How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The most important step is choosing the right pest control company for the job. Important factors include a company's qualifications, its treatment methods, experience and reviews, and of course 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 those that supervise them need to be certified at the state level. The EPA does set minimum standards of competency, but all pesticide applicators in California need to be licensed through the proper state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Pest control companies also have the option to obtain additional certifications like 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 training for employees. A pest control company can also earn other certifications from trade organizations like QualityPro to further back up its practices and methods.
There are various professional organizations that a pest control company can belong to. When a company joins an organization like the National Pest Management Association(NPMA) (or a state-level organization), it gains access to resources, education, and a network of other pest professionals with whom to compare methods. This can give you additional peace of mind that a company is following industry best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
You can gain some insight into a company's level of pest management experience by looking into how long it has been in operation. The company's website and local reviews can also clue you in as to whether the company has the experience needed to deal with the specific species of pests that are afflicting your home. You can call the company directly to learn this information if it is not available online.
Reviews and Recommendations
Resources that can be used to verify a company's legitimacy include the Better Business Bureau (BBB), local review sites, and social media. Additionally, you can confirm the status of a company's license via the California licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
It's important to think about cost when hiring a pest control company. Cost can be affected influenced by the size of your house, your location, the type of pest being treated, and other factors.
Many companies offer free on-site estimates as part of their process, to help you decide whether it fits into your budget. You can also ask whether a provider offers a satisfaction guarantee, meaning that it will continue to treat your pest problem until it is solved.
Safety and Treatment Methods
When picking a pest control provider, you want to choose a company that will keep you, your family, and your pets safe. You'll likely also prefer an environmentally-conscious provider.
Your pest control provider should be using pesticides that are low toxicity or non-toxic when possible. If any pesticides they intend to use don't fall into one of these categories, your technician should explain what safety precautions will be used to protect your family, your pets, and you. All pesticides that pose more than a minimum risk are required to be registered with the EPA.
Many companies have begun using more natural treatment methods before, or instead of, harsh chemical pesticides. Some utilize a program called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Identify problem pests and determine if immediate action is needed.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of biological, cultural, mechanical, and physical controls.
- Use chemical controls only when absolutely necessary, and always with other controls for effective long-term pest management.
- Observe the results and continue with additional pest control as needed.