Consumer's CHECKBOOK magazine surveys consumers for Rodent Control servicesThe chilly temperatures outside are creating an indoor problem for a lot of people.
Cold weather sends mice and rats heading for the heat and food they can find in your house.
You can spend hundreds of dollars trying to rid your home of the nasty rodents, and based on the latest survey by Consumers' CHECKBOOK magazine, some people around here are spending way more than they need to.
"We found big differences in quality, we find some firms that are rated superior by 90, 95 percent of their customers very high ratings. Some, it's down in the 50 , 60 percent range," explained Consumers' CHECKBOOK President Robert Krughoff.
CHECKBOOK rated 43 local pest control services for both quality and price.
"We found prices ranging from less than 200 dollars to more than 400 dollars for exactly the same job," Krughoff said.
Some companies get top marks for quality. Some get top rating for price. But only four get top ratings for both: AARD Pest Control in Lynnwood, 4 Seasons Pest Control in Seattle, Regiment Pest Control in Woodinville and Sprague Pest Solutions in Tacoma.
If you live near a wooded area, green belt, or water source, have bird feeders or dogs that spend time outdoors, experts say check the foundation of your home for holes or cracks.
Rats can squeeze through a hole the size of a quarter. Mice can squeeze through a hole the size of a nickel.
Check your down spouts and bird blocks around the roof. Check your attic and crawl spaces for signs of uninvited guests.
In many cases, you can solve the problem on your own by removing all nests droppings, safely placing traps or rodent poison and blocking the point of access.
If you need professional help, be sure to do your homework, get at least two quotes. And avoid high-pressure sales pitches for long-term treatment contracts.
Consumers' CHECKBOOK is a subscriber-based, nonprofit rating service with publications twice a year. As a special courtesy to KOMO News readers, the link to the full CHECKBOOK ratings on local pest control services will be available for free until Friday, March 4, 2011. Just click on the link inside the red rectangle at the top of the page and enter an e-mail address.