You woke up to find telltale red welts in a line across your arm. Or, you pulled back your sheets to find black specks or red-brown smudges near the edge of your mattress.
Perhaps you didn’t see any visible signs at all, but the musty scent alone let you know bed bugs were nearby.
Either way, you need a qualified and reputable exterminator, as soon as possible.
Research shows that about one in five Americans will experience a bed bug infestation or know someone who’s fallen prey to one. As you begin searching for “bed bug exterminator near me”, it pays to go straight to the best.
Today, we’re sharing 10 important qualities to look for in any extermination company you hire. By prioritizing these valuable traits, you can help weed out the low-quality teams who won’t deliver the value you need. Then, you’ll be much closer to the right team for the job!
Why Should You Research the Best Local Bed Bug Exterminator?
When you’re in the throes of a bed bug infestation, you simply want them gone as soon as possible. You’re itchy, you’re anxious and your mind is going in a million different directions. You might think that you don’t have time to research all of your options or do a ton of due diligence.
It’s understandable to want quick action.
However, hiring the wrong team can exacerbate the issue and prolong the problem. While it’s unfortunate, there are some unscrupulous teams that falsely pose as professional bed bug exterminators, only seeking to gain personal profit.
A brand image and a few vague reviews aren’t enough to give a company credibility. Before you trust any experts into your home, you need to be confident that they can effectively and completely take care of the infestation.
That’s where this checklist comes in.
Keep it handy and refer to it as you prepare to interview potential pest control companies. The search doesn’t have to be laborious, but it does need to be thorough. After all, you want the treatment to be successful so you can reclaim your life and your home!
That said, let’s take a look at 10 traits that set a high-quality, reliable bed bug exterminator apart from the rest.
1. A Local Presence
Yes, there are national pest control companies with offices that span across the United States.
While these teams are well-known and capable, the reality is that you could be speaking with someone across the country when you place your initial call. The same goes for any time you have to contact the exterminator to schedule a follow-up visit, or simply to ask a question.
When you hire a national company to come check your home for bed bugs and apply a treatment, your home becomes one of the thousands that they’re currently treating. This can cause customer service levels to dip and leave you feeling frustrated. Moreover, some bigger-name companies can charge more simply from brand recognition alone.
For these reasons, it’s best to stick with a local company, like Altus Pest Control.
A regional team will be familiar with the layout of your region, and will be able to reach your location with ease. Moreover, the level of personalized service is simply higher with a smaller, more concentrated team of technicians.
We’re proud to be a local, family-owned company serving the Pacific Northwest area. Over the years, we’ve earned the trust of local families, driven by a successful track record that demonstrates our expertise. We know this area well, and we call it home ourselves.
2. Excellent Reviews
Only someone who’s walked in your shoes will truly understand how devastating a bed bug infestation can be. Not only can these tiny pests cause physical affliction, but they can also wreak havoc on your mental health.
That’s why it can be comforting to read reviews from others who have used the services of the company you’re considering. They can reveal scores of insights into how the team handled the problem, their timeliness and level of professionalism, their degree of communication, and much more.
Often, you’ll find that pest control companies will designate a separate page on their website strictly for customer reviews or testimonials. You can find ours here.
In addition to websites, be sure to check other places to learn as much as possible about the company in question. A quick internet search should reveal their Google My Business (GMB) listing, which will include customer reviews alongside other company information, such as their contact number, hours of operation, and more. As you read each one, look for common themes.
Are most reviewers praising the team’s prompt response times? Are they pleased with the methods they used? Or, are you seeing more negative comments than positive ones? In general, customers tend to be honest in their feedback, and it’s important to take what they’re saying to heart.
3. Years of Industry Experience
When you’re searching “bed bug exterminators near me”, you don’t want a team that’s just entering the business. Yes, everyone has to start somewhere. However, you don’t have to trust your homes to a crew that’s just now learning the ropes.
One of the most important features to look for in any pest control company is a solid track record of successful experience. The team you hire to eradicate your bed bug infestation should have years of experience in this niche.
Note that it isn’t enough to simply hire a general pest control company. You need a team that specifically targets bed bugs in addition to any other pests they might treat.
Our team at Altus Pest Control has more than 35 years of combined experience. We know exactly what to look for when we visit your home to perform an initial bed bug infestation. This means looking beyond the obvious locations in and around your bed, and also searching spots that are more difficult to access, such as inside wall outlets or dressers.
