We wouldn’t wish them on you, but bed bugs are a growing epidemic. If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of having an infestation and you need to call an exterminator, how do you know if the pest control contractor you’re thinking of hiring is really a bed bug expert? Because when it comes to bed bugs, not all exterminators are created equal.
Jeff Eisenberg is a bed bug expert who wrote The Bed Bug Survival Guide. He’s also the founder of New York City-based Pest Away Inc. and co-author of New York City’s official guidelines for bed bug treatment. Eisenberg offers the following tips for finding a reliable, quality extermination company to deal specifically with bed bugs:
Time in Business. First, find out how long the pest control company has been in business. According to Eisenberg, your exterminator should be in business for at least ten years – preferably longer.
Bed Bug Experience. Once your potential exterminator passes the ten+ years in business test, find out how long they’ve been treating bed bugs specifically. They should have worked in bed bug treatment for over seven years. Eisenberg further warns, “A guy who worked for someone else and went out on his own two years ago is not an experienced detective and strategist. No matter how closely he worked with his previous boss, sitting in first-class did not make him a pilot.”
Number of Technicians. Next, find out how many technicians the exterminator has. The best answer is seven or more. It’s worth noting that larger pest control companies are better able to train. Their technicians tend to be better informed and more aware of industry rules and regulations.
BBB Rating. See if the extermination company is an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau. Check their BBB rating and make note of any trend in unresolved complaints.
Industry Associations. Is the company a member of national industry associations like the National Pest Management Association (NPMS)? Says Eisenberg, “Serious companies who are dedicated to their profession and moving the industry forward will always be a part of this group.”
Licenses and Certifications. Here’s where you want to be detail-oriented: find out if the company’s technicians are all individually licensed and certified – especially the technician coming out to your house. Eisenberg warns that “some companies have only one licensed technician and the rest of the staff work under that person’s license.”
Bed Bug Rep. What kind of reputation does this exterminator have in dealing specifically with bed bugs? Get references from recent clients who’ve received treatment for bed bugs. It’s one of the best ways to know for sure how a pest control operator measures up.
Before you open the yellow pages and call for bed bug help, have this list handy and ask the right questions. You’ll be glad you did!