Looking to hire a bed bug exterminator in Boston, Massachusetts?
Perfect, you’re in the right spot. In this guide, you’ll learn:
What qualities are essential in a Boston bed bug exterminator?
What qualifications do bed bug exterminators in Boston need to have?
What should you ask your exterminator before hiring them?
What are some warning signs of inadequate exterminators?
Bed bugs are a severe issue in Boston, and the increasing population, rental rate, and strong development of multi-family housing in the city may be contributing to increased rates of infestation. Homeowners, renters, and even businesses are reporting bed bugs in larger numbers than ever before.
As such, the need for effective bed bug exterminators in the city is high. Unfortunately, some pest control companies have started offering bed bug services in response without proper training or knowledge of how to eradicate them in a home.
Below, we will discuss the essential qualities you should look for in when hiring a Boston pest control company for a bed bug problem. We’ll also go over some warning signs to look out for that can indicate an inexperienced or ill-equipped exterminator.
What Should You Look For When Hiring An Exterminator For Bed Bugs In Boston?
There are several things you should look for in a bed bug exterminator that services the greater Boston area. While these guidelines won’t guarantee professional and adequate service, they will help reduce the chance of hiring a company that won’t truly fix your bed bug problem.
Treating bed bugs isn’t typically as simple as just applying a pesticide, and in fact, some products labeled for killing bed bugs can make your pest problem worse if they aren’t used correctly. Experience in dealing with bed bugs is often a good indication that a company knows what works and what doesn’t. In the greater Boston area, an experienced company should be treating multiple bed bug infestations a week.
The best practices for bed bug extermination have changed over the years, so experience isn’t everything. However, it often speaks to a company’s ability to provide good service.
Bed Bug Specialization
Bed bugs aren’t like other bugs. They behave differently, they require different treatments and protocols, and they sometimes necessitate routine maintenance and ongoing inspections after obvious signs of bed bugs disappear. While most general pest management companies will treat for bed bugs and other pests you can find companies who specialize in bed bug extermination.
This isn't to say that a company that also treats cockroaches, carpenter ants, or termites won't offer good pest control solutions for your infestation, but be on the lookout for catch-all exterminators who feel bed bugs are just like any other bug.
Insist On an Initial Inspection
Most pest control services for bed bugs will include some kind of pesticide if bed bugs are confirmed to be infesting your home, but you should find an exterminator who will refuse to commit to treatment before carrying out a thorough bed bug inspection. Reputable bed bug exterminators will use numerous methods to identify the presence and extent of a bed bug problem before needlessly spraying pesticides.
Offer a Treatment Protocol
Next, make sure you hire a company that will offer a treatment protocol. The proper treatment plan for bed bugs often depends on your specific home and the extent of your problem. Find a company that will offer a consultation and inspection and will develop a personalized treatment protocol for you. This plan should detail what services they will provide and a proposed schedule for eradicating bed bugs.
Follow-Up Inspections & Ongoing Maintenance
Unfortunately, bed bugs can be a recurring problem for many homeowners and renters, so you need to hire an exterminator that will carry out follow-up inspections or be willing to provide ongoing maintenance after the first treatment.
Some companies will guarantee that your bed bug issue will be fixed after the first treatment. However, this isn’t usually a realistic promise, especially with a more advanced infestation. Also, in Boston, where infestation rates are rising along with increased multi-family housing opportunities, a bed bug infestation can originate in a surrounding apartment. Your landlord should be inspecting surrounding apartments in addition to the reported infestation. Inspections, monitoring, and additional treatments will be offered by reputable bed bug exterminators who are committed to adequate and professional extermination.
Are There Specific Licenses For Bed Bug Removal In Boston?
While there are no licenses specific to bed bug treatment in Boston, all commercial bed bug exterminators must hold a current and valid pesticide applicator license issued by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
This general license permits the holder to purchase and apply commercial-grade pesticides that are approved for use by the state while abiding by safety protocols set forth by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources’ Crop and Pest Services Division.
What Questions Should You Ask A Bed Bug Exterminator In Boston Before Hiring?
There are several things you should ask a Boston bed bug exterminator before committing to their service.
First and foremost, ask if they hold the proper pesticide applicator license. This license is a state requirement, so you should refuse to work with any exterminator who states that they are not licensed.
Quote Without Inspection
Next, ask if they will give you a quote for service over the phone. If they agree, you should question how they are creating the price and why they don’t feel the need to confirm you actually have bed bugs. Remember that every bed bug problem is unique and needs to be treated as such. As companies become more experienced with treating bed bugs, some are beginning to offer over-the-phone quotes but it can be tricky to provide accurately and is often a yellow flag with pest control companies. Companies are able to offer an initial quote over the phone, but it is still a good idea to get an inspection.
