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Is it Time to Call in the Professionals?

By: Dr Gareth Evans - Updated: 21 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Pest Professional Council Treatment

None of us like to admit that we have any kind of a pest problem, and least of all, that we have one that we can’t deal with ourselves. It’s scarcely the sort of thing that you’re going to want to boast about or advertise, so it’s hardly surprising that we can all tend to be a bit slow when it comes to admitting defeat, and more than a little reluctant to ask for help.

Never the less, there are times when the only sensible course of action is to do just that, but often the problem is knowing when. Is that persistent patch of fungus a major problem, or merely a minor blight? What exactly are those odd-looking creepy crawlies – and are they harmless, or likely to cause a lot of damage? Can I control those mice myself, or should I phone the council?

Some of the times the answer is obvious, but at others, it can be a difficult decision to make, so if you’re wondering if it’s time to call in the professionals, here’s our handy guide to help you make your mind up. Work your way through these ten simple questions and by the end, you should have a pretty good idea whether or not you really need to pick up that phone.

1. Have you ever been bothered by ANY sort of pest before?

  • a) Yes.
  • b) No, never.
  • c) Not in my present home.

2. How long ago did it happen?

  • a) Less than a year ago.
  • b) More than a year ago.
  • c) It doesn’t apply; I answered (b) to question 1.

3. Is it the SAME sort of pest causing the current problem as before?

  • a) Yes.
  • b) No.
  • c) It doesn’t apply; I answered (b) to question 1.

4. How recently did the problem begin?

  • a) Within the last week.
  • b) Within the last three months.
  • c) It’s been going on for ages.

5. Is it only affecting you or your household ?

  • a) Yes.
  • b) No – SOME of my neighbours are also being affected.
  • c) No – ALL of my neighbours are also being affected.

6. Have you been trying to treat the problem yourself?

  • a) Yes, I/we are treating it right now.
  • b) Yes, I/we did try to treat it.
  • c) No.

7. Is the treatment working?

  • a) Yes.
  • b) No.
  • c) It doesn’t apply; I answered (c) to question 6.

8. Do you think that the problem seems to be getting better, or worse?

  • a) Better.
  • b) Worse.
  • c) About the same.

9. Who or what is the pest problem affecting?

  • a) You, other household members or one of your pets.
  • b) Garden plants.
  • c) Food, furnishings or the fabric of your home.

10. Finally, how much damage, discomfort or annoyance is the pest problem causing?

  • a) Some, but not a huge amount.
  • b) Lots.
  • c) None / very little.


1. (a) 3 points (b) 1 point (c) 2 points.
2. (a) 3 points (b) 2 points (c) 1 point.
3. (a) 3 points (b) 2 points (c) 1 point.
4. (a) 1 point (b) 2 points (c) 3 points.
5. (a) 1 point (b) 2 points (c) 3 points.
6. (a) 1 point (b) 2 points (c) 3 points.
7. (a) 1 point (b) 2 points (c) 3 points.
8. (a) 1 point (b) 3 points (c) 2 points.
9. (a) 3 points (b) 1 point (c) 2 points.
10. (a) 2 points (b) 3 points (c) 1 point.

So Is it Time to Call in the Professionals?

25 to 30 points

Yes it is! It sounds as if you have a long-term, persistent problem that just won’t go away, so now is definitely the time to make that call, but don’t worry. Whether you get your local authority or a commercial pest control company involved, you should find that their professionalism will make the whole experience far less unpleasant than you have doubtless been imagining – and best of all you’ll be in the hands of the experts. Your pest problems should soon be history!

15 to 24 points

It’s not quite so clear cut for you. There’s probably no immediate need to call in the professionals, but your problem seems to be one of those that could go either way, so you’ll need to stay vigilant for a little while to see how things do turn out. It’s probably worth working your way through this questionnaire again in a week or two and if your score is going down, then all well and good – but if it’s rising, then it’s probably time to seek some professional help.

10 to 14 points

It sounds as if you have things under control yourself at this point, and your pest problem is responding to what you’re doing, so there doesn’t appear to be any real need to call for any outside help. That may change, of course, if the infestation doesn’t clear up, or it suddenly becomes worse, so keep an eye on how things are going – but in all probability you seem to be solving this one perfectly well yourself.

Good luck – however you deal with your pest problem!

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