When you’re interviewing company representatives, ask each one how many bed bug jobs they’ve successfully completed in the past year. Are they willing to share a list of former clients with you? If they balk at the idea, this could be a sign that they’re either very new at the job or don’t have the best track record of proven success.
4. Initial Inspections
Always beware of bed bug exterminators who try to send you a quote or charge you for a treatment before actually visiting your home.
As we’ve mentioned, bed bugs can be incredibly difficult to find. Not only are they almost microscopic in size, but they’re also expert hiders. If they suspect you’re awake and nearby, they tend to take cover in the most unsuspecting places, such as a hairline crack in your headboard.
Knowing this, stick with teams that offer initial inspections before preparing an informal estimate or a formal quote. This visit allows them to thoroughly survey your property for any and all signs of bed bugs.
Only then will they have the knowledge and data required to provide you with an accurate pricing proposal. At Altus Pest Control, we always offer free quotes and estimates.
There is no one-size-fits-all price for treating bed bugs. The exact cost associated with your treatment will hinge on a number of factors, including the extent of your infestation, the square footage to be treated, the amount of clutter to be removed, and more.
Offering a complimentary inspection reveals that the company is serious about what they do. They want to take the time to appropriately survey your home so they can give you a fair price.
5. Trained Technicians
Another feature that sets a reliable bed bug exterminator apart from the rest is a highly trained, certified and capable team of pest control technicians.
When you conduct your interview, learn the names and the background of who would be conducting your inspection and treatment.
How long have they been in this position and what kind of specialized training have they received? Will they be supervised?
Bed bug extermination is a separate entity from generalized pest control. Technicians must receive up-to-date training on the methods, products and technologies to use.
We’re dedicated to only hiring trained and qualified technicians to join our Altus Pest Control team. We also invest in continuing education and equip our crew members with the latest extermination equipment and products. This not only reveals our dedication to their career, but ensures that they’re capable of tackling any pest control problem head-on.
When you call, keep in mind that the person conducting your treatment might be different from the person on the other end of the line. For instance, you might speak to a receptionist or a customer support specialist.
Make sure you know exactly who to expect at your home, as well as their training background. If more than one technician is required to complete the service, remember to get everyone’s name. In addition to being trained and certified, any technician you hire should also be clean, polite, and on time.
6. NPMA Membership
One of the quickest ways to verify that you’re working with a professional pest control company is to check their industry accreditations.
In the case of a bed bug exterminator, look for a team that’s an active member of the National Pest Management Association, or NPMA.
The NPMA is a non-profit organization that’s designed to support the pest management industry with tools, resources, and education. Its goal is to protect public health, food and property through ongoing regulatory change. A proud member of the NPMA, Altus Pest Control receives frequent communication from the organization, including expert advice, industry updates and more. Our team also follows NPMA regulations and uses them as a tool and a baseline for our performance.
It’s easy to search the NPMA database for pest control companies near you. If the one you’re thinking of hiring doesn’t show up in your search, it could mean that they’re not the experts they claim to be. Membership in this association is critical to staying on top of industry trends, compliance measures, safety protocols, and other critical guidelines.
7. Effective Control Methods
If possible, look for a bed bug exterminator that follows Integrated Pest Management (IPM) methods. Put simply, IPM is a pest control methodology that implores companies to be as environmentally-safe and eco-conscious as possible in techniques.
The practices used within IPM are designed around the lifecycle of pests and the way they interact with their surroundings. They seek to effectively remove the pests from a property, all while posing the least amount of damage possible to people, property or the environment.
Often, an IPM-based bed bug treatment will require the use of multiple control tactics to accurately identify pests. Similar tactics will also be used to monitor treatment progress and plan follow-up procedures.
Ask each company how they plan to control the infestation. Will they use insecticides? If so, are they environmentally safe and safe for your family? If they strictly use steam or heat alone, these methods are typically not associated with IPM, which takes a more comprehensive approach.
If you’re unsure whether a bed bug exterminator follows IPM, you can always ask what control methods they use. How will they monitor bed bug activity to see if any are still active? In addition, what kind of follow-up service can they provide after their first treatment?
At Altus Pest Control, we only use products that are EPA-approved.
8. Clear Communication
When you hire a bed bug exterminator, you should know exactly what to expect. From your very first consultation to the final follow-up visit, the team should clearly define the steps they will follow, along with any action that might be required on your part.
