I've never been a big fan of insects. Some are very beneficial (bees, for instance), but most are just a big nuisance. What's the best way to avoid getting 'bugged' this summer (and I don't mean by the NSA!)? Your Better Business Bureau offers up the latest buzz (sorry!) on pest control.

Avoid getting bugged by potentially harmful pests this summer

BBB tips for hiring a trustworthy exterminator

Victoria, TX

Warmer temperatures and rainy weather are bringing out various insects you probably don‘t want in or around your home. Especially since Texas is a state at risk of the mosquito-borne viruses like West Nile and chikungunya. The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has already confirmed the state’s five cases of chikungunya, a viral disease that can cause fever and severe joint pain, and one case of West Nile Fever.

According to DSHS, all cases of chikungunya have been imported, meaning that travelers have acquired the illness while visiting areas where the virus is more common. However, those imported cases mean there is a potential for chikungunya to spread in Texas because the mosquitoes that transmit it are present in the state.

Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin generally sees an increase in consumer inquiries for pest control businesses during these summer months as people try to prevent invasive and potentially harmful bugs. It’s important to be sure you hire a company you can trust. Nationally, BBB received more than 4,000 complaints regarding pest control services in 2013. Most alleged work not being completed according to signed contracts, billing issues or unmet guarantees.

Keep the following advice in mind before hiring a pest control service:

Research the company. Check any pest control company’s BBB Business Review at bbb.org before signing a contract. Look at the company’s rating, how it has responded to customer complaints and any advertising issues. Use checkbbb.org to find a local BBB Accredited pest control service.

Compare prices. Solicit bids from at least three different pest control companies before making a decision. BBB provides a free Request a Quote service to make it easier to gather estimates from local BBB Accredited Businesses.

Ask about safety. Because pesticides and pest control products could be dangerous to touch or inhale, be sure to ask the company about the safety of the chemicals they use. Let the company know if you have pets, children or sensitive plants as that may impact the products they select for your home.

Check for licensing and insurance. Make sure the company meets state licensing requirements by verifying with the Texas Department of Agriculture. Also, be sure to ask for proof of the company’s insurance and coverage for any potential property damage or personal liability.

Get it in writing. Make sure all guarantees are clearly stated in writing with details about the service agreement. Be sure you understand what the company will do if pests continue or come back after treatment.

Carefully review your contract. Be sure you fully understand the nature of the pest to be exterminated, the extent of the infestation, and the work necessary to solve the problem.

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To check out a company and find trustworthy businesses, visit bbb.org.