How To Choose a Pest Control Company
It's important to choose the best pest control company for you. Along with a company's qualifications and treatment methods, you might also look into how long it has been in business and what the reviews are like. Finally, you'll likely want to consider 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?
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), all pesticide applicators and their supervisors must be licensed at the state level. The EPA has established minimum competency standards, and the California regulatory agencies handle the issuing, maintaining, and revoking of licenses.
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 shown its methods to be more environmentally friendly and demonstrated that it also maintains certain other standards, such as up-to-date employee training. A pest control company can also earn other certifications from trade organizations like QualityPro to further verify its methods and practices.
There are various professional organizations in which pest control companies can hold membership. Holding membership in organizations such as the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or state-level organizations is not required, but helps show that a company is reputable. The NPMA gives companies access to education, resources, and a network of professionals with whom to discuss methods and practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
The number of years that a company has been in business can shed some light on its experience dealing with various pests. Online reviews or the company's own website can also enlighten you as to whether it has the experience needed to deal with your particular pests. If you cannot find the answers to your questions online, calling a representative is an easy way to learn about the company's areas of expertise.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can look at a company's rating and reviews on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), explore local review sites and social media to find out what others in your area have to say, or verify its license standing via the California licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Cost is probably high on your list of priorities when hiring someone for pest control. Cost can be affected influenced by the size of your house, your location, the type of pest being treated, and other factors.
Often, companies will offer free on-site estimates at the beginning of their process, to help you decide whether it fits into your budget. You can also ask whether if your company has a satisfaction guarantee, meaning that if your pest problem is not solved by the initial treatment, it will continue returning until it is.
Safety and Treatment Methods
When it comes to choosing a pest control provider, you want to select one that will help keep you, your family, and your pets safe. You'll likely also prefer an environmentally-conscious provider.
Your pest control technician should be able to explain the safety precautions of any pesticides they plan to use. They should be able to answer questions as to whether the pesticides are low toxicity or non-toxic; if they are not, they should explain what safety precautions they will put in place to protect your family, your pets, and you. Any pesticides that pose greater than a minimum risk need to be registered with the EPA.
Companies often start with more environmentally friendly options before employing harsh pesticides, following a technique called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). When using IPM, the following steps are taken:
- Identify problem pests and determine whether immediate action is required.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Use a combination of mechanical, cultural, biological, and physical controls to manage the pest problem.
- Use chemical controls only if needed, and always in combination with other solutions for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and provide additional pest control as needed.