How To Choose a Pest Control Company
Hiring the right company for you is the most important step in the pest control process. 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?
Per the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), all pesticide applicators and their supervisors must 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?
One optional certification that could be worth looking for is the GreenPro Service Certification. In order to earn this certification, a pest control company must both show that its practices are more environmentally friendly and uphold certain training standards for its technicians. Companies can also obtain other certifications from trade organizations like QualityPro to further support their work.
A pest control company can also hold membership in professional organizations. Joining an organization like the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or a state-level organization gives companies access to resources and education, as well as a professional network to compare best practices with. Membership in organizations like these is not required, but it can help show that a company follows industry best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
A company's years in business can indicate how much experience it has handling various pests. You can also look at its website or peruse customer reviews to decide whether it has the right kind of experience handling the species of pests you are dealing with. If this information can't be found online, getting in touch with a company representative is a good way to learn more.
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 learn what others in your area have to say, or verify its license standing 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, the type of pest being treated, your location, and other factors.
Often, companies will offer free on-site estimates at the beginning of their process, to help you determine whether it fits into your budget. You can also ask whether a company offers a satisfaction guarantees, meaning that it will continue to treat your pest problem until it is solved.
Safety and Treatment Methods
Your preferences regarding safety for yourself, your children, your pets, and the environment may affect which provider and treatment methods you choose.
Your pest control provider should be using low toxicity or non-toxic pesticides whenever possible. If they plan to use pesticides that don't fall into one of these categories, your technician should explain what safety precautions will be in place to protect your family, your pets, and you. Pesticides that pose more than a minimum risk must be registered with the EPA.
Nowadays, many companies are exploring greener and cleaner pest solutions that can be used before (or in place of) chemical pesticides. Many follow the practice of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which goes as follows:
- Identify problem pests and determine if immediate action is needed.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of biological, cultural, mechanical, and physical controls.
- Use chemical controls only when required, and always along with other methods for effective long-term pest management.
- Evaluate outcomes and continue with additional pest control as needed.