They’re going to need to have access to your home inside and out. In particular they’re going to need to get into places that you don’t normally invite people to take a look at. This can include the corners of your basement or cellar, the attic of your home, inside cupboards and perhaps even behind appliances.
For many people this can be an anxiety-inducing situation. These are often the places that we don’t keep as clean as we might like, and it can be embarrassing to have a person come inspect these things. Additionally, because they are looking for evidence of pests, it can add an extra layer of embarrassment. Just remember that the professional is here to actually help you clean up this mess and they’re used to seeing it because it’s what they do.
During the interior inspection of your home the pest control specialist will want to check out any potential entry points. That means all the doors and windows in your home but also the places that are less obvious. That can be walls around pipes and drains that may not have been properly sealed or have come loose in some way. If you have a crawl space or an attic, they’re going to take a look in there as well to see if there are any openings through which pests can gain access to your home.
You can expect that an inspection of this kind will take some time. Depending on the size of your house, this may take well over an hour because they’re going to need to take a close look around all of these areas for cracks, crevices, and gaps through which pests can invade.
The professional will likely do some kind of a moisture check as well to see if you have any leaks or low-lying areas that don’t drain properly. These are the kind of places that attract pests and can keep them coming back.
The pest control specialist will need to do a review of the outside of your home as well. Sometimes it’s easier to find cracks outside the house than it is inside. If there are visible access points outside, even if you can’t see them from the inside, they still indicate that there are places where pests can be gaining entry and filtering throughout the walls of your home. These things will need to be accounted for and treated later on when the specialist is able to actually start their work.
Other signs that they are going to look for outside can include areas of visible infestation, including things like signs of garbage being torn up, nesting materials, and so on.
Once the pest control specialist has done a thorough inspection inside and outside of your home, they will review their findings with you. This review should cover all the observations they’ve made about any active evidence of a pest infestation whether that’s signs of nests, waste from pests, or actually seeing the pests themselves. In addition, they can point out any places they noticed which seemed like vulnerabilities in your home. Cracks in the foundation, holes in walls, unsealed windows and doors, any place that could be subject to allowing pests entry to your home.
Depending on the pest control company you’re going with, you may actually get an official report in writing that covers all the findings that the pest control specialist was able to observe. It’s likely the inspector will spend some time in their vehicle or at the office afterwards putting this together for you, but you should also be able to have a conversation on the spot once they’re done that goes over the basics for you if you’re interested. If they are writing something up, then they’ll likely need a few minutes alone just to handle this.
Once the pest-control professional has concluded their examination and put together a review or report, this is when they will likely bring you into the fold to devise a plan for how you’d like to proceed. This can vary greatly depending on the nature of the problem you have and how you want to go about addressing it. Obviously if you have signs of a rat infestation then your plan is going to be different than if there’s no sign of infestation, but you are worried about termite prevention in the future, for instance.
The professional should clearly go over everything that they’ve found so you’re aware of any potential problem areas and they should also be able to offer you several ideas for how to approach them. Additionally, they should be able to clue you in to whatever precautions you need to take before proceeding with the next steps. That can include whether or not you’re going to need to leave your home for a few hours while they treat it or if you need to worry about your pets being around areas that are going to be treated.
Once you’re both on the same page with what needs to be done, the technician will likely be able to start a treatment right away if the situation merits it. If you have an active ant infestation, for instance, they should be able to either spray the area or put out traps depending on how you want to proceed. They will also be able to advise you about any kind of follow-up that you may need to do on your own. Whether that’s simply observing the area and calling them back if you notice a return of the infestation, or other steps to actively take to keep your home pest free, you’ll be able to work that out together to your satisfaction.
Finally, during this time, you should be able to plan for how they’ll help control your pest situation going forward. You may want to invest in a plan that sees them returning on a seasonal basis to help remove and prevent any pests, or you may just need to be reassured that a follow-up visit is a possibility in case of a return of the infestation.
The Bottom Line
On average, a visit from a pest-control professional could cost around $150 to $200. Again, this is heavily dependent on the kind of infestation you have and how you want to proceed with it. If you want to deal only with an active infestation or prevent future ones, it’s going to alter how the professional provides the service and the cost you’re going to pay for it.
The best thing you can do is be well educated about what needs to be done. That’s why these initial visits are so important. It allows a professional to get the lay of the land around your home and offers insight that you may not have had about how any potential infestations are manifesting, or what can be done to prevent future ones. It’s an opportunity for both you and the professional to get educated about what needs to be done and develop a plan to make it as simple and stress-free going forward to keep your home pest free.