Make sure to check out your pest control company, contract
Sunday's column explained how to recognize the signs of a termite infestation as well as how to prevent one. It's also important to know what to look for in a pest control company that you would be trusting with your home.
These companies are regulated and licensed by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service's Bureau of Entomology and Pest Control.
Florida Statute 482 requires anyone performing pest control work to be licensed and to display the license in their place of business. It also requires anyone soliciting or performing pest control to carry their state-issued identification card, which includes the carrier's photograph, signature, name of employer and expiration date. It is required by law that this identification card be presented immediately to anyone requesting it; the pest control employee must have this card available for viewing during any business-related interactions.
Before signing a contract with a pest control company, ask about its insurance policy. Companies are required by law to carry bodily injury coverage of $100,000 for each person and $300,000 for each occurrence, property damage of $50,000 for each occurrence and $100,000 in total or combined single-limit coverage of $400,000.
Some companies offer a warranty or guarantee on work. A contract should state in bold whether a warranty is just for retreatment or for both retreatment and repair. Carefully read the terms and conditions, which may contain a disclaimer or limitation on the warranty. Any such statement should be clearly noted on the front page.
Infestation means there is a presence of live pests. Any company representative should be able to show you a live bug or otherwise prove that a colony is still active and working in your home. Be present during the termite inspection to ensure that the investigator does a thorough search of your home, and can adequately and intelligently answer any questions about an infestation and treatment options and pesticides.
There are a few different treatment options available, and all work very differently.
The bait tactic works by inserting cylinders containing wood and chemicals into the ground surrounding your home. As long as this is the only food source available, termites will flock for food and become contaminated. The chemical does not kill the pest immediately so termites can take it back to the colony for further transfer. This is a slow-working treatment and can take up to 8 months to eliminate an infestation.
There are also chemical soil treatments that are spread around the perimeter of your home. Some of the solvent-based treatments can cause problems for asthmatics during the drying process. To ensure elimination, the termite must be exposed to the chemical. Make sure these treatments are not repellent. If so, the termites will avoid the repellent and look for a path that is not treated to get to the wood in your home.
The Bureau of Entomology and Pest Control suggests getting multiple estimates and inspections before contracting a company. To check licenses or complaint history, call toll-free 1-800-435-7352.
Information from www.termite.com, www.doacs.state.fl.us, and www.killthetermites.com was used in this report.