A mouse in the house? Tips for finding a qualified pest professional

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Saving a few bucks on do-it-yourself pest control isn’t worth the risks to your health and property, so call an expert.

(NewsUSA) — Have you grown accustomed to the sight of gnawed-on package corners, bread crumb trails or mouse droppings? Are your Frosted Flakes littered with meal moth wings and larvae? Have you noticed several connect-the-dot piles of sawdust from hungry termites or beetles?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you have a pest problem, and not the kind to be solved by a trip to the hardware store. Pest problems are best left to licensed and qualified pest professionals.

“Pests, such as mice and insects, can transmit diseases and cause severe allergic reactions.

Inhaling fumes from dead mice or their droppings can cause headaches, fever, nausea and diarrhea. That’s why we strongly encourage people to call an expert at the first sign of a pest infestation,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the National Pest Management Association.

However, weeding through the list of pest-control professionals can be a challenge. Some door-to-door pest experts will offer a free home inspection that leads to all sorts of costly treatments and lengthy procedures.

Henriksen offers the following tips on finding a trustworthy professional control agent:

Always deal with a qualified and licensed pest management company. Consider asking to see the license or other credentials of the pest control professional who comes to solve your pest problem.

Ask friends and neighbors to recommend pest control companies, and find out how satisfied they were with the service.

If large sums of money are required, get bids from several pest control companies to get the best deal.

Look into professionals that are members of national, state or local pest management associations like the NPMA.

Ask plenty of questions about the extent of your pest problem, how it’s to be treated and the work needed so there aren’t any unwelcome surprises on your bill.

Find out if the pest management company has liability insurance to cover any damages to your house or furnishings during the extermination process.

If your purchase comes with a guarantee, know explicitly what it covers, how long it lasts and whether any action is required to keep it in effect.

Get more information about pest management issues at www.pestworld.org — including pest prevention, identifying an infestation and how to find a pest professional.