Is Pest Control Safe for My Family and Pets?
Modern pest control techniques are designed to attack pests, not pets or children. With the latest in Integrated Pest Management technology, pest control specialists are able to provide targeted applications that minimize the potential of humans or pets coming into contact with any pesticide products. Nonetheless, in order to drop the already tiny risk even further, it only makes sense to follow a few simple precautions. Here are the things you should consider when hiring a pest management service.
Balance the risks
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America found that 90% of allergy specialists have referred a patient with allergies to a pest management company because of the allergens carried by household pests. Insects and other pests are also known carriers of bacteria and diseases. Weigh the risks of allowing pests into your home against the slight risks of professional pest management.
Tell your pest control technician
When you call to schedule your service appointment, let the office know if you have kids or pets in the house. While all reputable pest control services make a habit of using products and treatment methods that are relatively safe, you might receive additional instructions for protecting your child or pet. You might also be asked to crate pets to avoid them getting too close to the technician during pesticide application.
Be sure to tell the technician who arrives to complete your service as well. While good companies strive to make sure that everyone has all the information they need, some things occasionally slip through the cracks. Ask the tech what to do with your pets and children while he or she works, and how long you will need to keep them away.
Get written information
Ask for the MSDS (material safety data sheets) for all the products that your technician will use. These documents provide a great deal of scientific and technical data about the product, including its active ingredients and safe handling practices. Also ask your technician to provide a written copy of any instructions he or she gives you to ensure that you do not forget anything.
If you do not understand how to read the MSDS, ask your technician. Most pest control techs are experts in the products they use, and will be glad to explain anything that is confusing. If you have any concerns, speak with your doctor about the chemicals listed on the MSDS.
In many cases, multiple products can achieve the same or similar effects. One distribution method might be better than another for your family’s unique concerns. A good pest control company will have informed employees who understand the products and services they sell. If the person you talk to seems uninformed or uninterested in spending time with you, consider it a red flag. One poorly informed employee could be an anomaly, but two or more often demonstrate a lack of adequate training standards. Proceed cautiously and consider choosing a different company instead.
Never allow a technician to begin work until you feel entirely comfortable. You might find yourself responsible for paying the bill for a service that makes you nervous. Of course, you should never sign a contract for future work, especially continuing service over time, unless you feel absolutely certain about what will happen.
Call your vet
Pest control technicians come into frequent contact with average, healthy, cats and dogs. They may have less experience with young kittens or puppies, more exotic pets, and animals with health problems. Birds in particular are susceptible to respiratory problems, and fish tanks provide an open route for particles to settle. A quick call to the vet with the MSDS and proposed application method in hand can give you tremendous peace of mind and help you decide how to proceed.
Call your doctor
If you are pregnant, have a newborn baby, or have any health concerns that make you reluctant to seek pest control, call your doctor for advice. In most cases, the risk of illness from an untreated pest problem is vastly higher than the risk from exposure to the heavily targeted products and applications used by professional pest control services. Nonetheless, pest control technicians are not doctors and cannot give you medical advice. It is always best to seek the opinion of your health care provider if you feel uncomfortable.
If a pest control product will be applied in an open area, your technician will tell you how long to avoid the area, which is typically the length of time that the product takes to dry. But every product, application, and personal situation is different, and different instructions might apply to crawling babies or pets. For example, your dog might dig up buried pest control products, or your cat might decide to eat a mouse that was killed by pesticide. Before your technician leaves, confirm his or her instructions and ask if there are any areas that you should keep your kids or pets out of for a longer period of time.
Although it is not usually necessary, some people feel most comfortable taking their kids and pets out of the house during the actual treatment process. If this is the case, arrange to meet your tech afterwards or call the office to ask any last-minute questions. A good pest control company will be patient and understanding. Remember, it is your money, your home, and your family, and you always have the right to do what you feel is best.
University Termite & Pest Control Inc. has served the Tucson area for more than 40 years. Give us a call today at 520-886-4146 (Tucson) or at 800-887-4146 (toll-free) to schedule your free, no-obligation inspection.