What is pest control, really? The term "pests" simply refers to any unwelcome insect, rodent, or other wildlife that invades homes and businesses, causing damage or potentially spreading disease. While most of us tend to focus on how to get rid of pests that have already entered our homes, long-term pest management control requires a series of actions to be effective.
An inspection is the first step to managing pests. Homeowners could do this themselves, but professionals can do it more easily and thoroughly since they know where to look and what to look for.
During an inspection, things to check for include entry points (foundations, roof lines, etc) as well as identifying the type of pest. Common pests include rats, mice, squirrel, bats, and various types of insects.
Removal is the next step. Identification of the pest is important because different rodent types, insects, and other wildlife all need to be handled in their own way. Things that need to be considered during removal include: the type of removal methods used (many homeowners prefer humane pest control methods where possible); what to do if there may be a nest of babies inside the home who still need their mom; and how to make sure all the pests have been removed.
Excluding pests (sealing entry points) should be done once all the pests have been removed. This is to prevent any others from immediately re-entering the home. Cracks, holes, spaces around pipes, etc. should all be repaired (one great way to do this is to use rodent mesh). It's important to find and securely repair all entry points.
Clean-up, sanitizing, and deodorizing is an unpleasant task but may also need to be done depending on the type of pest that was present. See How to Safely Clean up Rodent Feces and Eliminating Rodent Odor for more some tips.
Make repairs to any parts of the home that were damaged. This can include things like beams, walls, insulation, and wiring.
Taking preventive pest control measures around both the house and the yard will help to keep pests at bay. Various types of deterrents can be used as well to actively discourage pests from returning. A deterrent can be a scent, a sound, an unpleasant feel (like using 'spiky' mats in the garden), a scary sight (like a owl statue), or even animals like barn owls, cats, or dogs.
Some homeowners may want to do inspections as part of their regular maintenance routine. This can help to identify potential problems in the early stages before it comes a full-blown pest problem that may require significant time and money to rectify.
Taking an integrated approach to pest management control is the best way to minimize and prevent problems over the long term. It also helps to keep the cost down since repeated treatments or removals won't be necessary (or the frequency of treatments can be decreased).