Choosing the Right Exterminator

Written By Ahmed Raza
Reviewed By Diary Trend Staff

The first step in dealing with a pest issue in your home is confirming you actually have one. Many critters and insects can seem like “pests” when spotted, but may just be harmless passersby that got inside on accident. However, frequent sightings and clear signs of nesting behaviour indicate a more serious underlying infestation that calls for an exterminator.

Common Household Pests

Common intruders include mice, rats, roaches, ants, bed bugs, spiders, flies, fleas, and termites. These species live and reproduce quickly, requiring swift removal before they take over your home. Being familiar with what these pests look like and their droppings, egg casings, sheddings, and other calling cards can help you identify what exactly you’re dealing with.

Signs of an Infestation

More important than a visual sighting is tangible evidence of a larger population’s presence. Look for things like small black specks from roaches, rodent droppings, termite swarms, pepper flakes from bed bugs shedding, spider webs in corners, larvae casings, and ant trails. Pay special attention in kitchens, attics, basements, and around pipes and drains. If unequivocal signs keep appearing, bring in the professionals before things spiral out of control.

Types of Exterminators

Once convinced you need an exterminator, deciding which type will likely depend on the pest issue, your budget, location, and environmental preferences.

National vs Local Companies

Large franchised exterminator brands tout reliability with their widespread locations, scheduled prevention plans, and money-back guarantees. However, local independent Exterminators generally offer comparable pest removal skills and products for lower prices since they have less overhead. They may also be more familiar with pests common regionally.

Green vs Traditional Treatments

“Green” exterminators focus on eco-friendly methods for sensitive customers concerned about toxic chemicals being used in their homes. They promote organic products or non-chemical traps alongside improved sanitation and home maintenance. Traditional exterminators utilize faster-acting and often more affordable commercial-grade insecticides and rodenticides without those constraints. However, the intense chemicals come with safety and contamination risks for kids and pets in the home during treatment.

Questions to Ask Before Hiring

Whether deciding between local or national, green or traditional, or just generally comparing exterminator options, asking the right questions is key to finding the best fit.

Experience and Licensing

Be sure to ask how long they’ve been in business, what specific training and licensing their technicians hold, what pests they specialize in, and how many satisfied customers they serve. Reputable companies will openly discuss credentials, highlight premier brands they partner with, and connect you to happy customer referrals.

Treatment Plans and Products

Ask exterminators to walk you through their typical extermination process from start to finish. They should assess your layout and conditions first to create a tailored treatment plan addressing every infested zone both inside and out. Inquire about the types of baits, traps, dusts, sprays, or other products they’ll apply in and around the property to ensure they match your pest issue and preferences.

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Costs and Contracts

Get quotes from a few pest professionals detailing all fees upfront before consenting to anything. Many provide free inspections and then quote treatment costs based on the size of your home and extent of the infestation. However, extra charges for repeat visits, certain high-risk pests, or add-on prevention services can raise the final bill, so understand what’s covered and what’s not. Be wary of long contracts locking you into service. Opt-out policies are better so you’re not stuck paying for more than you need.

The Extermination Process Step-By-Step

Inspection and Identification

The first appointment involves a thorough walkthrough investigation of the property to determine what pests are causing the issue, where they’re nesting, and how severe it is.

Thorough Assessment

The exterminator inspects every room, storage area, crawlspace, attic, and exterior perimeter looking for visual evidence of infestations like droppings, webbing, bug casings, rodent rub marks, termite tubes, and pinpointing cracks and holes providing entry access. They’ll also identify environmental factors that could be attracting pests like moisture issues, excessive clutter and debris piles, overgrown vegetation, or trash containers placed too close to the home.

Testing and Analysis

In addition to visual cues, exterminators may deploy sticky traps to capture specimens, take samples of sawdust from tunnels chewed by termites or carpenter ants to analyze in the lab, and use devices to detect high moisture favorable to pests. They’ll even employ canine sniffers in some cases to pinpoint nest locations that may not be visually evident. These comprehensive diagnostics inform the tailored treatment plan to follow.

Preparation and Planning

Before deploying any pest-killing weapons, some battlefront groundwork helps utilization further down the line.

Customer Guidance

The staff provides guidance to customers on properly preparing the property, including basic prep like clearing away clutter and moving furniture for access to walls and flooring. For severe infestations, considerably more work removing belongings and cleaning may be advised to avoid cross-contamination later. They educate on quarantining infested items, laundering fabrics after treatment, and storing pantry goods in airtight containers.

Strategizing the Attack

Equipped with their inspection findings, the extermination squad maps out exactly where to place bait traps and insect monitors, which cracks and crevices most warrant foam and gel injections, what zones to fog or mist, and other treatment tactics tailored to capitalize on identified high-traffic areas and the pests’ behaviors. Weather and environmental elements on the scheduled service day may alter the plans slightly to assure optimal effectiveness.

