University of Florida

How to Buy Pest Control Services

Pest control involves collaboration and agreement between companies and customers, but customers may find it difficult to judge a service objectively. The following recommendations may help consumers purchase pest control services.

Choosing Pest Control Services

  • Shop around for good quality services at reasonable prices.
  • Ask the salesperson to show you evidence of insect infestation or damage if a treatment is recommended. Ask that this evidence and required treatment be documented in writing.
  • Contact your local UF/IFAS Extension office to get a second opinion to ensure you need the recommended services. Make sure you receive opinions from two or more pest control companies before you commit to the treatments.
  • Use review websites or the Better Business Bureau to research the pest control company.
  • Take time to read service contracts carefully before you sign, and ask the salesperson to clarify the parts you don’t understand.

Receiving Quality Service

  • Look for the following when company employees come to your home: Is the vehicle clean and plainly marked? Are they courteous and careful with your belongings? Do they replace the items they moved to complete treatment? Are they organized?
  • Make sure that pesticides aren’t diluted in your house. They should be diluted in the company’s vehicle or business location.
  • Technicians should point out prior damage (such as stains and burns) before rendering services.
  • Pesticides should be applied with low pressure to prevent splashing and runoff; technicians should clean spills or puddles immediately with their own rags.
  • Technicians should tell you to keep pets and children away from surfaces until they’re dry whenever spray is applied. They should also request that anyone with allergy issues, heart ailments, or respiratory problems leave the room before pesticide spray application.
  • Pesticides should never be sprayed on children’s toys, mattresses, bedding, food products, utensils, or surfaces that food will contact.
  • Ensure that the applicator doesn’t spray electrical equipment with water-based pesticides.
  • Never ask a technician for a pesticide—they should never sell or give pesticides to customers.

Contact the nearest Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Entomologist-Inspector if you suspect a pest control company was negligent, had fraudulent claims, or used methods or materials improperly. 

Adapted and excerpted from:

P. Koehler and R. Pereira, “How to Buy Pest Control Services (ENY-219),” UF/IFAS Entomology and Nematology Department (rev. 07/2013).

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