How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The first step is choosing the right pest control company for the job. You might consider a company's qualifications and treatment methods as well as its customer reviews and years of experience. Of course, there is also the cost of services to consider.
Below, we dive into detail on each of these factors.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
While the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established minimum competency standards for pesticide application, licensure is handled at the state level. All pesticide applicators (and those who supervise them) in Alabama must be licensed by all the necessary state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
A pest control company can optionally apply for additional certifications from trade organizations like QualityPro to support its standards and methods. One particular certification is the GreenPro Service Certification, which is awarded to any company that can demonstrate that its methods are more environmentally friendly. Companies that receive this certification also need to maintain certain training standards for employees.
There are certain professional organizations that a pest control company can be a member of. Pest control companies can obtain membership in state-level organizations as well as national organizations such as the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). While not mandatory, membership in these organizations helps prove a company's reputability and gives it access to resources, education, and a network of other professionals with whom to compare best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
A company's years in business can indicate how much experience it has taking care of pests in your area. You can also browse its website or read customer reviews to figure out whether it has experience eliminating the type of pests you are struggling with. If this information is not available online, getting in touch with a company representative is a great way to learn more.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can browse reviews and recommendations on social media or local review sites, look up a company's rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), or check its licensure status through the Alabama licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Cost is probably high on your list of priorities when hiring someone for pest control. Cost can be affected influenced by the type of pest being treated, the size of your house, your location, and other factors.
Often, companies will offer free on-site estimates at the beginning of their process, to help you determine whether it fits into your budget. You can also ask whether a company offers a satisfaction guarantees, meaning that if your pest problem is not solved by the initial treatment, it will continue returning until it is.
Safety and Treatment Methods
It's important to consider safety when selecting a pest control provider. You might also prefer a provider who uses more natural, environmentally friendly methods.
You can ask your pest control technician if they plan on using low toxicity or non-toxic pesticides, and if not, ask about what precautionary measures will be in place. Any pesticide that has been deemed above minimum risk should be registered with the EPA. Your pest control company should be able to provide information about all pesticides that will be used in your home, in addition to how safe they are around people and pets.
Many companies have started offering options for more environmentally friendly pest control techniques before employing harsh pesticides.
One common method for making pest control safer and greener is Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Identify problem pests and determine whether immediate action is needed.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of biological, cultural, physical, and mechanical controls.
- Employ chemical controls only when absolutely necessary, and always along with other controls for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and continue with additional pest control as needed.