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Interesting Pest Information

THE 4 COMMON MISTAKES HOMEOWNERS MAKE IN PEST CONTROL

1. DO-IT-YOURSELF PEST CONTROL
TOP TEN BUGGIEST
STATES
As ranked by homeowners
And confirmed by product sales data—2010


1. Florida
2. Louisiana
3. Texas
4. California
5. Georgia
6. New York
7. Mississippi
8. Alabama
9. Missouri
10. South Carolina
Survey sponsored by BASF Pest Control Solutions—2010
FTC Warns Manufacturers and Retailers of
Ultrasonic Pest-control Devices—May 3, 2001


Staff of the Federal Trade Commission's Division of Enforcement today announced that they have sent warning letters to more than 60 manufacturers and retailers of ultrasonic pest-control devices, stating that efficacy claims about those products must be supported by scientific evidence. FTC staff reviewed print and catalog advertisements and conducted a "surf" of Internet sites marketing such devices. They found that many of the advertisements make explicit claims about the products' ability to eliminate rodents or repel insects. According to staff, these types of claims may not be in compliance with the FTC Act, which prohibits false and deceptive advertising.

Between 1985 and 1997, the FTC brought law enforcement actions against six companies that allegedly made false and unsubstantiated claims about the effectiveness of ultrasonic devices in controlling rodent and insect infestations. Each of those cases was resolved by consent order. In those prior actions, the FTC challenged the following types of claims:

  • Eliminates rodent infestations
  • Repels insects
  • Serves as an effective alternative to conventional pest-control products
  • Increases or assists the effectiveness of other pest-control methods
  • Eliminates fleas on dogs or cats
  • Scientific tests prove product effectiveness

Prior FTC complaints alleged that any reaction by rodents to ultrasound would be temporary at best because rodents become accustomed to ultrasound and will return to their nesting or feeding areas even in the presence of an ultrasonic device. Furthermore, previous FTC complaints alleged that ultrasound devices do not control insects.

The warning letters urged manufacturers and retailers of ultrasonic pest-control devices to examine their advertising and ensure they have competent and reliable scientific evidence to support claims that a product eliminates or repels certain pests. Staff advised the manufacturers and sellers that if they have misrepresented the benefits of their products, or if their claims are not properly substantiated, they may be subject to legal action. FTC staff will continue to monitor the advertising of ultrasonic pest-control devices to ensure that claims made to consumers are not false or deceptive.

The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them.

Sprays, powders, and other products purchased off the shelf at hardware stores can only hide your bug problems, while they get worse. Using these products can make household pests disappear from sight, but not from your house. Also, professional pest control service providers do have access to stronger materials than you do. “Do-it-yourself” may save you money in the short-term, but it will allow your problem to multiply and ultimately cost you more.

2. USING UNQUALIFIED PEST CONTROL SERVICE PROVIDERS
Make sure that the pest control company you use is certified by the Texas Department of Agriculture and can show you documents to prove it—this Certification is EARNED, and cannot be bought. Further, consider issues such as number of years in business and experience, training, licensing and hiring of technicians.

3. RELYING ON THE “BRAND NAME” OF A BIG NATIONAL COMPANY AND NOT READING THE “FINE PRINT” ON THEIR CONTRACTS
Refer to our separate sheet, enclosed titled: FACTS ABOUT “BIG NAME” NATIONAL PEST CONTROL COMPANIES. Note: be very careful NOT to sign automatically renewing long-term or continuing service contracts not backed by straightforward guarantees you fully understand.

4. NOT GETTING COMPLETE, THOROUGH, PROFESSIONAL PEST INSPECTIONS FOR YOUR HOME.
The DFW area is such a “bug area” it is simply dangerous to go without these inspections. We recommend getting these inspections once every year, or twice, then continuously as part of regular pest control service—but not that few companies automatically include continuous re-inspection in their service. FAILURE TO HAVE YOUR HOME PROFESSIONALLY INSPECTED CAN RESULT IN MISSED SERIOUS PEST INFESTATIONS THAT MAY REQUIRE VERY COSTLY, EXTREME REMEDIES.
Choosing a Pest Control Service

1. If possible, obtain price quotes from at least two to three companies. Compare the service, warranty and price. The lowest price does not always mean the best deal, so when shopping for pest control professionals, ask about application techniques (chemical or non-chemical) that will be used. This is especially important for people sensitive to certain pesticides.

2. If necessary, check with the Better Business Bureau for the past record of a company.

3. Get a contract in writing. Written contacts always are better than verbal promises.

4. Make sure that the initial price assures reasonable success, or there may be an extra fee if the company needs to come back for re-treatments.

5. Inquire if the company has liability insurance.

6. Ask if the company’s technician has a license to apply pesticides in Texas.

7. Be certain the company is registered to conduct business within the state.