How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The first step is hiring the right pest control professional for the job. Factors you might consider include licensing and qualifications, treatment methods, years of experience, customer reviews, and cost.
Below, we dive into detail on each of these factors.
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) sets minimum standards of competency, while issuing, maintaining, and revoking licensing is handled at the state level.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
A pest control company can optionally apply for certifications from trade organizations like QualityPro to support its standards and methods. One particular certification is the GreenPro Service Certification, which is given to any company that can demonstrate that its methods are more environmentally friendly. A company that receives this certification also needs to maintain certain employee training standards.
Pest control companies can also become members of certain professional organizations. Companies can obtain membership in the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), or state-level organizations. Membership in the NPMA gives companies access to resources, education, 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 into how long it has been in business. The company's website and local reviews can also inform you whether the company has experience dealing with the specific species of pests invading your home. You can call the company directly to learn this information if it is not available online.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can view a company's rating and reviews on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), read 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
The cost of pest control can vary based on things like the size of your house, the type of pest being treated, your location, and other factors.
When considering the cost of services, you should first look into whether a company provides free on-site estimates as part of its services. This can help determine whether the company fits into your budget. Also look into a company's guarantees: If the problem is not fixed, or returns, will the company provide additional treatment until the issue is satisfactorily resolved?
Safety and Treatment Methods
Safety is an important consideration when choosing a pest control provider. You might also prefer a provider who employs more natural, environmentally friendly methods.
Ask your pest control provider if they are going to use low toxicity or non-toxic pesticides—if not, ask about what precautionary measures they will take. Any pesticide that has been deemed above minimum risk needs to be registered with the EPA. Your pest control company should be able to provide information about all of the pesticides to be used, as well as how safe they are around people and pets.
It is now common for companies to start with more environmentally friendly options before employing harsh pesticides, using a framework called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). When using IPM, the following steps are taken:
- Figure out what pests are causing the problem and assess whether immediate action is required.
- 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 required, and always with other methods for effective long-term pest management.
- Observe the results and continue with additional pest control as needed.