Written by Doris Donnerman (last updated July 26, 2008)
Many years ago, before I married, I visited a friend's home for dinner. While Pam finished preparing the meal, I chatted with her in the kitchen. Leaning against the kitchen counter, I looked down at the cat weaving between my ankles, and glanced at his food dish a few steps away. The food seemed to move in the bowl. Upon closer inspection, I realized that the food wasn't moving, but tiny bugs atop it were. With Pam's cherry chattering as background noise, my gaze followed the stream of bugs as they scurried up the kitchen wall, and behind the cupboards. With horror, I realized that Pam's kitchen was infested with baby cockroaches, and further logic dictated that baby cockroaches, en masse, signaled adult cockroaches lurking in darker places. Making hasty apologies for not staying to dinner, rationalizing a forgotten appointment, I quickly escaped.
Despite the sultry summer night's heat, my skin crawled with goose bumps at the thought of the cockroaches possibly having attached themselves to my person or clothes. When I arrived at my apartment, I stripped off my clothes, sealed them in a garbage bag, and then scoured myself in the shower. I thoroughly vacuumed the interior of my car, washed my clothes in hot water, and bought several roach traps at an all-night drugstore to place in my apartment.
Clearly, Pam needed professional help for cockroaches. Perhaps she didn't recognize the cockroach problem until it had gotten out of hand, and then she couldn't afford pest control. Whatever her reasons for not remedying the situation, there are times when pest problems are beyond your control, and it's time to call in a professional. Follow these guidelines to determine how to choose a professional pest exterminator:
Ask to see licenses and insurance certificates before entering into a contract. You should have, in writing, a schedule that the exterminator will follow, with detailed descriptions of areas to be treated in your home and durations of treatment. The exterminator should provide you a copy of the work order after treatment of your home, detailing any problems found, and subsequent recommendations for re-treatment, if warranted. Rely on recommendations from friends, neighbors, and relatives when choosing a professional exterminator.
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