If you’re dealing with unwanted pests and vermin in your house, you may be experiencing a bit of a panic. Fortunately, it’s not something to freak out about, as many professionals specialize in safely and humanely restoring your house to a pristine condition, unoccupied by any unwanted or uninvited guests like rats or mice. Your best choice for dealing with this issue is either a pest control company or rat exterminators, and in this article, we’ll go over some of the key differences between these two titles.
Pest Control Vs. Extermination
Pest control and extermination companies have very similar goals, but the way they are achieved is different. Pest control can be understood as more of a long-term strategy that combines various types of Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, to curb and control these issues. This type of contract is usually longer term and involves dealing with the issues over months or even years.
Pest control was first developed after the industrial revolution when the advent of cities and factories started drawing many people from the countryside into the cities. The crowded and squalid living conditions created a ripe environment for exploitation by rats, and serious problems soon developed in the cities. This led to the creation of the “rat catcher” profession, who would travel from city to city, usually carrying a bunch of strung-up rat carcasses with them, using a combination of techniques like traps and hunting dogs to keep the vermin at bay.
In the 20th century, people began deploying a form of chemical warfare against pests. Compounds like DDT, arsenic, lead, and strychnine began to be used to combat these issues, and people showed no mercy. This is when the profession began to be called an “exterminator”.
What do Exterminators do?
Exterminators tend to work in the short-term, not the long-term. The school of thought in the first half of the 20th century was simply to come in, drop chemical bombs and sprays on the pests, and try to get rid of them entirely. It was an all-out war, but they were missing some key war-time strategies.
For one thing, pest control is not a one-and-done type of deal. It is much more subtle, and while chemicals and other heavy weapons against pests have their place, pest control requires changes in your lifestyle and structural changes to the building to be successful. This is why pest control is generally regarded as superior to short-term extermination jobs that focus solely on killing as many pests as possible at once.
In other words, it was found that preventative measures like sealing off holes and not leaving food or crumbs out in the first place are much more effective than coming in with bug bombs when they are already established. It’s very, very difficult to get rid of an established infestation, as almost always enough pests will scatter, survive, and return to their nests to restart their lives.
An Ounce of Prevention
The old saying holds true – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. What this means for pest control is that if you realize and implement a pest control strategy before the infestation gets established or out of control, you have a much higher chance of successfully mitigating it. Some of the strategies you can use are:
- Block any small holes, cracks, windows, or other entryways into your house, especially where pipes enter. No opening into your house should be larger than ¼ inch, and smaller if possible.
- Keep your food contained in the kitchen, and always clean up. Never leave food out overnight or allow crumbs to build up on the counter. When you clean, move objects that may be on the counter, like toasters, and thoroughly clean up underneath them.
- Try to avoid leaving materials that can be used for nesting around your house. This includes things like paper, newspaper shavings, styrofoam, egg cartons, or anything else that can be easily torn apart or shredded.
- Keep your yard as clean as possible, and try not to leave piles of leaves, trash, or any other areas that can be dark, enclosed, and attractive to small animals. Think of your yard as a buffer between you and the rats, and try to make yours less attractive to animals than other yards nearby.
Anyone practicing all of this probably won’t have to worry about rat or pest infestations, but if it happens then don’t panic. It’s not your fault, and it’s a common issue. Pest control companies will be happy to help you mitigate the problem with a combination of traps, and chemicals, and rat-proofing your home.
If you feel that you may need a pest control company, don’t delay – as the problem will only get worse and harder to fix over time. Take action now before the colony establishes itself, and return your home to the beautiful and pristine state you love.