A roach scurrying across your kitchen floor, the skittering sound of paws coming from your attic, the telltale sign of wood damage left behind by termites: these are clear signs of a pest problem. No matter where you live, sooner or later you’re probably going to have a pest control issue.

If you spot an unwanted guest—whether it’s a raccoon, hornet, termite, roach, ant, or squirrel—don’t hesitate to call on the experts to help. Waiting to fix the problem can lead to health concerns for you and your family, and a delay in treatment gives critters plenty of time to damage your home.

Once you call a pest control expert, the first decision you’ll need to make is whether you need an indoor or outdoor treatment plan (or a combination of both). Indoor and outdoor pest control service plans target different areas of your home and property and use different methods for exterminating pests.

Not sure which option is best for your home? Keep reading to learn more!

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Indoor Pest Control Services

close-up of chewed electrical chord with mouse in the background

When the bug or wildlife invasion of your home is already underway, an intervention of the indoor kind is usually necessary. Indoor pest control plans typically involve pesticide application and a thorough inspection of your home to determine whether pest exclusion is necessary.

If the pests that have taken up residence in your house are especially persistent, your pest control professional may need to resort to alternative extermination methods, such as fumigation. Bedbugs also warrant special treatment.

Pesticide application

If your pest problem is serious enough, it may justify applying pesticides within your home. Rather than using a spray wand to squirt chemicals along the length of your baseboards, a modern pest management professional is likely to apply pesticides more judiciously and safely.

For example, when treating indoors, a technician will probably use pesticides in the form of baits, gels, dust, or granules, which are less likely to get on humans and pets than aerosolized liquids. In general, a technician will treat areas inaccessible to children and pets, like inside cracks and crevices, behind switches and outlets, and in attics and basements.

If you’re wary of applying any synthetic chemicals, don’t worry; plenty of companies also offer green pesticide options with fewer or no chemical additives.

Pest inspection and rodent exclusion

Many bugs, such as cockroaches and termites, prefer a warm, damp environment in which to breed. Rodents, like squirrels and mice, can live in a home throughout the year, using its attic, basement, or walls to keep their young away from predators—all a mouse or squirrel needs to get inside a home is a half-inch gap.

To head off the problem, your pest control technician will inspect your home to identify points of entry and possible nesting areas for nuisance insects and wildlife. Once the exterminator has found all the areas where critters could be making their way into your house, he or she will begin the exclusion process.

In most cases, exclusion involves relatively straightforward steps, such as:

  • Caulking or sealing gaps in window and door frames
  • Closing any openings around plumbing or ventilation pipes
  • Making recommendations for landscape changes around the home’s foundation to eliminate vegetation that could serve as a comfy home for critters.

Fumigation

Fumigation is usually reserved for infestations so serious that normal means of pest removal are not enough. If you’re dealing with an active, advanced termite infestation, for example, fumigation may be the only way to kill the termites living in your home’s structure.

During fumigation, a team of pest control experts will enclose your home in a large tent. The exterminator will then release a pesticide in gas form into the enclosed area, which poisons or suffocates the vermin trapped inside.

No one will be able to enter the house for at least several days. Ask your pest control expert for specifics, but keep in mind that some pesticides take longer to work than others. The house must also be completely ventilated once the treatment is complete to remove any traces of the pesticide gas. Make arrangements to stay with family or friends or at a hotel for the duration of the fumigation.

Bedbugs

Bedbugs have been featured in the news as a common pest problem, especially in urban areas, and they’re very difficult to exterminate fully. However, many pest control companies offer bedbug-specific eradication methods, including treatment with high heat, pesticide dust or aerosol, and, in severe cases, fumigation.

Eradicating bedbugs requires a multipronged approach, and you’ll need to do your part. In addition to professional treatment measures:

  • Launder all your linens and textiles—sheets, comforters, blankets, towels, and curtains—on the highest heat setting, using borax as a washing machine additive. Dry everything on your dryer’s highest heat setting.
  • Vacuum floors and furniture, including mattresses and upholstered furniture, frequently. Remove the vacuum bag each time you vacuum, seal it in plastic, and place the bag in your outdoor trash can.
  • Install bedbug interception devices around the legs of the beds in your house.

Talk to your exterminator to make sure you’re taking the right measures to prevent bedbugs from returning, and stick to a regular pest inspection schedule to catch any reoccurring problems before they get out of hand.

A note about indoor pest control service: Since it’s important to minimize human exposure to pesticides, seek out holistic treatment programs that combine synthetic chemicals with natural solutions and strategies like pest exclusion repairs. A pest control pro can help identify your problem and design a treatment to target that specific pest without impacting you or your family members and pets.