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Treatment and Removal

This multifaceted attack utilizes an array of weapons to ambush invaders on contact and continually disrupt their lifecycle reproduction over weeks and months for an eventual dwindling demise.

Employing Products and Traps

The main event involves systematically releasing an arsenal of sprays, dusts, aerosols, baits, and traps targeting the infested zones inside and out around the property’s perimeter identified during inspection. Various chemicals and contraptions work to kill pests on contact or carry poisons back to their nesting spaces.

Follow Up Checks

Because few pest issues resolve after just one treatment, exterminators schedule follow up appointments every 2-3 weeks to refresh bait traps, monitor stations, treat new growth, and ensure progress is being made shrinking the infestation. Expect 2-6 visits on average lasting 1-3 months depending on severity.

Prevention and Maintaining a Pest-Free Home

Removing a current pest infestation is table stakes – the real victory comes from preventing fresh encroachments down the road through vigilant maintenance both inside and out.

Sanitation and Clutter Removal

Pests primarily seek places to nest and feed, so attacking those motivations makes your home far less appealing.

Eliminate Food Sources

Store all pantry items like flour, grains, cereals, crackers, etc. in tightly sealed airtight containers, aggressively clean up kitchen spills and crumbs that accumulate under appliances, empty garbage frequently, keep pet food in lidded bins away from walls, and address any sources of moisture pests drink from like leaks or standing water.

Manage Waste and Standing Water

Bury or remove stacks of firewood or lumber near the home’s exterior that insects and rodents hide behind, clear clogged gutters holding rainwater, drain or fill in depressions in the yard, move trash and recycling bins off porches onto stands away from siding, and sweep out attached sheds and garages with signs of nesting behaviour.

Physical Barriers and Repellants

Blocking access deters future infiltrations by uninvited creatures.

Sealing Entry Points

Caulk and seal any cracks and holes spotted around foundations, window and door frames, piping exits, AC units, attic vents, and underneath eaves and roof corners where complex frameworks facilitate sneaky entry points. Copper mesh or steel wool jammed into crevices also blocks passageways.

Natural Deterrents

Strategically planting lavender, chrysanthemums, mint, citronella, garlic, and other aromatic plants known to naturally repel insects and small animals around exterior doors, windows, and patios can discourage intrusions without chemicals. Spritzing perimeter foundations occasionally with white vinegar, lemon juice, or pepper also helps mask scent trails for many infiltrators.

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Staying vigilant with monitoring and maintaining sanitation efforts cumulatively preserves your home’s defences keeping pests at bay more effectively than trying to repeatedly eradicate recurrent infiltrations after the fact through endless treatment appointments. An ounce of prevention truly outpaces a pound of cure when it comes to eliminating household pests long-term.


Dealing with unexpected pest issues overwhelming your home can be extremely disruptive and concerning – but not insurmountable. Whether it’s mice multiplying in the walls, cockroaches taking over the sink at night, or an army of termites threatening the house’s structural security, specialized exterminators exist trained to systematically counter these homestead invasions and restore peace of mind. Identifying signs early and researching qualified area pros with tailored treatment plans provides the best line of defence to decisively evict current squatters and fortify lingering vulnerabilities inviting repeat infiltrations afterwards through diligent monitoring and maintenance. With the right exterminator partnership and a watchful eye upholding prevention best practices, even the most cunning stowaways don’t stand a chance at maintaining their unauthorized encampments for long.


Should I hire national branded or local exterminators?

There are reliable pest control options across both types of companies. Generally national brands promote consistency while local outfits may offer better pricing or regional familiarity.

What can I do to prepare my home before the exterminator arrives?

Clear any clutter blocking their access to infested areas, completely empty and clean cupboards or closets with pest evidence if possible, wash linens and fabrics after treatment, store pantry items in airtight containers during service, and follow all guidance on your prep checklist.

Why do most treatments require multiple visits over weeks or months?

Eggs and larvae hidden in nesting spots often survive initial treatments, hatching a fresh wave of adults later on. Repeat visits attack new generations as they emerge before they can continue breeding.

How soon after the final treatment should I expect to see no more pest activity?

Indoor treatments generally show decreasing activity and no live specimen sightings within a month post final service. Maintaining prevention habits at that point is critical to avoid new infiltrations.

What are some tips to prevent future pest problems after having my home treated?

Keep your property clear of debris piles, leaky pipes, standing water, and food scraps that attract pests. Seal up identified entry cracks and holes. Install weather stripping, screen covers, and copper mesh barriers to fortify your home’s exterior against repeat intrusions.

Ahmed Raza

Ahmed Raza is a versatile writer featured on and notable sites like He excels in crafting insightful content across various sectors, enriching readers with his diverse expertise.

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