Don’t get bugged by harmful pests this summer–tips for hiring the right exterminator

It happens every summer: warmer temperatures bring out bugs you don’t want in or around your home. It can be more than just an annoyance, especially in Texas, which is at risk of mosquito-borne viruses like West Nile and chikungunya.

Your BBB generally sees an increase in consumer inquiries for pest control businesses during these summer months as people try to prevent invasive and potentially harmful bugs. It’s important to be sure you hire a company you can trust. Nationally, Better Business Bureau received more than 4,000 complaints regarding pest control services in 2013. Most alleged work not being completed according to signed contracts, billing issues or unmet guarantees.

Keep the following advice in mind before hiring a pest control service:

Research the company. Check any pest control company’s BBB Business Review at before signing a contract. Look at the company’s rating, how it has responded to customer complaints and any advertising issues use to find a local BBB Accredited pest control service.

Compare prices. Solicit bids from at least three different pest control companies before making a decision. BBB provides a free Request a Quote service to make it easier to gather estimates from local BBB Accredited Businesses.

Ask about safety. Because pesticides and pest control products could be dangerous to touch or inhale, be sure to ask the company about the safety of the chemicals they use. Let the company know if you have pets, children or sensitive plants as that may impact the products they select for your home.

Check for licensing and insurance. Make sure the company meets state licensing requirements by verifying with the Texas Department of Agriculture. Also, be sure to ask for proof of the company’s insurance and coverage for any potential property damage or personal liability.

Get it in writing. Make sure all guarantees are clearly stated in writing with details about the service agreement. Be sure you understand what the company will do if pests continue or come back after treatment.

Carefully review your contract. Be sure you fully understand the nature of the pest to be exterminated, the extent of the infestation, and the work necessary to solve the problem.