How To Choose a Pest Control Company
When choosing a pest control company, there are a number of factors that you can consider to be sure that you're choosing the right one for you. Some things you might consider include qualifications and licensing, treatment methods, years of experience, customer reviews, and cost.
Below, we discuss each of these factors in more detail.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
All pesticide applicators, as well as those that supervise them, must be licensed via the appropriate California regulatory agencies. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets minimum standards of competency, while providing, maintaining, and revoking licensing is handled at the state level.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Pest control companies can obtain optional certifications from QualityPro or similar trade organizations. While not required, they can help you evaluate the quality of a company's products. For example, the GreenPro Service Certification indicates comprehensive and effective pest control treatment that is safer for humans and the environment.
Pest control companies can also be members of various professional organizations. Membership in an organization such as the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or a state-level organization grants a pest control company access to education and resources, plus a professional network to compare best practices with. Belonging to organizations like these is not required, but it can help indicate that a company follows industry best practices.
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 the pests that live in Alameda. Online reviews or the company's own website can also inform you whether it has the skills and experience necessary to eliminate the particular pests that are plaguing you. If the answers to your questions aren't available online, contacting the company directly is an easy way to learn about its areas of expertise.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can look up a company's reviews and rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), check out social media and local review sites to hear what homeowners near you think, or verify its license standing through the California licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Things like your location, the type of pest being treated, the size of your house, and other factors can all affect the price of pest control.
You can learn whether a company provides free on-site estimates (to determine if it fits in your budget) and what sort of guarantees it offers. Often, a company will provide a guarantee that if it does not solve your pest problem, it will continue treatment until it does.
Safety and Treatment Methods
Your choice of pest control company might be influenced by how environmentally friendly a provider's practices are, as well as how safe its methods are around your family and pets.
Ask your pest control technician if they will be using low toxicity or non-toxic pesticides, and if not, ask about what precautionary measures they will take. Any pesticide that poses greater than minimum risk must be registered with the EPA. Your pest control company should supply information about all pesticides to be used, as well as how safe they are around people and pets.
Many companies are making the switch to using more natural treatment methods before, or instead of, harsh chemical pesticides. Some use a program called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Identify the source of the pest problem and determine whether immediate action is needed.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Use a combination of physical, biological, mechanical, and cultural controls to manage the pest problem.
- Employ chemical controls only if needed, and always along with other methods for effective long-term pest management.
- Observe the results and provide additional pest control as needed.