How to choose a pest management company

A pest company should be licensed and insured.

If you want to rid your home of a bed bug infestation, your best bet is to act quickly and bring in a qualified, licensed and insured pest management professional. You will want to be sure that the pest you have is actually a bed bug. A pest management professional can help you with identification. According to the Michigan State University Extension bulletin, “Choosing a Pest Management Company,” you should take the same time and care in choosing a pest management professional as you would in choosing a doctor or an auto mechanic.

While you want to act quickly to address your bed bug problem, it is important not to cut corners when looking for the right company to address your needs. You may ask friends, neighbors or co-workers for recommendations. Get estimates from several different companies. Ask them for references and follow up by calling those references. Choose the company based on their quality of service, not solely on the price they charge.

You may also use phone and web directories to find listings. Some companies may list themselves as bed bug specialists. You’ll want to look for companies that advertise themselves as “integrated pest management” services. They will be more likely to inspect and monitor conditions, and they’ll use a more comprehensive approach when treating an infestation. Always make sure that the company you choose is licensed by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (check the list of currently licensed pest management companies in Michigan at www.michigan.gov/bedbugs).The company should be a member of a professional organization, such as the National Pest Management Association, or the Michigan Pest Management Association. The company should also have an entomologist on staff or access to such a specialist.

Do not rely on advertising alone or on sales pitches when making your decision. Choosing a Pest Management Company suggests checking with the following organizations when researching pest management companies: Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division, 1-800-292-3939; Michigan Office of the Attorney General, Consumer Protection Division, 1-877-SOLVE-88 and the Better Business Bureau.

Michigan State University Extension has partnered with the Michigan Department of Community Health to address the bed bug issue. For information on how to prevent or treat bed bug infestations, visit the Michigan Department of Community Health website, www.michigan.gov/bedbugs

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