Pest Control for Your Home and Garden

by Matt Solis

Last month, we took a look at pest control for businesses; this month, we’re examining pest control strategies for your home. With our moderate climate, pests are a year-round nuisance for Bay Area homeowners. Pests don’t go away on their own, so if an infestation is left unaddressed, it can lead to significant property damage and even harm the health of your family and pets. Keep reading to find out how pest control professionals handle a variety of common household invaders.


Termites can lead to costly problems. A termite colony will slowly eat away at the wood of a home over several years before the damage becomes noticeable. At that point, the homeowner must deal with not only the termite infestation, but also the structural damage caused by the colony. There are several steps you can take to prevent potential termite infestations, including sealing any areas where wood and soil come in contact, storing firewood far away from your home, and cutting back any vegetation from your home’s foundation. A qualified termite control company can do a home inspection and perform a localized treatment if the infestation is limited to a small area. However, a broader termite infestation can only be solved by tent fumigation. While fumigation is a lengthy and complicated extermination process, it’s highly effective at ending infestations and preventing future ones.

Fleas and Ticks

More than half of all pet owners have experienced problems with fleas and ticks. The warm, dense fur of cats and dogs makes an ideal home for these pests. Unfortunately, fleas and ticks can carry a host of diseases that can sicken both you and your pet. If an infestation does occur, it’s best to contact a pest control professional, as DIY methods are often ineffective in the long run. The company will instruct you on how to prepare your home for flea treatment. The technician will focus on the parts of your home that are most attractive to fleas and ticks, specifically where the pets sleep and areas with low light levels. Fleas and ticks reproduce quickly, so pet owners must be vigilant about preventing reinfestation. Be sure to frequently comb your pets’ fur, regularly vacuum all carpeting and upholstery, and administer any medications recommended by your veterinarian.


Mice and rats are a common cause for concern in the Bay Area. Clever and destructive, rodents have been known to go after food, insulation and even electrical wiring once inside a home. You can prevent a rodent infestation by eliminating obvious food sources and making it harder for mice and rats to gain access to your home. Don’t leave pet food outdoors, and if you have an outdoor composting bin, make sure it’s tightly closed and elevated from the ground. Cut back any vegetation that contacts your roof or gutters. Walk the perimeter of your home and seal any cracks that are greater than a quarter-inch thick (rodents can squeeze into very tight spaces).

If you already have rodents on your property, it may be tempting to use poison. However, commercially sold poisons are also attractive to pets and wildlife that prey on rodents (such as foxes, owls and hawks). Snap traps and electric traps are viewed as the safest and most humane way to stop rodents. If you feel uneasy about handling traps yourself, a pest control professional can help. A technician will inspect your home and try to discover how rodents may be getting inside. They can then set traps strategically and return later to check them. A technician may also offer advice on better ways to store pantry items, pet food or anything else that may be attracting rodents.

Garden Pests

Pests can be troublesome outside the home as well. Bay Area gardens are at risk from aphids, ants, wasps, beetles, snails, gophers and more. To handle an extensive infestation in your garden, it’s best to bring in a pest control professional who can apply the principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM). This method of pest control goes beyond just applying pesticides by trying to understand the needs of the ecosystem as a whole. IPM might mean using pesticides in a limited part of the garden or applying treatments at a particular point in the pests’ life cycle so it’s most effective. An experienced pest control professional will be able to eliminate garden pests without harming the insects or bacteria that are beneficial to your garden.

What to Look for in a Pest Control Service

When you have a pest control issue in your home, you want to find a professional quickly. However, it’s still important to be diligent about choosing a company with the right credentials due to the inherently dangerous properties of pesticides. California requires pest control companies and individual technicians to renew their licenses annually. Your pest control company should also carry liability insurance and workers’ compensation. Online reviews can let you know whether the company has been trustworthy and respectful to past clients. Many homeowners simplify the selection process by turning to the Diamond Certified Resource. When you choose a Diamond Certified pest control service, you’re guaranteed to work with a company that’s qualified, properly licensed, and independently rated Highest in Quality and Helpful Expertise®.