Florida homeowners have some relief from pests this time of year which makes it the perfect time to shop for a pest control service, according to University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences experts.
“Florida’s pest pressure tends to be higher due to multiple factors including our climate, rainfall and more,” Faith Oi, UF/IFAS Extension entomology and nematology scientist and director of Pest Management University (PMU) said. “Pests enter our homes because we keep areas comfortable for us which means our homes are also comfortable for pests.”
It is important to call a professional before the situation turns into an emergency or any time there is a concern for structural damage or public health issues. Do your homework and choose a pest control provider before you have a problem, she says.
“There are a lot of things homeowners can do to prevent pests,” Oi said “Do not feel pressured to buy pest control services on the spot. Do your homework. Florida has the largest pest control market in the U.S. and at UF/IFAS Extension, we have developed a resource to help select a pest control company that is right for you.”
PMU is a voluntary program for pest control companies that can partially fulfill the 40-hour state initial training requirement for new technicians or for existing employees who seek to advance their skill set, including those who qualify for the state certified operator exam. The companies that attend PMU seek cutting-edge information from UF/IFAS. The training is focused on science and operating in compliance with the law, according to Oi, and UF/IFAS PMU does not develop company policy.
Home and businessowners can find PMU alumni, pest management companies that have gone above and beyond the minimum training required for state licensing, by visiting the PMU alumni locator.
“A PMU alumnus represents dedication from the company that supported the training and that they value continued learning to improve the industry,” Joe Jonovich, PMU instructor said.
It is important to hire the right company and to stay engaged in your home pest control plan. Interview three to five pest control companies before deciding on one and make sure to discuss the approach they will use to address the pests in your home, Oi says.
“One of the things that we hear consistently from pest control companies is that they want homeowners to ask questions and be engaged,” Jonovich said. “We encourage homeowners to ask for Integrated Pest Management (IPM), a more sustainable method of pest management.”
“Data from research conducted across the world for decades has demonstrated IPM’s effectiveness,” Oi said. “In the long-run, an IPM approach is more successful, sustainable and cost-effective for homeowners and the pest control company.”
There are things a homeowner can do that will support an IPM plan. For example, seal around windows and doors to keep pests out like palmetto bugs and other occasional invaders. Fixing screens during the springtime when windows are open will also prevent pests from coming in.
“There are a lot of reasons people want to move to Florida, but the pests like it too,” Oi said. “Pests have an amazing ability to survive our winters, but sometimes they do slow down this time of year. We have a lot of good companies in the state, so it is the right time to shop and do your homework to find the best fit.”
For more information, visit https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in1269.