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Is Pest Control Safe for My Pets and Family? Pest Control Chemicals

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Before an exterminator comes to your home, there is some prep work that needs to be done. It is important that you tell your exterminator if you have children or pets, not just for the treatment to work, but to ensure the safety of your little ones and fuzzy companions. Most pest control services use methods, or at least have methods, to keep your pets safe, but there are things you should know about pets and pest control.

Are Pesticides Safe?

Pesticides are made to be applied at low concentrations, generally less than 1 percent. While these concentrations are enough to kill insects, they do not typically harm people or pets. The droplet size of most household application equipment is large enough that the chemicals do not stay in the air for long, allowing little opportunity for inhalation. And any treated surfaces dry quickly, which leaves little to no chance of exposure from those areas. While remaining residue is toxic to insects, it does not present a threat to people. However, you should keep all pets away from treated surfaces until the area has completely dried. If you aren't sure, ask your provider when it's safe.

Keeping Your Pets Safe

Again, most pest control companies have provisions to keep your pets safe, but there are some things you should do to help:

  • Contain your pets: Most animals are curious creatures and are apt to investigate new people, situations, and smells. While most of the pesticides used are not toxic to pets in the concentrations or application methods used, you don't want them to get too close to any chemicals or equipment. If you cannot keep your pets in a carrier or kennel, keep them in a closed room that will not be receiving treatment. Tenting treatments require you to make other arrangements for your pets, as no one can be inside the home during treatment.
  • Special pets: Some pets, such as birds, fish, and reptiles, might need special preparation before treatments for certain insects, such as bed bugs and fleas. Be sure to cover cages and tanks with blankets or towels to keep any airborne mist, droplets, or overspray from entering. Birds especially tend to have sensitive respiratory systemes, so it is a good idea to call your vet to see if you should remove your pet from the home entirely.
  • Tell your exterminator: This is perhaps the most important thing you can do to keep your pets safe. Just let your exterminator know that you have pets and what type so they can plan accordingly to provide a treatment plan that fits your needs and keeps your loved ones safe.

Safety and Fumigation

When fumigation tenting is done, both you and your pets need to be away from the home. Both may return once the recommended amount of time has passed. Coming home sooner than that could result in serious injury or death. Be sure to ask your pest control service when you can return and what to expect upon returning. In addition to your pets themselves, it is a good idea to remove beds or kennels, leashes, pet food, pet dishes, and toys. In some cases, such as when treating bed bugs or fleas, the pests may have made their home in your pet's toys or bed, which means they should not be removed. If this is the scenario, be sure to thoroughly wash any of the items you left behind.

How Much Do Pest Control Services Cost?

Pest control costs depend on the type of pest, how bad the infestation is, the size of your home, the number of treatments you need, and the company you hire. The following general pricing guide offers you an idea of what you can expect to pay for pest control services.

  • Bed bugs are difficult to locate and kill, with an average extermination cost between $500 and $1,500.
  • Bees are often able to be removed and placed with beekeepers as opposed to extermination, though both are usually an option. Bee removal has an average cost between $100 and $300.
  • Carpenter ants are difficult to eliminate and can cause severe structural damage. Removal costs may be as low as $250 or as high as $1,000.
  • Cockroaches are difficult to eradicate and present serious health issues, with removal costs starting around $250.
  • Mice are unsanitary and are known to chew their way through walls and wiring. Most companies offer extermination as well as humane removal, with costs averaging $150.
  • Rats spread disease and gnaw their way through foundations, walls, and wiring. These rodents are larger than mice and more difficult to remove, with costs starting around $300.
  • Termites cost homeowners across the country millions of dollars in repairs each year, so it is important to act on them quickly. Termite extermination has an average cost of around $500.
  • Wasps are incredibly dangerous, even if you aren't allergic, and should be removed immediately. Wasp removal has an average cost between $200 and $500.

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