Home Care Library
Pest Control Advice from an Industry Insider
what you should do to keep out pests
what to look for when hiring a professional,
and what can go wrong.
HOME-WIZARD: We are here today with Mike Downes, the owner of Downes Pest and Wildlife Solutions. How are you today Mike?
MIKE: Fine. How are you?
HOME-WIZARD: Great, thanks. Mike, as a professional in pest control, what advice do you have for home owners?
MIKE: Well, I think you want to stay ahead of the problems. There are lot of things you can do around the house to make it inhospitable for pests. For example: you want to try and keep all the doors closed, specially the garage door. You will want to avoid what we call "wood to soil contact", where along the foundation if the soil is up touching the wood, then that is an invitation for termites. Also you will want to try to avoid having any leaks along the roof or anywhere else that aren’t taken care of right away, because then you end up with carpenter ants or other problems. Also try to keep all the food unavailable for pests and water as well.
If you keep all the doors closed, you have screens in the windows, you try to plug all of the holes on the outside that you can even fit a pencil through, that will stop the mice from coming in. Sometimes you need a professional to do that because it is pretty easy to miss those holes. We have to go around with a mirror and look under the siding and we know exactly what to look for so we plug them up. And if you do that, then you don't end up with mice inside. Of course if you do preventative mouse work, where you have some bait inside, then if a mouse does find its way in, because a door was left open when people were bring things in or whatever, that mouse won’t last long enough to cause trouble, reproduce or nest. And keep food and water unavailable.
HOME-WIZARD: . . . this is very good to know, thanks. And what advice would you have about what to look for when choosing a professional?
MIKE: Well, I think you will want to find someone who is established. You don’t want to find just some guy with a pick up truck. You want to make sure that they are properly licensed; that they have the right insurance because things can go wrong. If you do choose a company where they don’t have any insurance and something goes wrong, obviously, you are in for a long court battle or chasing someone who doesn’t have any money. Also, you want to make sure that if it is a larger company then the people have enough experience to do things correctly. Sometimes you will have a technician who just took the test, followed someone around for a few weeks and thats all they know. So if you are able to get someone a little more senior, I think it helps quite a bit.
HOME-WIZARD: . . . great points, this is very helpful. And you mentioned earlier that things can go wrong. From your experience, what are some of the things can go wrong with pest control?
MIKE: Well, fortunately none of this has happened with my company, but when we put the bait for mice in locked stations, and if you don’t use those locked stations, for example if you went to Home Depot or some home center, and you popped it open and you left it out and the dog ate it, the dog would die. So it is good to have everything locked in stations. Also, if you accidentally treated a pet’s bowl or even if it is not from the products that you have applied, if something does go wrong, you could be to blame or they could go in your direction. Also, some of the worst things that can happen, when you are doing termite work, sometimes you accidentally pump it right into the basement. Fortunately, that hasn’t happened to me either, but a lot of things can go wrong.
HOME-WIZARD: . . . wow, this is really good to know. Well I want to thank you again Mike for taking the time to talk with us today about your advice on pest control as an industry insider. This has been really very helpful.
MIKE: You are welcome.
(helpful accessories: roof-leak sealers; house opening sealers; home pest treatments; food storage containers)
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