How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The most important step is choosing the right pest control professional for the job. Things you may consider include qualifications and licensing, treatment methods, years of experience, customer reviews, and cost.
Below, we dive into detail on each of these factors.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets minimum competency standards for pesticide applicators, but licensing is regulated at the state level. All pesticide applicators and supervisors in California must be licensed through the proper state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Pest control companies can earn the GreenPro Service Certification, which requires that a company show that its practices are environmentally friendly and that its employee training is up to date. QualityPro and similar trade organizations also offer other certifications. These are not required, but can help demonstrate that a pest control company is reputable.
A pest control company can also be a member of various professional organizations. When a company joins an organization like the National Pest Management Association(NPMA) (or a state-level organization), it gains access to education, resources, and a network of other pest control professionals with whom to compare methods. This can give you extra peace of mind that a company is following industry best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
For the most part, a company provides information like years of experience and specialities on its website. Online reviews can also help you figure out if a company has experience dealing with a specific pest. If you're unable to locate the information you need online, you can call the company directly to get your questions answered.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can check a company's rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), browse reviews on local review sites or social media, or check the standing of its license via the California licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Pest control costs can vary based on things like the type of pest being treated, the size of your house, your location, and other factors.
When considering the cost of services, you should verify whether a company includes free on-site estimates as part of its process. This can inform you whether the company fits into your budget. Also take into account what guarantees a company offers: If the problem is not resolved, or returns, does the company provide additional treatment until the issue is resolved satisfactorily?
Safety and Treatment Methods
It's important to consider safety when choosing a pest control provider. You might also prefer a provider who employs more natural, environmentally friendly methods.
All pesticides (except those that are determined to be of minimal risk) should be registered with the EPA. Your pest control provider should provide you with information on all the pesticides that they plan to use. They should inform you whether these chemicals are low toxicity or non-toxic, and if not, what safety precautions they plan to take.
Many companies have started 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:
- Identify the source of the pest problem and determine whether immediate action is needed.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of mechanical, cultural, biological, and physical controls.
- Use chemical controls only when required, and always with other controls for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and provide additional pest control as needed.