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Ever since there have been homes, there have been unwanted guests and not all of them human. While everyone discovers an isolated insect of some sort in their homes occasionally, a full-blown infestation is a less frequent occurrence. Nevertheless, it's a risk that everyone, whether you live in an apartment or house, must take seriously. While most people would probably not want to share their home with vermin or insects simply because they find them "icky," the fact is that any infestation can pose potentially serious problems, either to the structural integrity of the house or the health of the occupants. If you suspect you have an infestation, you will want to contact a pest control service right away.Of course, the easiest time to address an infestation is before you have an infestation. There are steps you can take to mitigate some of the more common risk factors. For example, make sure all the garbage cans, both inside and outside your home, are covered, and any leftover food is tightly sealed and not left out in the open. Check your windows and doorframes, and make sure they seal tightly when closed. If possible, inspect your gutters regularly; clogged gutters create standing water where mosquitoes will breed. Finally, if you have firewood, keep it stacked away from your home to discourage any termites that may be living in the wood.If it is too late to prevent an infestation, it's time to call in the pros. Comparison shopping is always advised, but as with any potential health risk, time is of the essence. It is also helpful, before reaching for the phone, to positively identify the intruder in question. Naturally, the strategies for removing mice are very different from how you would get rid of termites, but even knowing the difference between a carpenter ant and a field ant can be important information for the pest control specialist. There are several websites that can help you identify what you're up against.When choosing an extermination service, always ask if the specialists are licensed and insured. If the company recommends a chemical treatment for your problem, don't be shy about asking about the environmental or health impacts; most companies these days are eager to appear environmentally-friendly. Though many people think of pest control as a one-time visit from an exterminator, vigilance is key unless you want your unwanted guests coming around again next season. Ask the exterminators if they do follow-up visits if they can make any recommendations to ensure the intruders stay away once they're removed. No one likes to find out that his or her home has been infested, but with the right approach, it is possible to make the experience relatively hassle-free. It isn't fun, but it's important to ensure that you and your loved ones have a clean and healthy place to live.