Outdoor Pest Control Services

used tire filled with standing water used as a breeding ground for mosquitoes

Outdoor pest service typically focuses on eradicating specific kinds of pests that originate outside of the home, like mosquitoes, ticks, and fire ants. While these pests might not make their way inside your home, they can affect your enjoyment of your yard.

If mosquitoes or other pests are making your lawn an unpleasant place to be, call a pest control company that provides outdoor service. This is especially important if you have kids or pets that regularly play outside. Vector-borne diseases such as West Nile virus, Zika, and Lyme disease are a very present concern these days, so don’t chalk up frequent mosquito and tick bites to normal hazards of being outside.  

An added bonus of outdoor pest control is that it often acts as a barrier to insects and rodents that might otherwise make their way indoors.

Pesticide placement

Your exterminator should apply pesticides outdoors as responsibly as he or she would inside your home. Ask your pest control company if they typically apply an aerosolized pesticide around the perimeter of the house. If they do, be sure to ask if they have a policy in place for reapplication in the case of rain soon after treatment. Don’t forget to point out delicate and/or edible plants that the technician should avoid.

If you’d prefer to avoid spray pesticides outside, ask your exterminator about low-risk pesticides like boric acid and diatomaceous earth. The best outside pest control technicians will know how to use those options effectively and without harming the rest of the yard. If you have specific problem pests, your exterminator will likely recommend baited traps.

Exterior exclusion repairs

Caulking holes around plumbing, fixing gaps around doors and windows, and encapsulating or sealing basements and crawl spaces are effective ways to discourage pests from entering your home.

Around the exterior of your home, your pest control technician should pay special attention to any breaches in the home’s exterior cladding. For example, weep holes—small openings near the foundation of brick walls that allow moisture to exit the home—should be covered with screens or treated with pesticide.

Habits of highly effective pest control

As a homeowner, you can supplement a professional approach by making your yard less attractive to pests.

  • Eliminate food and water sources for pests by ensuring your garbage cans are properly sealed and removing any containers that collect rainwater
  • Stack firewood and pile mulch away from the house
  • Make sure your grass and shrubbery are trimmed regularly

Don’t forget that certain plants attract beneficial insects that prey on problem pests; consult your pest control professional for tips on how to manage your yard to make it as inhospitable as possible to vermin.

A note about outdoor pest control service: The cost of outdoor service is often dictated by the size of your lawn and the variety of pests you’re trying to eliminate.

A Special Note About Termites

termite damage on wall studs

While other pests can be nuisances or even affect the health and wellbeing of you and your family, termites cause about two billion dollars’ worth of damage to dwellings in the US every year.

Termite treatment methods vary depending on the specific home and infestation—there really isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to termites, unfortunately. Pesticides that target termites are divided into two broad categories: liquid treatments and baiting stations.

Liquid termite treatments

Liquid termite treatments are further divided in repellant and non-repellant formulations.

Repellant treatments prevent termites from making their way into your house. They can’t get to their food source, so they die off. Termites that are already in the house eventually die because they can’t get to the soil.

Non-repellant treatments directly kill the termites in the treatment area.

Baiting stations

Termite baits are made of material that termites find especially delicious—usually a paper product—mixed with a poison. Termites are attracted to the food in the bait stations, and as they consume it and bring it back to their nest, the entire colony slowly dies.

Don’t try to treat a termite infestation yourself! Always call a termite professional. The pros will assess the extent of the problem and design a custom solution. Be sure to carefully read the details of the plan and the warranty—in many cases, the company will re-treat if termites return.

The Bottom Line

line of ants on a white wall

Pest control requires a great deal of skill and knowledge, and Best Pick pest and termite control professionals stay up to date on current research and treatment methods. No matter the critter you’re dealing with, a Certified Best Pick will put together a plan to get the problem taken care of—we guarantee it.

Remember these general rules of thumb:

  • If a pest is making itself known indoors, you’ll need immediate indoor treatment. Your pest control professional will probably need to do an outside assessment and treatment, too.
  • If you’r

    e looking at preventative measures, have a less urgent pest situation, or have a pest problem outside of the home, such as mosquitoes, an outdoor service plan is the way to keep those unwanted bugs and wildlife away from your home and out of your yard.

The unwanted presence of pests in and around your home is stressful. Though controlling the problem may seem impossible, you have a wealth of options to get pests out of your house and off your property. Work with a Best Pick, and before you know it, you’ll be able to enjoy your home the way it was meant to be enjoyed: pest-free.

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