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Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Pest Control Service in Detroit

Pest-related problems are quite common in Detroit. The city is one of the top bed-bug infested locations in the United States, with 6.5 percent of the households in the Detroit metropolitan area report frequent rodent sightings in their home, and another 1.3 percent reporting frequent roach sightings as well. Hiring a professional exterminator to treat pest infestations in your home early saves you time and expense while also protecting the health of you and your loved ones. Asking the following questions can help you determine whether the exterminator you plan to hire is competent enough to provide your required pest control services:

Are You Licensed to Practice as an Exterminator in Detroit?

Activities involving pest management and the use of pesticides in Detroit are regulated at the state level by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) through its Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division (PPPMD). Per the provisions of Part 83 of the Michigan Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, individuals in the city that wish to provide pest management and control-related services must either be certified or registered as pesticide applicators by this division before doing so. Exterminators that become certified pesticide applicators are authorized to use and supervise the use of restricted-use pesticides when providing their pest control services. On the other hand, exterminators that become registered pesticide applicators are only authorized to apply general-use pesticides.

Exterminators that wish to become certified or registered pesticide applicators must meet certain eligibility requirements, which include:

The PPPMD offers several pesticide certification/registration categories, and individuals that wish to become certified or registered pesticide applicators have the option of applying for as many categories as possible.

In addition to this, pest control businesses that operate in Detroit are required to obtain a state-issued pesticide applicator's business license from the PPPMD. Applicants for this license must either be certified pesticide applicators or have a certified pesticide applicator in their employ, and the credentials of the applicator must cover the requested licensing categories. Applicants will also have to meet other eligibility requirements, which include:

The required documentation and fees can be submitted to the PPPMD at:

Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development
Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division
P.O. Box 30017
Lansing, Michigan 48909

Additional information concerning the PPPMD's certification, registration, and business licensing procedures and requirements can be gotten in person via the address provided above or by calling (800) 292-3939. Inquiries can also be made by contacting the MDARD's Central Licensing Unit at (517) 284-5771.

You should always confirm that your intended exterminator is not only certified or registered but also possesses a valid state-issued business license. You can do this by accessing the MDARD's List of Licensed Pesticide Application Businesses online or by contacting the department at (517) 284-5657 or 1-800-292-3939.

It is important to note that failure to comply with all regulatory requirements for exterminators and pest control businesses in Detroit is considered a misdemeanor and is punishable by jail time of up to 90 days and fines of up to $5,000. Violators may also receive separate administrative fines of up to $1,000 per violation.

Are You Registered with the Michigan State Pest Control Association?

You should always consider hiring an exterminator that belongs to the Michigan Pest Management Association (MIPMA) when searching for professional pest control services in Detroit. This is the premier pest control association in the State of Michigan and it collaborates with the National Pest Management Association to provide its members with access to education, training, and industry resources that translate to better service delivery for consumers. Some advantages that come with hiring exterminators that are members of the MIPMA include:

  • They are typically more experienced and skilled than their counterparts
  • They are held to high standards of ethics and professionalism
  • They are up-to-date on relevant industry regulations
  • They receive ongoing training and education on the latest pest control methods and techniques

You can find members of the MIPMA and NPMA in Detroit by utilizing an online directory that the NPMA provides and maintains for this purpose. You can equally contact the MIPMA at (586) 296-9580 to get referrals to its members that operate in the city. Note that you should always request verifiable proof of membership from any exterminators that are referred to you and also confirm that they have been properly licensed by the state's Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division (PPPMD).

How Much Do You Charge for Pest Control Services and Why?

It is always a good idea to find out how much an exterminator charges for their services before you finalize any hiring arrangements with them. Several factors determine the cost of pest control services in Detroit, and these factors include:

  • The type of pest involved
  • The degree of infestation
  • Accessibility to the infested areas
  • The type of pest treatment required
  • The frequency of the required pest treatment
  • The size of your home
  • The amount of labor required for the job
  • Your location within the city
  • The exterminator's reputation

To ensure that you get charged a fair rate for your required pest control service, you should consider getting and comparing estimates for the job from at least three different exterminators in the city. Note that you should not just hire the exterminator that submits the lowest bid for the job, especially if this exterminator's rates are significantly lower than the other submitted estimates. Always ask for an explanation if you notice significant differences in an exterminator's cost estimates and be wary of exterminators that cannot provide this explanation.

