Nobody likes having to sit down and have this talk. It’s awkward, and we’d all prefer someone else tell them—but it has to be done.

If you want the pest removal in your home to be done in the greenest way possible, you’re going to need to sit down with your pest control specialist and have a talk.


They’re never going to guess that you have concerns about how green and/or eco-friendly their methods are—you have to tell them. Here are a few pointers on having this awkward talk with a pest control specialist.

When to Talk

Typically, pest control professionals will come to your home for an initial consultation in order to survey the damage and give you an idea of what needs to be done (along with a price estimate). They’ll likely sit down with you, most likely at a table or set of chairs in your home (and if not, it’s polite for you to invite them to do so).

This is the ideal time to talk to them; you’re face-to-face, a real, live customer rather than a voice on a phone. They can more fully pick up on vocal and non-verbal cues you give them if the conversation is held in your own home—perhaps you can even show them why this is a concern for you. And for those of us slightly timid to ask favors, or for people to go out of their way (raising my hand too, guilty as charged), it’s easier to do so literally on your home turf.

How to Begin?

You don’t want to come off as critical of their methods. Many of the firms you will employ will take pride in methods and procedures they may have developed themselves and may therefore take offense when you question.

A little application of genuine praise and frankness will be your best opener. Praise their inspection of your home and the reason you’re thinking of hiring them—be it for their tidiness, thoroughness, or commitment to customer service.

Then, in a nonthreatening, calm voice, explain that you need/want the process of pest removal to be as green as possible. Then go on to tell them why.

Are you an animal lover? Tell them so. “I know they’ve invaded my home and that’s not acceptable to me because I want it to be a safe space for my family, but I’m not comfortable with the {raccoons/termites/ants/rodents} suffering unnecessarily.” Is it a matter of your religion or personal convictions to be sure that animals either live or die as humanely as can possibly be arranged, with as little pain felt as possible? State this explicitly to your pest control professional; he or she can work with you to find the removal method designed to cause the animals the least pain possible to get them out of your home.

Do you have a pet you’re concerned for? Are there young, curious children with medical sensitivities in your home? Does someone in the home have allergies or other respiratory problems?

If your pest control company and specialists know what your concerns center around, they can have a better idea of what future preventative treatments to use on your home—an important step once the current pests have been eradicated—that will keep everyone and everything that’s supposed to be living in your  house happy and healthy.

Discuss All Solutions

Once your pest control specialist informs you of the type and magnitude of the pest invasion in your home, make sure they explain every option available for the problem.

The number of options available to you will of course depend on the specific type of pest that has invaded your home. A rodent problem may be taken care of (albeit painstakingly) by individually trapping the animals and releasing them far, far away. However, if termites have burrowed into the wood that makes up your home, the entire colony will almost certainly have to die if your home is to remain safe and structurally intact.

It will help immensely if you’re able to do a little research of your own so you can contribute to the conversation and hold your own; this will earn you reassuring background knowledge and the respect of the pest control specialist consulting with you.

Ask detailed questions about each solution available for your particular problem—is it painful for the animal? What chemicals are available for use? Is there any way that another, more natural treatment could be used? What becomes of any rodents (or larger animals, such as birds and raccoons) caught and removed from your property?

Be Prepared to Compromise

Maybe your usual company (and other companies in the area) can’t use the greenest methods available, or they have to order it in specially. Maybe the more humane methods will drive up your estimate. Be prepared to make concessions in these areas when and where you can.

The people performing this service are human beings who need the money you’re paying them for this service. Much as we’re certain that no Long Island exterminator or Tallahassee raccoon catcher would want to see you suffer, they are doing this unpleasant job because they are earning money to live. If your requests for the greenest job possible complicates things or drives up the cost, be money-wise but reasonable. You are both adult humans with the capacity to discuss things reasonably, so come to a solution you can both agree upon while keeping a friendly professional relationship.

Follow these tips and having the Green talk with your pest control worker should go smoothly!

Leslie Mason is a homemaker and garden expert. Leslie enjoys writing (including research with sites like Suburban Exterminating), gardening, do-it-yourself projects, and fixing up the house.