How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The most important step is picking the right pest control company for the job. You may consider a company's qualifications and treatment methods in addition to its years of experience and customer reviews. And of course, there's the cost of services to consider.
Below, we discuss each of these factors in more detail.
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 applicators, licensing is handled at the state level. All pesticide applicators (and their supervisors) in Alabama should be licensed by all the necessary state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Pest control companies have the option to obtain certifications from QualityPro or similar trade organizations. These are not required, but can help you assess the quality of a company's products. For example, the GreenPro Service Certification is given to companies that use comprehensive and effective pest control methods that are safer for people and the environment.
A pest control company can also hold membership in professional organizations. Companies can be members of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), or state-level organizations. NPMA membership provides companies with access to resources, education, and a network of other pest professionals. While not required, membership in professional organizations helps demonstrate a company's reputability.
Professional Experience and Specialties
The amount of time that a company has been in business can give you some insight into its experience dealing with various pests. Customer reviews or the company's website itself can also help you figure out whether it has the skills and experience necessary to handle your specific pest problem. If the answers to your questions aren't available online, reaching out to the company directly is an excellent way to learn more.
Reviews and Recommendations
Resources that can be used to verify a company's legitimacy include the Better Business Bureau (BBB), social media, and local review sites. Additionally, you can confirm the status of a company's license via the Alabama licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
For many people, cost is one of the most important factors when picking a company for pest control. Cost can be determined by factors like the type of pest being treated, the size of your house, and your location.
You can consider whether a company offers free on-site estimates (to determine if it fits in your budget), and what sort of guarantees are provided. Often, a company will guarantee that if your pest problem isn't fixed by its treatment, it will continue to treat until it is.
Safety and Treatment Methods
Keeping yourself, your family and your pets safe is an important concern when picking a pest control provider. You might also prefer a provider that employs environmentally friendly practices.
Your pest technician should use low toxicity or non-toxic pesticides any time they can. If they plan to use pesticides that don't fit into one of these categories, your technician should explain what safety precautions they plan to use to protect you, your family, and your pets. Pesticides that pose more than a minimum risk are required to be registered with the EPA.
Many companies are making the switch to using more natural treatment methods before, or in place of, harsh chemical pesticides. Some utilize a program called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Figure out what pests are causing the problem and assess whether immediate action is required.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of mechanical, cultural, biological, and physical controls.
- Employ chemical controls only when required, and always in combination with other controls for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and provide additional pest control as needed.