There are things you can do yourself to try to figure out whether or not you have a pest problem, but a professional service will know exactly what to look for and will be able to more easily identify the type of pest you have.
Before you call in a professional, you might walk to do a walk-through yourself so that you can give them as much information as you can. If you can safely do so, inspect the perimeter of your home (both indoors and outside), the basement and the attic. Write down all of your observations. Look for:
- Holes chewed into the wood or siding, in your walls, baseboards, and in or near sources of food (like cabinets);
- Rodent droppings, including underneath appliances (a small hand mirror is useful for this);
- Little piles of sawdust, that might indicate that something has been chewing inside your walls;
- Leaks, moisture, or pooling water which can attract both rodents and insects;
- Scattered or chewed food;
- Chewed wires and disturbed insulation;
- Inspect the outdoor perimeter of the house to look for entry points;
- Inspect the inside of the home to see where (if anywhere) that mice, rats, squirrel, other rodents, wildlife, or insects are living or nesting;
- Identify what rodent types (or other wildlife) are present, based on evidence like droppings, nesting materials, size of entry point holes, possibly even a sighting!
Inspections will often require a fee. For the fee, the company should provide you with a written report detailing what they found and a diagnosis of the problem.
A company that operates with an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach can assess the situation for you, discuss with you any damages, how they plan to handle the situation, and advise you on a long-term strategy to control or manage any pest problems in the future.
They should tell you their recommended course of treatment, how often the treatments need to be repeated, when and how often they will re-inspect the premises, what you can do in the meantime for preventive pest control (they should be able to assist with this as well), safety information and any precautions needed in case of the use of chemicals, and of course, the cost of the treatment(s). Ask the company if they offer non-chemical and humane pest control solutions as well. Ask them to show you how to conduct inspections on your own in between visits from their company.
Conducting a regular pest inspection allows homeowners to identify potential problems before they get worse. It is especially important to inspect regularly and diligently if you have had pest problems in the past. A proactive approach of both inspections and preventive maintenance can help keep pests out of your home on a long-term basis