How to choose a pest control company

In Search of: Best Pest Control Company

Sometimes our adventures lead us to interact with people outside our normal social circles. For instance, say you wake up one day, put on your slippers and slink into the kitchen to grab a bowl of the breakfast of champions. However, when you reach for the box of Mike’s special stuff, you notice a hole was chewed through it. As you look around, you notice some strange stains on the ground and you don’t remember those pieces of chocolate being there last night. “Rats!” you mumble under your morning breath. Who are you going to call–I’m pretty sure the Ghostbusters don’t do rodent infestations. Time to let your fingers do the walking, on the internet. A quick search will likely provide a plethora of pest prevention/protection people. You might be tempted to click through and see the bottom line cost for each of them. However, your pest control company should be chosen for more than price. Not all companies are created equal. There are some major (and minor) differences in the products, services and approaches in getting rid of any unwanted guests in your house.


Pests Covered

The first concern you should have when hiring a pest control company is whether or not they treat the pest(s) you’ve seen in and around your home. Most companies treat a wide variety of pests, but it’s best to make sure that you aren’t paying for them to treat one pest while ignoring any others. A good pest control company should include around 30-40 different pests in their service. There’s also a difference between general indoor pests (spiders, ants, roaches millipedes, rodents) and wood destroying insects (termites, carpenter ants/bees etc). Make sure your company treats whatever you have.

Retreat Policy

While you’re talking to them about the pests they include, go ahead and ask what their policy is concerning any pests that infest the home between treatments. You don’t want to be caught with a month and a half til your next treatment and have ants streaming through your home like le Tour de France. What you should look for: a policy where the company will come out for free between treatments if they cannot prevent the pests from coming inside the home (don’t be that customer who expects no pests to live outside).

Hours of Operation

This brings us to timing. It is helpful to check on their hours of operation and how often they will be coming out. The company should have plenty of options as far as regularity: monthly, bimonthly, quarterly etc. If your household is full of regularly scheduled workers, it may be difficult to find a time that is convenient for treatment. You should think about hiring a company who can be flexible on when they come out to treat your home.



Before you begin to ask about the products they use, it’s helpful to figure out their methodology for pest control. There are a lot of companies out there who employ a spray and pray (and pay) approach. They use the most toxic chemicals that the EPA allows them to use and lathers it on the foundation of the home. Sure that’ll prevent any pests from coming inside your home, but at what cost?  The company you choose, regardless of the trendiness of their methodology, should employ some form of integrated pest management (IPM). IPM is a mixture of chemical and non-chemical means of controlling pests in the human environment (your house). This includes (but not limited to) doing inspection for pest infestation, locating conducive factors in your home and using the necessary chemicals in areas where they are most effective. The best IPM companies will put such an emphasis on the non-chemical means that they rarely need to use chemicals inside the home.


As far as chemicals go there are a few things you need to know.  “Green,” “natural” and “pet/child friendly” are the new, trendy catchphrases in pest control and they all mean something different. While you don’t necessarily need to know the differences between each of these (that may be a discussion for a later date), what is important to know is that botanicals are insecticides that come from plants and generally less toxic to humans. It may help you make your decision if you ask about the active ingredients and do a quick search of the internet for their toxicity level on humans and non-target pests.


Pest Control services remind me of a scene from the movie The Prestige. In this certain scene a magician is in search of the best magic trick ever and employs the help of a scientist (Nikola Tesla). The following conversation occurs:

 Nikola Tesla: Mr. Angier, have you considered the cost of such a machine?
Robert Angier: Price is not an object.
Nikola Tesla: Perhaps not, but have you considered the *cost*?

So before you go out seeking the cheapest pest control company, consider the cost: your peace of mind, your children, your pets and the environment. God has called us to fill the earth and subdue it. While that may mean eliminating certain pests which are known vectors for disease, it doesn’t mean doing so at the expense of the world and creatures He has created for His own glory. I know I’m a little biased because of my invested blood, sweat and tears, but I do think Arrow Exterminators is one of, if not the best choices for a pet and child friendly pest control company in the Raleigh, NC area.

Categories: Adventures in Entomology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “How to choose a pest control company

  1. My wife and I noticed that our basement has started to get infested with ant colonies, so we are looking into hiring a pest control service soon. I like that you suggest asking if the company will come out for free to do follow-up treatments. I don’t want the pests to return a few months later, so I’ll be sure to ask about this.

  2. My mother is having problems with the infestation of rats and roaches in some parts of her house. She wants to make sure these pests in her house are going to be eliminated effectively and safely, so I do agree with what you said about the importance of making sure that the pest control company that she will hire treat the type of pests that she’d like to address. Thanks for sharing this.

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