Searches for pest control companies on Angie’s List were up 48 percent in March 2012 compared to March last year.
Among the early unwanted guests are carpenter bees, carpenter ants, common ants, spiders, clover mites, bees and wasps, gnats, flies, drain flies, lady beetles, stink bugs and boxelder bugs.
Next up, experts predict fleas, bees and winged termites, commonly known as swarmers.
"If you are already seeing evidence of these pests, you need to start working now to get good help,“ Hicks said.
Ignoring or waiting out the bugs isn’t a good idea – termites are blamed for more than $5 billion in damage to wood every year. Depriving insects of places they can breed can go a long way to keeping the bugs at bay, though, Hicks said, suggesting homeowners:
- Keep grass, trees and bushes trimmed;
- Eliminate standing water;
- Keep pet food, garbage and windows and doors tightly sealed; and
- Keep gutters clear.
Qualified professional pest control companies are trained to spot the pest issues you have and tailor treatment to address them specifically. They will also minimize your family and pets’ exposure to harmful chemicals. Some companies offer eco-friendly options that reduce harmful chemical use while still effectively addressing the pests.
Costs range across the country and based on the needed service. Generally, one-time treatments will be less than $200. On-going service can be about $110 for quarterly treatments, less for monthly treatments.
Tips for hiring an exterminator:
· Many states require exterminators to be licensed. Check with your state pesticide agency to determine your area’s requirements. Ask to see the license before making a hiring decision.
· Hire companies whose employees are bonded to be sure you will be reimbursed in case of damage.
· Ask for a detailed plan to identify the types of pests that need to be controlled, the extent of the infestation, the best removal method and steps to lower the risk of future infestations.
· Hire a company with a strong track record. Check reviews on Angie’s List and ask friends and relatives for recommendations.