How To Choose a Pest Control Company
Hiring the best company for you is the most important step in the pest control process. Important decision-making factors can include the company's qualifications, its treatment methods, experience and reviews, and of course the cost of services.
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) sets the minimum competency standards for pesticide application, licensure is taken care of at the state level. All pesticide applicators (and their supervisors) in California 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 verify 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. These companies also need to maintain certain employee training standards.
Pest control companies can also hold membership in various professional organizations. When a company joins an organization like the National Pest Management Association(NPMA) (or a state-level organization), it receives access to resources, education, and a network of other pest professionals with whom to compare treatment methods. This can give you extra peace of mind that a company follows industry best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
Looking at a company's website can tell you how long it has been in operation and what species of pests it specializes in exterminating. Local reviews can also offer some insight into a company's experience dealing with a certain type of pest. If you can't find this information online, you can try reaching out to the company directly.
Reviews and Recommendations
Resources you can use to check a company's reputation include local review sites, social media, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB). You can also check the status of a company's license via the California licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
It's important to think about cost when hiring someone for pest control. Cost can be affected influenced by your location, the size of your house, the type of pest being treated, and other factors.
Companies will often offer free on-site estimates before starting work, to help you decide whether it fits into your budget. You can also ask whether a provider offers a satisfaction guarantee, meaning that it will continue to treat your pest problem until it is solved.
Safety and Treatment Methods
When picking a pest control provider, you want to choose a company that will help keep you, your family, and your pets safe. You'll likely also prefer a provider that is environmentally-conscious.
Your pest control technician should be able to explain the safety precautions of all pesticides that they're going to use. They should be able to answer questions about whether the pesticides are low toxicity or non-toxic, and if not what safety precautions will be in place to protect your family, your pets, and you. All pesticides that pose more than a minimum risk need 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 use a program called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Identify the source of the pest problem and assess whether immediate action is required.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Use a combination of mechanical, cultural, biological, and physical controls to manage the pest problem.
- Employ chemical controls only when required, and always with other methods for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and continue with additional pest control as needed.