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Pesticide Topics

How do we select a competent Pest Control Service?  First of all, many of us as homeowners, renters, and landlords can control household pests through a combination of preventive measures, including proper sanitation and good home maintenance practices.  However, some pest infestations may be extensive, or a particular pest may be difficult to control, requiring the services of a pest control company.
You should select a pest control company the way you do any other service - Look for Quality and Value.  Costs and competency are important.  When selecting a pest control service, cost should not be the only factor that determines the company you pick.  It is important to make sure the pest control company you chooses competent.  If pesticides are misused, both health and property can be damaged.   Before contracting with a pest control company, consider the following:

  1. Take your time/Do your homework-

    When most people discover a pest problem, they want the problem eliminated immediately.  However, most problems can wait a few days so you have time to select a competent, reasonably priced company.  It is wise to obtain several estimates from prospective companies.  Most companies will provide free estimates.

  2. Questions to ask a prospective pest control firm-
  3. Other useful information-

Some pest control companies offer service contracts in which structures are routinely treated for a particular pest.  Contracts may be necessary in some situations such as warehouses that receive crates often infested with cockroaches. In general, routine pesticide applications in and around your home are not good unless there is a constant infestation by a pest and non-chemical methods have failed to control the pest.  Service contracts for the homeowner should include periodic inspections, but pesticides should not be applied unless the pests are actually present and cannot be controlled by other means.

Generally, it is customary for termite control work to be guaranteed from one to five years.  Make sure you know what the guarantee covers and determine if there is a yearly inspection charge.  In addition, find out if the pest control company is responsible for structural damage if the treatment fails to control the termite infestation.  The guarantee is only as reliable as the company that offers it.

If the service person asks you to do certain things before, during or after the pesticide application, cooperate and follow instructions.  For example, if the service person asks you to remove personal items from the floor, empty kitchen cabinets and remove pets, make sure you have done this before they arrive.  Do not allow children or pets into treated areas until the pesticide spray has dried.  Aquariums should be removed from the treatment site or covered with heavy plastic and the air pump turned off.  Remove all other household pets from the treatment area.

If the service person suggests non-chemical methods of pest control in addition to the pesticides, be sure to follow the instructions.

Good cooperation between you and the pest control company will help eliminate pests and reduce pesticide use.

Pesticides are inherently toxic and may cause health problems and/or damage to the environment if used in a manner inconsistent with the label directions.  Certain pesticides may pose greater risks than others.  To determine the pesticide that best fits your needs, contact your local University Extension Service.

For more information, please contact:

National Pesticide Telecommunications Network     1-800 858-7378

Kansas Department of Agriculture
Division of Plant Health
901 S. Kansas Ave., 7th Floor
Topeka, Kansas  66612
Telephone (785) 296-3786

Missouri Department of Agriculture
Plant Industries Division
Bureau of Pesticide Control
P.O. Box 630
Jefferson City, Missouri  65102
Telephone (573) 751-5509

Iowa Department of Agriculture
and Land Stewardship
Pesticide Bureau
Henry A. Wallace Building
900 East Grand
Des Moines, Iowa  50319
Telephone (515) 281-8591

Nebraska Department of Agriculture
Plant Industry Division
Pesticide Program
P.O. Box 94756
Lincoln, Nebraska  68509
Telephone (402) 471-6892


Frannie Miller
Pesticide Safety & Integrated Pest Management Coordinator
Kansas State University
Department of Entomology
123 W. Waters Hall
Manhattan, Kansas  66506-4004

Wayne Bailey, Ph.D.
IPM/PAT Coordinator
Pest Management Dept.
University of Missouri
Department of Agronomy
214 Waters Hall
Columbia, Missouri  65211
     (573) 882-2838

Kristine J. P. Schaefer
Pest Management and the Environment
Extension Entomology
Iowa State University
109 Insectary Building
Ames, Iowa  50011
(515) 294-1101

Clyde Ogg, Pesticide Education Specialist
Cooperative Extension Service
University of Nebraska - Lincoln/IANR
Room 101
Natural Resources Hall
Lincoln, Nebraska 68583
(402) 472-1632

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Region VII
11201 Renner Boulevard
Lenexa, Kansas 66219
Telephone (913) 551-7033

 EPA Technical Assistance:
Kansas – Heather Duncan - (913) 551-7640
Missouri – Doug Jones - (913) 551-7592
Iowa – Katie Howard - (913) 551-7861
Nebraska – Dick Wiechman - (402) 437-5080

Information in this article was adopted from Missouri Department of Agriculture and
Illinois Department of Public Health publications.

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