How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The first step is hiring the right pest control company for the job. You might take into consideration a company's qualifications and treatment methods in addition to its customer reviews and years of experience. And of course, there's the cost of services to consider.
Below, we dive into detail on each of these factors.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established minimum standards of competency for pesticide applicators, but licensing is handled at the state level. All pesticide applicators and supervisors in California need to be licensed through the proper state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Pest control companies can optionally obtain additional certifications like the GreenPro Service Certification. This certification is given once a company has proven that its treatment methods are more environmentally friendly and demonstrated that it also maintains certain other standards, such as up-to-date training for employees. A company can also earn other certifications from QualityPro or similar trade organizations to further support its methods and practices.
Pest control companies can also be members of various professional organizations. While not mandatory, membership in organizations such as the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or state-level organizations help show a company's reputability. After joining an organization like the NPMA, a company receives access to resources, education, and a network of other professionals with whom to compare best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
For the most part, a company displays information like its years of experience and specialities on its website. Online reviews can also help you figure out if a company has experience dealing with a specific pest. If you can't get the information you need online, you can reach out to the company directly to get the answers to your questions.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can look up a company's reviews and rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), check out 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
Cost is probably high on your list of priorities when hiring someone for pest control. Cost can be affected influenced by the size of your house, the type of pest being treated, your location, and other factors.
Many companies 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 if your company has a satisfaction guarantee, meaning that if your pest problem is not solved by the initial treatment, it will continue returning until it is.
Safety and Treatment Methods
Your preferences regarding safety for yourself, your children, your pets, and the environment may affect the provider and the treatment methods you choose.
Make sure to ask your pest control technician if the chemicals they're using are low toxicity or non-toxic, and if not, what kind of precautionary measures they plan to take. Any pesticides that are not minimum-risk chemicals need to be registered with the EPA. Your pest technician should be able to provide you with information about all chemicals they plan to use.
Many companies have started making the switch to using more natural treatment methods before (or in place of) harsh chemical pesticides. Some employ a program called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Figure out what pests are causing the problem and determine if immediate action is needed.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Use a combination of physical, cultural, biological, and mechanical controls to manage the pest problem.
- Employ chemical controls only when absolutely necessary, and always along with other techniques for effective long-term pest management.
- Observe the results and implement additional pest control as needed.