Pest control workers in Detroit earn an average annual wage of $42,860. The list below compares the average hourly wages of this category of professionals in the city with those in other parts of the State of Michigan and other locations across the United States:

Detroit Pest Control Workers Average Hourly Wage
$20.61
Grand Rapids Pest Control Workers Average Hourly Wage
$19.22
Sterling Heights Pest Control Workers Average Hourly Wage
$20.61
Ann Arbor Pest Control Workers Average Hourly Wage
$20.64
Warren Pest Control Workers Average Hourly Wage
$20.61
New York City Pest Control Workers Average Hourly Wage
$21.35
Los Angeles pest Control Workers Average Hourly Wage
$20.91
Chicago Pest Control Workers Average Hourly Wage
$19.05
Houston Pest Control Workers Average Hourly Wage
$19.30

Do You Comply with the City of Detroit Regulations for Pesticide Application?

The Michigan Pesticide Laws and Regulations are a set of rules and statutes that govern pesticides, pest control businesses, and the use of pesticides within Detroit and across the State of Michigan. Some key areas of these regulations that pertain to most pest control and management-related activities in Detroit are:

  • The mandatory certification or registration of individuals that apply restricted-use and general-use pesticides respectively
  • The mandatory licensing of all pest control businesses in the city
  • The proper siting and registration of all facilities used to store or hold bulk pesticides
  • The proper use of all pesticides in ways that are consistent with the requirements of the product's label
  • The proper use and maintenance of pesticide application equipment
  • The use of adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) during pesticide applications
  • The application of pesticides in manners that minimize off-target drifts
  • The mandatory notification of relevant members of the public at least 24 hours before the application of restricted-use pesticides
  • The issuance of oral or written contracts before any for-compensation pesticide application activities

Hiring an exterminator that is conversant with the provisions of the Michigan Pesticide Laws and Regulations that affect your specific pest control service is crucial in ensuring that these services are provided satisfactorily. Queries concerning these laws and regulations can be directed to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development online, via email, or by calling (800) 292-3939 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Mondays to Fridays. Similar inquiries can also be made by contacting the Detroit Mayor's Help Desk at (313) 224-3400.

What Type of Pest Control Method Are You Using?

The type of pest control method that your exterminator intends to use for your requested pest control and management services goes a long way in determining the effectiveness of these services. Professional exterminators in Detroit generally combine at least two or more of the following types of pest control methods when performing pest control and management activities in the city. These methods are:

  • Biological control
  • Chemical control
  • Habitat modification
  • Mechanical control
  • Physical control
  • Sanitation control

Biological control involves the use of animals and organisms that prey on or are natural enemies of the pest in question to control its population in an area. A common example of this is the use of cats for rodent control. Similarly, physical and mechanical control involves the use of equipment like baits, traps, alarms, and electromagnetic and ultrasonic emitters like MaxMoxie and Avantaway to detect and get rid of pests in an area of interest. On the other hand, habitat modification and sanitation control involve taking steps to prevent pests from growing and spreading in an area by making this space inhospitable or inhabitable to them. These steps usually include improving the hygienic conditions of the space and blocking all possible routes of entrance and exit for the pest. Finally, chemical control involves the use of pesticides that contain active ingredients like piperonyl butoxide, fipronil, boric acid, indoxacarb, pyrethrin, and pyrethroids to kill off pests in the area of interest.

Always find out the types of pest control methods that your intended exterminator plans to use before they commence any work and make sure that these methods are suitable for the type of pest problem that you are facing. Note that many professional exterminators in Detroit use an integrated pest management strategy that effectively combines all these pest control methods to ensure that pest infestations are tackled with minimal impact on people, property, and the environment. Nonetheless, you should consider getting confirmation on whether or not your exterminators will implement these types of strategies for their pest control services. You can find Detroit exterminators that implement integrated pest management strategies through directories provided by organizations like the National Pest Management Association and the Better Business Bureau.

What Household Pests Do You Control?

It is important to find out the types of household pests that exterminators and pest control businesses in Detroit specialize in before signing any contracts with them. While many professional exterminators typically cover a wide range of pests, some may focus on rodents and small animals like rats, mice, and squirrels or insects like bed bugs, ticks, and ants. Likewise, some exterminators and pest control businesses may focus on a particular area of pest control, such as:

  • Pest extermination
  • Pest removal
  • Pest prevention

As the names imply, pest extermination and removal refer to services that involve detecting, eliminating, and removing pests in an area. On the other hand, pest prevention refers to activities taken to ensure that pests do not infest an area or to prevent an eliminated infestation from re-occurring.

Thus, confirming that your preferred exterminator provides services that align with the specific type of pest you want to control ensures that your requested services will be offered efficiently and satisfactorily. In addition to doing this, it is also a good idea to find out and agree on how much you will be charged for these services before any pest control work begins to avoid misunderstandings with your exterminator down the line.

The list below provides cost estimates for pest control services that are commonly offered by professional exterminators in Detroit. It should be noted that the exact amount you may have to pay for these services will be affected by several factors, such as the severity of the pest infestation and your location within the city:

Ant control
$80 - $350
Bat removal
$163 - $237 per visit
Bed bug treatment
$250 - $670
Beehive removal
$85 - $360
Beetle control
$120 - $400
Bug and insect treatment
$125 - $151 (for initial treatment for standard four-bedroom home)
Centipede extermination
$100 - $300
Mosquito control
$110 - $160 (for one-time treatment)
Mouse/rat extermination
$70 - $240
Roach extermination
$80 - $320
Rodent inspection and trap setting
$143 - $158
Silverfish extermination
$120 - $350
Small animal removal
$75 - $375
Spider removal
$100 - $200
Termite extermination
$450 - $2,400
Termite treatment
$6.15 - $8.40 per linear foot (for chemical treatment)
Tick control
$165 - $470
Wasp control
$100 - $750

Do You Carry the Necessary Right Insurance Policy for Exterminators in Detroit?

Exterminators face several work hazards, such as chemical exposure and zoonotic infections, and in 2020 alone, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded more than 2,800 on-the-job injuries amongst this category of workers. Confirming that your exterminators are properly insured saves you from the financial and legal fallout of on-the-job injuries, accidents, property damage, and other related incidents that may occur during the provision of your pest control services.

Per Regulation 636 of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, pest control businesses that operate in Detroit must carry general liability insurance of at least $100,000 per occurrence for bodily injury and $25,000 per occurrence for property damage. Pest control businesses with licensing categories that include aerial application, space fumigation, or right-of-way pest management have the option of carrying general liability insurance with a combined single limit of $300,000 for bodily injury and property damage. Finally, per the requirements of the state's Workers' Disability Compensation Act, pest control businesses in Detroit must also carry workers' compensation insurance for all their employees.

Always confirm that your intended exterminators have complied with these mandatory insurance requirements by requesting a copy of their insurance certificate and contacting the relevant insurance provider to validate the details of this certificate. You can also contact the MDARD's Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division or Central Licensing Unit at (800) 292-3939 and (517) 284-5771 respectively to get additional information on the general liability insurance requirements for Detroit pest control businesses. Inquiries concerning state-mandated workers' compensation insurance can also be directed to the Insurance Compliance Division of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity at (517) 284-8922.

How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Exterminator in Detroit

Complaints concerning pest control businesses, deceptive exterminators, and improper pesticide use in Detroit are typically handled at the state level by agencies like the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) and the Michigan Department of Attorney General.

In 2020 alone, the MDARD investigated 227 pesticide-related complaints from consumers across the state. Similarly, the state's Attorney General's Office handles over 10,000 consumer complaints annually over a wide range of issues, including fraudulent exterminators and unsatisfactory pest control services.

