How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The first step is picking the right pest control professional for the job. In addition to 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. Last but not least, you'll likely want to consider the cost of services.
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 their supervisors are required to be certified at the state level. The EPA does set minimum standards of competency, but all pesticide applicators in California should be licensed through the proper state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Pest control companies can obtain optional certifications from QualityPro or similar trade organizations. These are not required, but can help you assess the quality of a company's products. For example, the GreenPro Service Certification indicates comprehensive and effective pest control methods that are safer for humans and the environment.
Pest control companies can also hold membership in various professional organizations. Companies can obtain membership in the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), or state-level organizations. Membership in the NPMA gives companies access to resources, education, and a network of other pest professionals. While not mandatory, membership in professional organizations helps back up a company's reputability.
Professional Experience and Specialties
The amount of time that a company has been in business can tell you something about its experience dealing with pests in your area. Online reviews or the company's website itself can also inform you whether it has the skills and experience necessary to deal with your particular pests. If the answers to your questions aren't available online, reaching out to the company directly is an excellent way to learn more.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can check a company's reputation 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 verify the status of a company's license.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
For many people, cost is one of the main deciding factors when hiring for pest control. Cost can be influenced by factors like your location, the size of your house, and the type of pest being treated.
You can take into consideration whether a specific company offers free on-site estimates (to determine if it fits in your budget), and what sort of guarantees it provides. Often, a company will guarantee that if its treatment doesn't resolve your pest problem, it will continue to come back until it does.
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 may also prefer a provider that is environmentally-conscious.
Your pest control provider should use low toxicity or non-toxic pesticides any time they can. If any pesticides used don't fit into one of these categories, your technician should explain what safety precautions they will put in place to protect you, your family, and your pets. Any pesticides that pose more than a minimum risk must be registered with the EPA.
Many companies are now trialing options for more environmentally friendly methods of pest control before employing harsh pesticides.
One popular method for making pest control safer and greener is Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Identify problem pests and determine whether immediate action is needed.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Use a combination of mechanical, physical, biological, and cultural controls to manage the pest problem.
- Employ chemical controls only when absolutely necessary, and always along with other methods for effective long-term pest management.
- Evaluate outcomes and implement additional pest control as needed.