How To Choose a Pest Control Company
Hiring the best company for you is the most important step in the pest control process. Important decision-making factors include a company's qualifications, its treatment methods, experience and reviews, and of course the cost of services.
Below, we explore the details of each of these factors.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
While the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets the minimum standards of competency for pesticide application, licensing is handled at the state level. All pesticide applicators (and those who supervise them) in California should be licensed by all the necessary state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Pest control companies can optionally obtain certifications from QualityPro or similar trade organizations. These are not required, but can help you assess the quality of a company's products. For example, the GreenPro Service Certification recognizes comprehensive and effective pest control methods that are safer for humans and the environment.
Pest control companies can also obtain membership in professional organizations. While not required, membership in organizations such as the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or state-level organizations help demonstrate a company's reputability. Organizations like the NPMA provide access to education, resources, and a network of other professionals with whom to compare best practices.
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. Local reviews and the company's own website can also inform you whether the company has experience dealing with the specific species of pests invading your home. You can always contact a representative directly to learn this information if it is not available online.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can verify a company's legitimacy using local review sites or social media as well as the Better Business Bureau (BBB). You can also check with California's licensing board to see the status of a company's license.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Pest control costs can vary based on things like the type of pest being treated, your location, the size of your house, and other factors.
When considering the cost of services, you should verify whether a company offers free on-site estimates as part of its process. This can help determine whether the company fits into your budget. Also consider a company's guarantees: If the problem is not resolved, or returns, will the company provide additional treatments until the problem is satisfactorily handled?
Safety and Treatment Methods
It's important to consider safety when choosing a pest control provider, and you might prefer a provider who employs more natural, environmentally-friendly methods.
Be sure to ask your pest control technician if they plan on using low toxicity or non-toxic pesticides, and if not, ask what precautionary measures they plan to use. Any pesticide that has been deemed above minimum risk should be registered with the EPA. Your pest control company should be able to supply information about all of the pesticides that will be used in your home, and how safe they are around people and pets.
Companies often start with more environmentally friendly options before using pesticides, following a technique called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). When using IPM, the following steps are taken:
- 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, physical, and mechanical controls.
- Employ chemical controls only when absolutely necessary, and always along with other techniques for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and implement additional pest control as needed.