How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The most important step is selecting the right pest control company for the job. Important decision-making factors can 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?
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 their 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 awarded once a company has shown its methods to be more environmentally friendly and demonstrated that it also holds itself up to certain other standards, such as up-to-date employee training. A pest control company can also earn other certifications from QualityPro or similar trade organizations to further verify its practices and methods.
A pest control company can also hold membership in professional organizations. Companies can be members of 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 professionals. While not mandatory, membership in professional organizations helps back up a company's reputability.
Professional Experience and Specialties
You can get some insight into a company's level of pest management experience by looking at how many years it has been in business. Local reviews and the company's own website can also tell you whether the company has the experience needed to deal with the specific species of pests invading your home. You can contact a representative directly to learn this information if you can't find it online.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can look for reviews and recommendations on social media or local review sites, look up a company's Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating, or check the status of its license through the California licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Cost is important when hiring someone for pest control. Cost can be affected influenced by your location, the type of pest being treated, the size of your house, and other factors.
Companies will often offer free on-site estimates at the beginning of their process, to help you decide 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 choice of pest control provider might be affected by how environmentally friendly a company's practices are, in addition to how safe its methods are around your family and pets.
Be sure to ask your pest control technician if they are going to use low toxicity or non-toxic pesticides, and if not, ask 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 provide information about all of the pesticides to be used, and how safe they are around people and pets.
Organizations looking to reduce their reliance on chemical pesticides often implement procedures such as Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Using IPM involves a series of steps:
- Identify problem pests and assess whether immediate action is needed.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of mechanical, cultural, biological, and physical controls.
- Use chemical controls only when absolutely necessary, and always along with other solutions for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and provide additional pest control as needed.