How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The most important step in the pest control process is hiring the right company for you. You may consider a company's qualifications, treatment methods, years of experience, customer reviews, and service prices.
Below, we dive into detail on each factor.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
All pesticide applicators (and those that supervise them) are required to be certified at the state level. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established minimum standards of competency, but all pesticide applicators working in the state of California must be licensed via the necessary state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
One certification that pest control companies can earn is the GreenPro Service Certification, which requires a company to show that its practices are environmentally friendly and that its employees receive up-to-date training. Trade organizations such as QualityPro offer additional certifications. These are not required, but can help demonstrate that a company is reputable.
Pest control companies can also hold membership in professional organizations. A pest control company can obtain membership in both state-level organizations and national organizations such as the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). By being a member of these optional organizations, a company helps support its reputability and gains access to education, resources, and a network of other professionals to compare best practices with.
Professional Experience and Specialties
The number of years that a company has been in business can tell you something about its experience dealing with pests in your area. Customer reviews or the company's own website can also inform you whether it has the skills and experience necessary to deal with your particular pests. If you can't find the information you need online, contacting the company directly is an excellent way to learn about its areas of expertise.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can browse reviews and recommendations on local review sites or social media, look up a company's Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating, or check the status of its license through the California licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
The cost of pest control can vary based on things like the size of your house, the type of pest being treated, your location, and other factors.
When thinking about the cost of services, you should first look into whether a company offers free on-site estimates as part of its services. This can inform you whether the company fits into your budget. Also look into a company's guarantees: If the problem is not fixed, or if it returns, does the company promise to offer additional treatments until the issue is satisfactorily resolved?
Safety and Treatment Methods
Your preferences regarding safety for yourself, any children or pets, and the environment may affect the provider and the treatment methods you choose.
Your pest control provider should use low toxicity or non-toxic pesticides when possible. If any pesticides used don't fit into one of these categories, your technician should explain what safety precautions will be used to protect you, your family, and your pets. Pesticides that pose more than a minimum risk are required to be registered with the EPA.
Many companies are now exploring greener and cleaner pest management that can be implemented before (or instead of) chemical pesticides. Many are following the practice of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which goes as follows:
- Identify the source of the pest problem and determine if immediate action is required.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Use a combination of mechanical, physical, biological, and cultural controls to manage the pest problem.
- Use chemical controls only when absolutely necessary, and always in combination with other techniques for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and provide additional pest control as needed.