How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The first step is choosing the right pest control company for the job. Things you might consider include qualifications and licensing, treatment methods, years of experience, customer reviews, and cost.
Below, we explore the details of each of these factors.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
Per the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), all pesticide applicators and those that supervise them need to be licensed at the state level. The EPA maintains minimum competency standards, and the California regulatory agencies handle the granting, maintaining, and revoking of licenses.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Pest control companies can optionally obtain 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 is given to companies that use comprehensive and effective pest control methods that are safer for people and the environment.
There are various professional organizations in which pest control companies can hold membership. Membership in organizations like the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or state-level organizations is not mandatory, but helps confirm that a company follows industry best practices. The NPMA gives companies access to resources, education, and a network of pest professionals with whom to discuss practices and methods.
Professional Experience and Specialties
A company's years in business can indicate how much experience it has dealing with various pests. You can also look at its website or look through customer reviews to determine whether it has adequate experience with the type of pests you are dealing with. If you cannot find this information online, speaking with a company representative is a good way to learn more.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can verify a company's legitimacy using the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and social media or local review sites. You can also check with California's licensing board to verify the status of a company's license.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Cost is often a deciding factor when choosing a pest control company. Cost may be determined by the type of pest being treated, your location, the size of your house, and other factors.
A pest control company may offer a free on-site estimate to help you match services to your budget. You can also look at whether it offers a satisfaction guarantee.
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 should ask your pest control provider if they plan to use low toxicity or non-toxic pesticides, and if not, what sort of precautionary measures they are going to use. All pesticides that are not considered minimum-risk chemicals need to be registered with the EPA. Your pest control provider will be able to supply information about all chemicals that they plan on using.
You can ask if your technician will start with more natural and lower-toxicity options before trying harsher chemicals.
Many companies have begun to use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to reduce personal or environmental risk when treating pest infestations. The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Identify problem pests and determine if immediate action is needed.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Use a combination of biological, cultural, mechanical, and physical controls to manage the pest problem.
- Use chemical controls only if needed, and always along with other techniques for effective long-term pest management.
- Evaluate outcomes and provide additional pest control as needed.