How To Choose a Pest Control Company
Hiring the best company for you is the most important step in the pest control process. You might take into consideration a company's qualifications and treatment methods as well as its years of experience and customer reviews. Of course, there is also 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?
Per the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), all pesticide applicators and those that supervise them are required to be certified at the state level. The EPA does set minimum standards of competency, but all California pesticide applicators should be licensed through the proper state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Pest control companies can optionally obtain additional certifications such as the GreenPro Service Certification. This certification is granted once a company has proven that its treatment methods are more environmentally friendly and demonstrated that it also maintains certain other standards, such as up-to-date training for employees. A pest control company can also earn other certifications from QualityPro or similar trade organizations to further support its methods and practices.
Pest control companies can also belong to certain professional organizations. Joining an organization like the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or a state-level organization gives companies access to resources and education, in addition to a professional network to compare best practices with. Joining organizations like these is not required, but it can help indicate that a company follows industry best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
You can get some insight into a company's level of pest management experience by seeing how long it has been in operation. Local reviews and the company's own website can also inform you whether a company has experience dealing with the specific species of pests that are afflicting your home. You can always contact the company directly to learn this information if you can't find it online.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can verify a company's legitimacy using local review sites or social media as well as the Better Business Bureau (BBB). You can also check with California's licensing board to see 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, the size of your house, your location, and other factors.
Certain pest control companies offer a free on-site estimate to help you match services to your budget. You can also see if it offers a satisfaction guarantee.
Safety and Treatment Methods
Your preferences regarding safety for yourself, any children or pets, and the environment can influence the provider and the treatment methods you choose.
All pesticides that will be used (except those that pose only a minimum risk) must be registered with the EPA. Your pest control provider should supply information on every pesticide they will be using. They should be able to tell you whether the pesticides are low toxicity or non-toxic, and if not, what safety precautions will be taken.
Pest professionals looking to reduce their use of chemical pesticides often implement procedures such as Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Using IPM involves a series of steps:
- Figure out what pests are causing the problem and determine whether immediate action is required.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Use a combination of biological, cultural, mechanical, and physical controls to manage the pest problem.
- Employ chemical controls only if needed, and always in combination with other techniques for effective long-term pest management.
- Evaluate outcomes and implement additional pest control as needed.