How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The most important step is picking the right pest control company for the job. Important decision-making factors can include the 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?
All pesticide applicators (and those who supervise them) are required to be certified at the state level. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets minimum standards of competency, but all pesticide applicators working in California should be licensed via the necessary state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
There are additional optional certifications that can help show that a pest control company is reputable. One of these is the GreenPro Service Certification. To obtain this certification, a company must show that its methods are more environmentally friendly and that its employees receive up-to-date training. Other certifications can be earned through trade organizations like QualityPro.
Pest control companies can also become members of professional organizations. Companies can belong to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), or state-level organizations. Membership in the NPMA gives companies access to education, resources, and a network of other pest control companies. While not required, membership in professional organizations helps back up a company's reputability.
Professional Experience and Specialties
You can gain some insight into a company's level of experience by looking at how many years it has been in operation. The company's website and local reviews can also tell you whether a company has the experience needed to deal with the specific species of pests that are afflicting your home. You can reach out to a representative 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 social media, local review sites, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Additionally, you can check the status of a company's license via the California licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Things like the type of pest being treated, your location, the size of your house, and other factors can all affect the price of pest control.
You can look into whether a company offers free on-site estimates (to determine if it fits in your budget) and what sort of guarantees it has. Often, a company will 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 may affect which provider and treatment methods you choose.
All pesticides used by your company (except those that are classified as minimum-risk) are required to be registered with the EPA. Your pest control provider should provide you with information on every pesticide they will be using. They should inform you whether the pesticides are low toxicity or non-toxic, and if not, what safety precautions they plan to take.
Companies looking to reduce their use of chemical pesticides often implement procedures such as Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Using IPM involves a series of steps:
- Figure out what pests are causing the problem and assess whether immediate action is needed.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Use a combination of biological, cultural, physical, and mechanical controls to manage the pest problem.
- Use chemical controls only when absolutely necessary, and always along with other methods for effective long-term pest management.
- Evaluate outcomes and provide additional pest control as needed.