One aspect of this is the pre-treatment preparation checklist. Often, pest control companies will provide this list to homeowners so they can make sure their space is ready for the treatment. This way, the technicians can get to work as soon as they arrive.
The list will contain steps to take to clean your home of clutter and debris prior to the team’s arrival. This may include removing your bedding, pulling furniture away from your walls, removing sofa cushions, and more. By following this list closely, you can do your part to help the team prepare for a successful treatment.
It’s important to note that some companies might not require this action at all, and prefer to perform these clean-up steps themselves to avoid spreading the bed bugs from room to room. If that’s the case with the company you hire, make sure you know the name of the technician who will be responsible for moving and bagging up clothing, drapes, bedding and other personal items.
If you’re unsure about what to do, it’s always a smart idea to ask! Any company you hire should be willing to answer any questions you have clearly, precisely and accurately.
In addition to this list, you should also receive timely, updated communication from the pest control company at every turn. For instance, they should let you know how long you can expect the treatment to last.
Sometimes, treatments can take up to a few hours depending on the degree of the infestation and the extent of the surrounding debris. You shouldn’t be left in the dark about the details surrounding the duration of the treatment.
In addition to inquiring about the timeline, it’s also a good idea to ask about other details involved in your treatment. Key questions to pose include:
- How will you inspect for bed bugs? (visually, traps, interceptor cups, flashlight, dogs)
- Which specific rooms will receive the bed bug treatment?
- How will bagged items be treated after service?
- Are there special precautions in place to protect items that cannot be removed?
Make sure you’re comfortable with the plan before moving forward or signing on the dotted line.
Once your home has been treated for bed bugs, you might be ready to breathe a sigh of relief! However, the job isn’t exactly over just yet.
Often, one visit alone isn’t enough to fully eliminate all bed bugs. This is especially the case if the team uses insecticides only, as many spray treatments are not designed to kill bed bugs that are still in the egg stage.
Often, if there are still bed bugs present, companies will use follow-up sprays or heat treatments after the original service. If you opt for a whole-house heat treatment, it will usually be powerful enough to kill every stage of the bed bugs. However, partial treatments are still susceptible to reinfestation.
As such, it’s important to look for a provider who will provide a valuable warranty on their services. After the first treatment, the team should continue to monitor your home for signs of bed bugs.
Ask your prospective provider how long they will provide follow-up services at no extra charge.
Most of the time, these warranties will be provided for 60 to 90 days to make sure every last bed bug is removed. Sometimes, a company won’t start its warranty until the very last bed bug is spotted, while others will initiate theirs as soon as the treatment is completed.
Before choosing a provider, make sure you understand these warranty terms in full. You don’t want to partner with a company that completely abandons your case as soon as their technicians pull out of the driveway.
Successful treatment requires keeping a close eye on your home environment, which may mean calling the team back if the problem persists. Our team guarantees successful treatments so you never have to worry about a job that’s only halfway done.
10. Fair and Consistent Pricing
Finally, you’ll also evaluate potential bed bug exterminators based on the price quotes they provide to you.
Before you begin this process, it helps to do a little research into how much you can expect to pay. As we’ve mentioned, the size and complexity of your structure and infestation will be a major determining factor.
If you’re only treating a single bedroom, your treatment might only cost a few hundred dollars. However, this number can jump significantly if the infestation is more widespread or severe in nature. The same applies if your home is excessively cluttered, which could require more labor on the technicians’ part.
If you pursue heat treatments, keep in mind that these are often offered at a higher price point than integrated treatments. Likewise, speciality services such as a canine inspection can also incur additional costs.
If you have any questions about the quote you receive or you simply want to learn more about the line items, feel free to reach out to the company that provided it. You should feel comfortable with the price before you schedule the bed bug treatment.
Bed Bug Exterminator Near Me: Finding the Best
Bed bugs aren’t a pest to play around with. They might be tiny in stature, but they can rapidly infiltrate a home and cause unforeseen amounts of damage.
If you’re currently experiencing an infestation, take a deep breath. We know it’s overwhelming but there are tools, technologies, and teams ready to help. We’re one of them.
Stop spinning your wheels and searching anxiously for “bed bug exterminator near me”. You’ve come to the right spot, and our team at Altus Pest Control is here to help. In addition to bed bug extermination services, we’re also skilled and experienced at treating a wide range of pest issues.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation!