Sometimes, the pitter patter of tiny feet around the house is the last thing you want to hear. Yes, the only things allowed to make that noise in your new property are your children and your pets – not the uninvited guests that cause so many problems in homes up and down the UK. From cockroaches to bedbugs and mice and rats, there’s a whole army of nasties waiting to invade if the right precautions aren’t taken.

Unwanted, unpleasant and unhygienic, these visitors need to be shown the door as soon as possible. Luckily, help is at hand to allow you to fight back. Whether you want to deal with an infestation, keep pests out or maintain ongoing measures to ensure they stay away, your local pest control specialist is trained for the job and ready to get to work.

What they do

Pest control specialists are experts in identifying the type of pest in your home and safely getting rid of them. Using chemicals, traps and other specialist equipment, they’ll soon rid your home of pests including mice, moths, rats, bed bugs, wasps, flies, ants, spiders, cockroaches and woodworm. Hire one for any pest control job that involves:

  • Investigating pests
  • Collecting dead animals and samples for analysis
  • Finding out how pests are getting in
  • Selecting a method of control
  • Spraying chemicals to get rid of insects
  • Laying poison and traps
  • Using air guns to control birds and animals
  • Advising people how to prevent further problems
  • Removing dead or captured animals

What they charge

Pest control costs vary depending on the treatment required, number of visits and where you are in the UK. The size of your property is also a factor in the price. The following costs are a rough guide for domestic pest control jobs:

  • Treat a wasp nest with spray – £60
  • Three bedbug spray treatments (three bed home) – £205
  • One ant spray treatment – £60
  • One cockroach treatment (three bed home) – £50
  • Rodent control (four bait treatments) – £100
  • Two mole control treatments – £90

Most local councils also provide pest control services for common pests at a range of affordable prices.

What to ask

If you’re hiring a private pest controller, the first question most people need an answer to is “when can you start?” Once this has been agreed, the following info will be useful in ensuring you get a safe, effective service:

  • Does the company or individual conform to British Standard for Pest Managers (BS EN 16636)?
  • Are they fully insured?
  • How many visits are required and are they all included in the price?
  • What if the work carried out does not work?
  • Do they drive inconspicuous vehicles?

Trades to trust

Membership of one or all of the following trade bodies shows that your chosen pest control specialist means business:

The National Pest Technicians Association (NPTA) is run by pest control technicians, for the benefit of other pest control technicians – and their customers.

The British Pest Control Association (BPCA) offers comprehensive advice, best practice advice and training for pest control experts.

The law

Pest control chemicals used for rats and mice are subject to strict controls and only licensed individuals should ever use these as they can enter the food chain if improperly used.

A pest controller can be fined or imprisoned if you cause unnecessary harm to any animal. It’s also an offence to keep or release wild animals such as grey squirrels. They must be killed humanely if caught alive.

It’s also an offence to disturb or destroy bats and some other wildlife, or any place they’re living, even if it’s inside your home!

Your pest controller may need a wildlife licence to kill or catch some wild species.

Ready to hire?

3 is the magic number

As always, try and get three quotes from three different pest control specialists to ensure you pay a fair price for the job.

Certification and references

Don’t be shy about asking for any relevant certification and proof of public liability insurance.