What’s the best way to set up a consultation or an appointment with an exterminator during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Ask exterminators in your area if they would be willing to offer a consultation over a phone call or video chat. You can then ask them any questions you have about the upcoming appointment. Make sure to ask what precautions they are taking to keep everyone safe during the COVID-19 pandemic and whether they are observing social distancing guidelines. You may ask them if it's possible to conduct the appointment virtually or without person-to-person contact.
Essential service providers during the COVID-19 crisis are defined by individual states, cities and localities. For the most accurate information, visit your official state or city government website to see what is considered an essential service.
CISA is the government agency that defines critical workers on a national level, so you can check its website for more information. However, note that not all jurisdictions follow CISA’s definitions of critical infrastructure.
If you need pest extermination services inside your home, talk to the exterminator first to be sure that you both feel comfortable completing the project. Also, follow the CDC’s guidelines on social distancing. You can also arrange with the exterminator to take extra steps to stay safe, such as waving instead of shaking hands, staying at least 6 feet apart, using digital payments and sanitizing any common spaces before and after the project is complete.
You may be able to use digital payments such as Venmo, Apple Pay, PayPal, Venmo, Square Cash or Zelle to pay for extermination services. Many businesses accept methods of payment besides cash and credit cards. Check with pest control services in your area to see if they have changed their payment methods as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you have an outdoor pest infestation, it’s unlikely an exterminator will need to enter your home. But if your pest infestation is inside your home, the exterminator will likely need to enter your home. Check with the exterminator beforehand to explain the extent of the problem, the layout of your house and see if they can complete the job outdoors. You can also ask the exterminator to video chat or set up a phone call to exchange as much information as possible before you begin the project.
Typically, extermination takes place at your home or place of business, but you can ask if the business is offering special accommodations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you come across a profile that states the exterminator is offering remote services, ask what those services include. But if the job has to be done in person, be sure to follow the CDC’s guidelines on social distancing or see if you can postpone your appointment.
Exterminator sprays and pesticides are generally toxic, and toxicity levels can vary by product. Therefore, it’s best to speak with the best pest control specialists near you to determine the safest way to get rid of your pest problem and reduce the risk of exposure. If a pesticide is needed, it’s likely safer to let the pro spray your home.
Keep these tips in mind if exterminator spray will be used in your home:
- Exterminator spray is not safe to swallow, inhale or touch.
- Leave the house when the spray is being applied indoors.
- Ventilate your home by opening windows and doors upon return.
- Keep pets and pet supplies away from the chemicals.
Monthly pest control service is only necessary for certain situations. For example, severe ant or cockroach infestations may require monthly pest control in order to destroy the infestations at the source.
Talk to the best exterminators near you to get an idea of what type of service you need — and how many times you’ll need follow-up treatments.
If you are concerned you have a bed bug infestation, look for physical signs of their presence. Bed bugs love to hide in small, dark spaces and typically come out to feed (generally on human blood) after dark — although they will come out in daylight if hungry enough. The Environmental Protection Agency states that indications of an infestation can include seeing shed exoskeletons of bed bugs, rusty spots on your bedding (which are either bug droppings or bloodstains), live bed bugs, bed bug egg casings, a sweet and musty odor (if the infestation is severe), and evidence of bites on your skin.
To spot bed bugs, look in and along mattress seams and bedding, in curtain and furniture folds, inside cracks or crevices in the walls, behind picture frames and mirrors, under loose wallpaper seams, on recently used luggage or backpacks, inside electronics, and inside clothing or cluttered areas such as closets. If you see signs of bed bugs, be careful not to disturb them too much as you don’t want them scattering to other parts of your house.
Bed bug extermination can last forever as long as the treatment killed all the bed bugs (and their eggs) and if new bed bugs are not transported into the location. Factors that can affect the outcome are how severe the infestation is and whether all bed bug sources were properly identified and treated. When working with a pest control professional, the EPA recommends you check and call references; ask if they offer both chemical and non-chemical treatment options, if they recommend both encasements and interceptors, and if they offer two or more service visits and follow-up. Bed bugs are tiny (adults are roughly the size of an apple seed) and can hide anywhere a credit card can slide into. They squeeze into cracks in walls, behind electrical outlet sockets, in bedding, and in other dark places. Learn how to prepare your home for a bed bug treatment for the best outcomes. Michigan State University shares some examples of possible reasons that a bed bug extermination is not 100 percent effective:
- Not all sources (aka hiding places) of the bed bugs were identified during initial inspection.
- Not all sources of bed bugs were treated.
- The insecticides used were not effective or, in the case of heat treatment, there was insufficient contact time.
- Infested items such as bedding or other materials were reintroduced into a cleaned area.