I Bought My First Home and It's Infested! What Now?
You just bought your first home and you're starting to notice little scratching noises coming from the attic, a line of ants that suddenly appeared overnight, or mouse droppings in your garage. Ideally you would have found out about your pest problem during your inspection, but there are hundreds of reasons why you might find out about an infestation after you've already moved in. Your pest might have waited to move in until after you did, your pest might be looking for shelter when the seasons started changing, or your home might have new damage that opened up a way for your pest to get in. All you care about is how to get rid of it.
Ready to get your rates?
See what lenders have to offer.
Get Quotes Here
Identifying your pest
Identifying your pest might help you find an exterminator who specializes in that type of infestation, but most exterminators will be able to identify any problems on their own. Be ready to let them know what you've seen, where you've seen it, and when you've seen it. That might include details like droppings around the floorboards, scratching noises in the attic at night, or descriptions of your unwanted guest. All of those details will help the exterminator quickly and accurately diagnose and fix the problem. In some cases your infestation might be dangerous, so don't get too close if you suspect you have a pest like bees, wasps, wild animals or anything else that could potentially bite, scratch, or sting you.
Finding the right exterminator
Hiring contractors is new to most first-time homeowners, that's what landlords were for, right? Remember a good rule of thumb is to get quotes from three companies before you hire someone so that you know you're getting the best price. When you contact them be sure to ask:
- What experience do you have getting rid of this type of pest? Or sometimes they have just haven't seen your particular infestation.
- What method will you use to get rid of my pest? This is especially important if you're interested in eco-friendly or humane methods of getting rid of your pest.
- Do you offer any ongoing service contracts? Once you get rid of your infestation, you might be interested in having the company come back once a year to check up on your house. This shouldn't include spraying any pesticides unless they find an infestation. One of the most common types of these contracts is a termite bond.
- Are there any types of pests you don't handle? Not all exterminators are licensed to get rid of all types of pests. Even if they can handle your problem now, they may not be able to handle a new one in the future, which could affect any ongoing relationship you have with them.
- What are your rates? Do you charge a flat rate or hourly? It's always good to know how much you'll pay! Get this in writing whenever possible.
- How and when do you expect to be paid? Some companies want to be paid upfront, others will wait until they've completed their service.
- Do you offer a guarantee? The last thing you need is to pay a huge extermination bill just to see your furry friends scurrying around your attic the next week.
- Are you licensed? Exterminators typically need a license to spray chemicals in residential areas.
- Do you have references? Always double check that a service provider has a good reputation!
Your exterminator will likely be able to give you lots of great tips for preventing any infestations in the future. Be sure you ask them what you should be doing and in the meantime:
- make sure there are no holes in siding or roofing
- cover any holes you find
- trim trees so they can't get to your roof
- don't leave standing water out
- don't leave food out
- store firewood away from the house and off the ground
Good luck getting rid of your unwanted house guests!