WEST MICHIGAN — If you've been outside lately, you've probably noticed how bad the mosquitoes are right now. That's why the State of Michigan and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) are warning people about scammers looking to cash in.
"What I was impressed with really was how huge a reversal it was from like virtually no mosquitoes at all to just a biblical plague of them," said entomology professor Ned Walker to WXYZ.
With more insects flying around, a lot of people may be looking to get their yards sprayed to prevent them, and officials say there are some tips to keep in mind.
First off, the Better Business Bureau says businesses that offer pest control have to be licensed by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, and employ applicators that have passed the department's Pesticide Proficiency Examinations.
"Both of those sites have lists of businesses who have those licenses. So you can go straight to the state website. Or you can check and find a better business bureau- accredited business," says Katie Grevious with the BBB. "One of the things we do with our accreditations is we check to make sure they have all of those licenses, and permits and the workers that they have, are certified to do that work."
Grevious says in addition to checking initial accreditations, to watch out for companies that seem to pressure you to make a quick decision.
She also says mosquito and bug removal companies should have their services listed out somewhere, along with the types of chemicals they're going to use, and the potential effects of those chemicals.
Grevious says other things to keep in mind:
- Companies should provide you with their license number to look up online, if they don't, consider going elsewhere.
- If the price sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Avoid paying in all cash.
- Use a credit card when possible, so it's easier to dispute a charge if there's an issue
The BBB also urges people to be cautious if a company just shows up for a job.
"I would always say be wary of door solicitations. It's not, you know, like, never don't answer the door, slam it in their face, just be extra cautious when a situation like that does come up," says Grevious. "Just because someone's at your door does not mean you have to give them money or hire them for service."
And remember, mosquitoes also carry the risks of illnesses like eastern equine encephalitis and West Nile virus, so you should wear pants and long sleeves when outdoors and use bug spray with DEET. Experts also say to get rid of standing water in your yard from things like toys and kiddie pools, and make sure your pets are on heartworm preventatives.