How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The most important step is hiring the right pest control company for the job. Some things you may consider include qualifications and licensing, treatment methods, years of experience, customer reviews, and cost.
Below, we discuss each of these factors in more detail.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
All pesticide applicators, as well as those that supervise them, must be licensed via the appropriate California regulatory agencies. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established minimum standards of competency, but issuing, maintaining, and revoking licensing is handled at the state level.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Obtaining additional optional certifications can help show that a pest control company is reputable. One example is the GreenPro Service Certification. For this certification, a company must show that its methods are more environmentally friendly and that its employee training is up to date. Other various certifications can be earned through trade organizations like QualityPro.
There are various professional organizations that a pest control company can belong to. Becoming a member of an organization like the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or a state-level organization gives companies access to education and resources, as well as a professional network to compare best practices with. Belonging to one of these organizations is not mandatory, but it can help indicate that a company follows industry best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
Browsing a company's website can tell you how long it has been in operation and what type of pests it specializes in eliminating. Local reviews can also provide some insight into a company's experience dealing with a specific pest. If you're unable to find this information online, you can try reaching out to the company directly.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can view a company's rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), browse reviews on local review sites or social media, or check the standing of its license via the California licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Things like your location, the size of your house, the type of pest being treated, and other factors can all influence the price of pest control.
You can learn whether a company offers free on-site estimates (to determine if it fits in your budget), as well as what kind of guarantees it offers. Often, a company will provide a guarantee that if it does not eliminate your pest problem, it will keep coming back until it does.
Safety and Treatment Methods
Your preferences regarding safety for yourself, any children or pets, and the environment can affect which provider and treatment methods you choose.
Your pest control technician should be able to discuss the safety of any and all pesticides that they're going to use. They should be able to explain whether the pesticides are low toxicity or non-toxic, and if not what safety precautions will be in place to protect you, your family, and your pets. All pesticides that pose more than a minimum risk are required to be registered with the EPA.
You can ask if your technician will start with more natural and lower-toxicity options before employing harsher chemicals.
Many companies now use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to reduce personal or environmental risk when treating pest infestations. The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Identify the source of the pest problem and determine whether immediate action is required.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Use a combination of physical, cultural, biological, and mechanical controls to manage the pest problem.
- Use chemical controls only when absolutely necessary, and always with other techniques for effective long-term pest management.
- Observe the results and provide additional pest control as needed.