While many exterminators and pest control businesses in Detroit operate legitimately and professionally, some con artists and fraudulent exterminators in the city prey on unsuspecting consumers through several means, some of which include:

  • Requesting full payment for their services upfront and failing to properly provide these services or absconding without doing any work
  • Exaggerating the severity of pest infestations to charge higher fees
  • Using substandard products for their services despite charging premium rates
  • Downplaying the necessity of written contracts or including hidden terms and malicious clauses in their contracts
  • Providing pesticide-related services without proper licensing

A few years ago, ClickOnDetroit reported that scam artists posing as pest control workers had defrauded several homeowners in Detroit and its surrounding environs out of thousands of dollars. These scams mostly involved the scam artists offering unsolicited bug inspection services, discovering evidence of bug infestations, and requesting payment to get rid of these bugs. However, in many cases, these bug infestations were non-existent and the scammers had planted the discovered evidence to fool the homeowners into hiring them.

The following tips can help you avoid falling victim to pest control scams in Detroit:

  • Be wary of door-to-door offers of pest inspections and other pest control and management services
  • Ask friends and family for recommendations to reputable and professional exterminators that they have satisfactorily worked with. You can also find reputable exterminators and pest control businesses in Detroit online via the Better Business Bureau website and the National Pest Management Association's Find a Local Exterminator webpage
  • Make sure that any exterminator you hire has been certified or registered by the MRARD and also possesses a valid pest business license issued by this department. You can do this online or by calling (517) 284-5657 or 1-800-292-3939. It is also a good idea to look out for exterminators that belong to the Michigan Pest Management Association
  • Get estimates for your required pest control service from several exterminators
  • Never rush any decisions you have to make and be wary of exterminators that pressure you to do this
  • Make sure that your exterminator is properly insured and that their insurance limits are enough to cover the scope of the work
  • Request a written contract that specifies the nature of the services that the exterminator or pest control business is expected to provide. Make sure that you read and understand this contract properly before signing it
  • Do not pay the full cost for your pest control services upfront and avoid large advance payments. Make sure that the services are provided per the provisions of your contract and request a warranty for these services

You can report unlicensed or uncertified pest control businesses and exterminators that provide pesticide-related activities in Detroit to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development via an online reporting form. Complaints concerning other types of pesticide-related activities and actions by exterminators in the city can also be reported to this department via a separate online complaint form.

Likewise, matters concerning fraudulent exterminators and pest control scams can be filed with the Consumer Protection Division of the Michigan Department of Attorney General either via an online consumer complaint/inquiry form or by submitting a pdf complaint form to:

Consumer Protection Division
P.O. Box 30213
Lansing, MI 48909-7713

The pdf form can also be submitted via fax to (517) 241-3771. Questions related to this division's consumer complaint and resolution process can be directed to (517) 335-7599 or toll-free number (877) 765-8388 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Mondays to Fridays.

Choosing Between Local Pest Control Firms and Large National Chains: The Pros and Cons

Even if you check all of the boxes for the pest control companies you're considering in terms of licensing, reputation, trade association membership, areas of specialization, and utilized pest control methods, hiring the right exterminator can still be a difficult decision. Most consumers are torn between hiring a local exterminator or a large pest control company like Orkin, Terminix, Arrow Exterminators, Hawx, Ehrlich, Bulwark, Aptive, Mosquito Joe, Truly Nolen, and Viking to control pests in their home or office at this stage. However, assessing the pros and cons of retaining the services of a local or national pest control company in light of the following aspects will help you make an informed decision:

Pros

Local Pest Control Firms
Cheap for routine pest treatment and maintenance
Affordable and highly customizable Pest Control Plans
Deep understanding of the local environment's climatic conditions and seasonal pest infestations
Quicker service turnaround due to proximity
More personal customer service
Nationwide Pest Control Brands
Suitable for routine pest treatment of large homes, offices, and other commercial places
Standardized Pricing and Plan
Perfect for specialized pest treatments requiring sophisticated tools
Retain the services of a wide range of Pest Control professionals
Broader service offerings

Cons

Local Pest Control Firms
Limited specialized equipment for pest control
Limited manpower and resources to clean large area
Nationwide Pest Control Brands
Expensive pest control plans
Same-treatment approach to all customers