Missy Henriksen: Hi!
. I am Missy Henriksen, Vice President of public affairs for the National Pest Management Association. Today I am discussing how to select a pest professional and more specifically which pest should make you pick up the phone immediately for professional expertise. Home owners often believe that pests are one of those problems that they can handle on their own. And while there are ways especially preventive ways in which home owners can address potential pest issues, when there is a pest problem solving it should not be undertaken lightly. This is especially true when certain pests such as bed bugs and termites have infiltrated your home.
These two types of pest infestations require a high level of expertise to solve and it cannot be properly addressed without the assistance of a pest management professional. Without that type of partnership, home owners may not know the full extent of an infestation which can render do-it-yourself treatment ineffective. Let's quickly discuss why bed bugs and termites demand the assistance of a pest professional to identify and treat. Bed bugs seems to be everywhere. These small brown pests measuring about a quarter of an inch in diameter basically look like an apple seed. Although bed bugs don't transmit any diseases, bed bugs can lead itchy, bloody wounds on human skin. In the past decade there has been a dramatic increase in bed bug infestations. In fact the National Pest Management Association reports that bed bug infestations have increased 71% in the past five years. Prior to 2001, pest professionals may have received one or two calls a year for bed bugs and now many receive 10 to 50 or more calls per week. So often bed bugs are equated with filth or sanitation problems which is just simply not true. Bed bugs are very illusive, transient and nocturnal pests. These are pests that can live for a year or without eating, bed bugs can also withstand a wide range of temperatures from nearly freezing to almost 113 degrees Fahrenheit. And these pests can rapidly multiply and spread. Suffice it to say, bed bugs are not only difficult to find but difficult to treat due to their resilience.
If an infestation is not fully solved the first time, bed bugs can easily reinfest and spread within a home. As a home owner, this is a pest this is not a pest that can be controlled with do-it-yourself measures. Another pest that home owners cannot ignore or address on their own is termites. These pests live in underground colonies or in moist, secluded areas above ground. Termites build distinctive mud tubes to gain access to food and to protect themselves from open air. Their colonies can contain up to two million members. Although termites are hidden their aggressiveness cannot be forgotten. Termites can chew 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can quickly jump through floors, walls, carpeting and even wall paper. Home owners often believe that their home just won't get termites. Yet among pest professionals, there is a belief that there are only two kinds of homes, those that have termites, and those that will eventually get termites. Research conducted by National Pest Management Association shows that termites can cause five billion dollars in property damage across the United States every year. No one wants to be included in that statistic. One good way to avoid that is to hire a licensed pest professional to inspect your property, especially if you suspect a termite infestation. With termites, you consider treatment in terms of medicine just as you wouldn't prescribe medicine for yourself when you are sick, you shouldn't attempt to control termites. If you believe your home is at risk, you need an expert to discuss and implement the treatment options for termites. Although bed bugs and termites are the two pest that absolutely demand the knowledge and expertise of a pest professional, there are a variety of other pest notably rodents, cockroaches, stinging insects where professionals can be valuable partners. Remember, pests are resilient and they need only food and water and shelter to survive. If you suspect an infestation, it is best to consult a professional who can help you determine the type of infestation you might be facing, its severity and how you can best prevent a future infestation. Up next, I'll discuss several important tips for selecting a pest professional which will help to expedite this process for home owners.