Bed Bugs: Tips on Choosing a Pest Control Company

August 23, 2010

With recent news of bed bug sightings in a variety of locations like movie theaters, clothing stores and offices, more and more New Yorkers are finding themselves wondering what to do if these pests show up in their homes.

“If you think you have bed bugs, check with a professional,” said Claire Rosenzweig, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau Serving Metropolitan New York. “Nobody wants bed bugs, but if you think you have them, the key is to stay calm and protect your home and money by carefully selecting a reputable pest control service.”

When choosing a pest control service:

· Ask friends, family and colleagues for recommendations.

· Check out prospective companies with the Better Business Bureau (

· Ask the company for references of those customers who have received bed bug services from them.

· Make sure the company is licensed. In New York State, pest control companies must be licensed by the Department of Environmental Conservation (

· Be careful about whom you let into your home or office. Ask the company the type of ID they give to their employees and be sure to ask the employee to show it to you. If you have any questions whether a person works for the company call them before you allow anyone entry into your home or office.

· Inquire about the type of treatment being used and if there are potential toxicity/effects that the treatment may have on adults, children or pets.

· Ask questions about the extermination process and don’t be afraid to get a second opinion from another company.

· Receive a written quote and plan during the company’s first visit. The treatment plan should include follow-up visits to ensure the infestation is under control, and the quote should be based on the number of rooms, not based on a flat fee.

· Make sure to get everything in writing. As with any business transaction, be sure to read all agreements, guarantees, and instructions before signing. Do not be pressured into signing an agreement before you are ready and you understand all terms and conditions. Make sure all oral promises are put in writing. Be wary of vaguely worded provisions, exclusions or limitations which could pose a problem later. Never sign a contract with sections left blank.

For more information about bed bugs in NYC, please contact the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. To file a report about bed bugs, please call 311. To file a complaint about a pest control company, you can contact the BBB at, Department of Consumer Affairs, or the Office of the Attorney General.