Tips for hiring pest controllers

By John North - Guest columnist

As the temperature rises, little critters make their way into and around your home. While many people try to tackle pests with traps and sprays, some people prefer professional pest control services. Better Business Bureau offers advice to keep the bugs from bugging you.

Over the past year, more than 8,400 complaints locally were compiled about pest control services. Nationally, almost 1 million inquiries and about 3,400 complaints were recorded about this industry.

When searching for a trustworthy exterminator, BBB suggests these tips:

• Consider a company’s reputation and years of service.

• Ask for references and be sure to contact them.

• Shop around and get several quotes. Don’t settle for the lowest bid. Buy value, not price.

• Check with family and friends. If they’re happy with a company they’ve used, most likely you’ll be too.

• Ask if the exterminator belongs to any professional associations, like the National Pest Management Association.

• Understand the nature of the household pest to be exterminated, the extent of the infestation and the work necessary to solve the problem.

• Get a written contract, which details the work to be completed. Don’t sign anything until all blanks are completed. Get verbal promises in writing as well.

• Get any guarantees in writing too. Know what they cover, how long they last, what you must do to keep it in force, etc.

• Ask about chemicals being used. The technician should be willing to discuss them, any possible adverse effects and any nonchemical options.

• Never pay up front. A legitimate, trustworthy company won’t do business that way.

• Make sure the company is properly licensed and insured.

• Avoid anyone who shows up uninvited to your home offering a free pest inspection. You may end up with bugs or be pressured to sign up for services you don’t need.

• Ask questions.

Additionally, there are a few ways you can help keep out pests. Be sure to practice proper sanitation and good home maintenance. In addition, keep your gutters and downspouts free of debris. Keep trees and shrubs away from the house. Avoid stacking firewood or loose lumber close to your home. Also, seal any cracks or small openings you may have in your house.

Remember, if you have any questions regarding exterminators, get help from your BBB, such as a list of BBB-accredited businesses in the industry and business profiles of ones you’re considering. Visit or call 800-776-5301. You can also contact the Ohio Department of Agriculture, attorney general’s office or the Environmental Protection Agency to determine if complaints have been filed against pest control companies or its applicators for misusing pesticides.

By John North

Guest columnist

The writer is president of the Better Business Bureau of Dayton.

The writer is president of the Better Business Bureau of Dayton.