Any exterminator should require their own confirmation that there is, in fact, a bed bug infestation in your home. The presence of bed bugs can be challenging to identify, and no reputable exterminator will trust your assessment and agree to a potentially unnecessary pesticide treatment without a thorough inspection to confirm the problem.
Timeline for Monitoring
Once the exterminator you’re speaking with confirms they will carry out an inspection, ask what the timeline is for monitoring or confirming bed bug activity if no physical bugs are found during the initial examination of your home. Even expert bed bug exterminators can’t always identify the presence of bed bugs with 100% certainty from a visual inspection, so they may need to employ monitoring devices for confirmation. Interception devices are the most commonly used and scientifically proven to be effective for detecting bed bugs.
Check out this video to see how these monitoring systems determine the presence of bed bugs:
Monitoring can often take several weeks, so ask your exterminator if there are interim solutions they can provide until monitoring is conclusive. They may offer preventative pesticide dustings, which are safe, unlike full preemptive treatments. They may also provide mattress and box spring encasements to reduce bed bug problems temporarily or regular visual inspections to help identify their presence faster.
You also need to ask if they will provide you with multiple treatments and include charges for them in your pricing. Some companies rely on a single treatment to exterminate bed bugs. However, in an area like Boston, where they are so prevalent and pervasive, most reputable exterminators will want to conduct ongoing inspections, monitoring, and sometimes additional treatments to ensure thoroughness of their initial application.
Do They Offer a Guarantee or Warranty?
While a guarantee that your bed bug problem will be solved in a certain time frame can be complicated, you want to look for a company that stands behind it’s work. They should offer some sort of guarantee or warranty on their work.
In addition to a guarantee or warranty, the company should also offer you an overview of their bed bug extermination protocol. The extermination plan will detail steps your exterminator will take to apply pesticide and then treat in response to the ongoing problem.
Red Flags To Watch Out For Before Hiring A Bed Bug Exterminator In Boston?
While you’re speaking with any exterminator, there are several things you should look out for that can indicate they aren’t as experienced or knowledgeable as they may seem. Below are some red flags that you should pass on an exterminator’s services.
They Offer a Quote for Treatment Over the Phone
By now, it should be clear that a thorough inspection by your exterminator should be carried out before any treatment is done. If a company offers a price for pesticide application over the phone, be cautious as they may not be offering services that are tailored to your situation as they should be.
They Ask for Heavy Preparation
Many companies, including those with years or even decades of experience, still ask homeowners and renters to “prep” their home before treatment. This preparation often includes removing bedding, standing mattresses up against the wall, and sometimes removing or bagging anything contained under your bed, in your drawers or closet, or elsewhere in your home.
The general consensus in the industry years ago was that this preparation would allow for a better treatment that targeted otherwise hard-to-reach areas and crevices where bed bugs often hide. However, recent research shows that these preparation practices can prompt bed bugs to scatter, ultimately making treatment more difficult and time-consuming.
If a company asks for this kind of preparation, it’s a sign that they aren’t up to date on best practices for exterminating bed bugs. Asking for extensive preparation isn’t “wrong” but it usually isn’t necessary to eliminate a bed bug infestation.
They Offer a Specific Number of Services for Everyone
The amount of services and effort a company needs to use to solve your problem should differ by the extent of the problem. If a company offers you a certain number of services no matter the extent of the problem, it can be a warning sign of an inexperienced company. If they offer you a certain number of services no matter the size of the problem, ask questions why. Sometimes they may just offer a certain number and then you can purchase more services if needed but that can be a model that ends up costing you more. Ask questions and listen!
Final Thoughts on Hiring Bed Bug Exterminators in Boston
Hiring a licensed and professional pest control company is a crucial part of eliminating your bed bug problem completely. Look for an exterminator who will complete a rigid initial inspection to confirm the presence of bed bugs or implement monitors such as interception devices to detect their presence. Ensure that you choose someone who will develop a personalized treatment plan based on your specific situation.
Boston is a particular hotspot for regular infestation due to population density and housing options, so choose a company that will test and monitor for bed bug activity even after the initial treatment. In general, avoid companies that guarantee results in a certain number of visits and instead choose someone who will proceed based on the efficacy of the first pesticide treatment.
Never be afraid to ask an exterminator questions to ensure you’re hiring a pest control company that will solve your problem with the best practices for your home.