Home owners have it a little easier than commercial property owners when it comes to controlling pests. For minor pest problems, detected early enough, a quick visit to the local hardware store or garden centre presents them with an array of pest control solutions they can implement themselves. And depending on the pest and the scale of the problem, many of these solutions do work.
But for commercial property and business owners, and for home owners with a more serious pest problem, DIY solutions are not a viable option. Some businesses and properties naturally attract certain pests, so a once-off approach makes no impact on controlling the pest problem, requiring the expertise of a pest control service, with ongoing maintenance. Given the damage pests can cause, both to reputation and to property, hiring a pest control service is necessary, but also requires a little forethought.
Identifying Pest Problems
Before you hire a pest control service, it helps to first identify the nature of your pest problem. This helps you establish whether the pest control service you contact is equipped to deal with your particular pest problem. Common pests that trouble Australian homes and businesses include:
- Bed bugs
Many of these require a specialised approach without which you are never going to have your pest problem properly controlled. Some are venomous, some carry disease, and some will cause considerable property damage. And not all of them can be controlled using insecticides or pesticides: bees and possums must be safely relocated, and birds need to be controlled by implementing measures that discourage them from nesting and roosting in and around your property, without harming them.
Establishing the Scale of Your Pest Problem
Many pests are able to establish themselves in a home or business without being detected, and it is only when the nest or colony is much bigger that you begin to see signs of their activity. By the time you happen to catch a glance of two or three cockroaches or a mouse scurrying for cover there are already many more that you aren’t seeing. This makes it extremely difficult for you to properly establish the true size of your pest problem, compounded by the fact that some pests reproduce at a higher rate than others.
A single female mouse can produce up to 60 young in a year, with each new mouse reaching sexual maturity in just 30 days. And a single cockroach is capable of producing more than 300 eggs in their lifetime. A professional pest control service is not only aware of the breeding cycle of different pests, they are also trained on behavioural traits, making it easier for them to establish the location of nests, and the size of the problem. At the same time, they will also look for structural damage caused by pests: mice and rats tend to chew through the insulation on electrical wiring, increasing the risk of electrical fires, while carpenter ants and termites can cause considerable structural damage to property before they are detected.
Why a One-Time Visit from Pest Control Might Not be Enough
Depending on the pest, and the size of the problem, a single visit from pest control might be enough, but this can only be determined by the pest control service. When calling for a quote you will be asked a few questions, such as:
- Is the problem in a residential home, or a business?
- What pest(s) are causing problems?
- How long have you been aware of it?
- Are the pests inside, outside, or both?
- Have they caused any damage that you are aware of?
Once you have received a quote, check if it is for a once-off service, or if it is for an initial visit with ongoing maintenance afterwards. Try to get a quote for both a once-off service, and a service that includes regular follow-ups and maintenance, that way if it turns out to be a problem that requires periodic maintenance, you already have an idea of the cost. It is important to note that the cost will be influenced by the type of pest, the size of the problem and your property, and whether or not a single visit and treatment will be sufficient.
For both a once-off and initial visit, the pest control professional will perform a thorough inspection of the property to properly assess the infestation, before identifying the location of the lair, nest, or colony, treating the problem, and also detecting possible entry points being used. They will also discuss measures you can implement yourself, such as how you can identify entry points, how to seal these, and steps you can take to make your home or business less appealing to pests.
For many pests, follow-up visits or regular maintenance are necessary. Even though pest control services are able to properly deal with many infestations after a single visit and treatment, the location of – and environment around – your property could make it more appealing or susceptible to certain pests. Ongoing maintenance – from once a month to once every three months – will ensure that these pests are kept out or controlled before they become a problem again. The long-term costs of ongoing treatment for pests is ultimately cheaper than retroactively responding to a pest problem when it has become too big to ignore, especially when it comes to pests that can damage property or pose a risk to your health and safety.