What Does an Exterminator Do?

An exterminator is a person who eliminates pests like insects and rodents from homes, businesses, or industrial buildings. They may use a variety of methods, including insecticides, traps, baits, and exclusion techniques. Their responsibilities also include providing recommendations to clients on ways to prevent pests from returning, such as improving sanitation or sealing cracks and gaps in structures.

Pests can cause serious damage to property and disrupt normal life activities. Some can even pose a health risk. Mosquitoes, for example, spread diseases such as encephalitis, West Nile virus, Zika virus, dengue fever, and malaria. Fleas can cause typhus, while ticks carry Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease. Rodents, on the other hand, can cause damage to structures and contaminate food. In addition, their droppings can cause respiratory problems and allergies in humans and pets.

To become an Exterminator, you need a high school diploma and on-the-job training. Some states require you to pass a background check and obtain a license to handle certain pesticides. You can also pursue a postsecondary certificate or degree in fields such as entomology or agronomy, which can improve your employment opportunities. Most employers expect you to have customer service experience and be detail oriented.

A typical day for an exterminator begins with an inspection of the affected area. They will examine the property to identify the type and severity of the infestation, locate the nest or breeding site, and determine whether there is any structural damage. Then, they will develop a plan for treatment. This might involve using chemical treatments, traps, or baits, depending on the type of pest and the extent of the problem.

Before applying any pesticides, an exterminator takes several safety precautions. They make sure all occupants of the building evacuate during spraying and ventilate the space afterward to allow any fumes to dissipate. They may also wear personal protective equipment such as respirators or gloves. In some cases, they may need to drill into walls or other structures to access infested areas.

After a pesticide has been applied, an exterminator will monitor the affected area to see if any pests have returned. If they do, they will apply additional treatments as needed. Typically, an exterminator will provide specific guidelines for monitoring after treatment, such as how long to wait before reentering the premises or what steps to take if pests return.

In addition to extermination services, some companies offer other pest control solutions such as fumigation, termite control, and bird repellents. Some also have wildlife removal specialists who can deal with nuisance animals such as raccoons, skunks, and opossums. These specialists often use humane trapping methods and exclusion techniques to control populations. It’s important to ask potential exterminators about their pest control policies before hiring them. For instance, you should find out how long their guarantee lasts, what types of re-treatments are covered, and whether they charge for inspections. Also, make sure you understand their cancellation policy. This information is typically included in the contract.

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