How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The first step is choosing the best 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 explore the details of 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 set minimum competency standards for pesticide applicators, but licensing is overseen 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?
Obtaining additional optional certifications can help demonstrate that a pest control company is reputable. One example is the GreenPro Service Certification. For this certification, a company must show that its methods are more environmentally friendly and that its employee training is up to date. Other various certifications can be earned through trade organizations like QualityPro.
A pest control company can also belong to professional organizations. Being a member of organizations like the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or state-level organizations is not mandatory, but helps verify a company's reputability. Membership in the NPMA gives companies access to education, resources, and a network of professionals with whom to discuss methods and practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
You can get some insight into a company's experience level by looking into how long it has been in business. The company's website and local reviews can also inform you whether a company has the experience needed to deal with the specific species of pests that are afflicting your home. You can always reach out to a representative directly to learn this information if you can't find it online.
Reviews and Recommendations
Resources that can help you verify a company's reputation include the Better Business Bureau (BBB), local review sites, and social media. You can also confirm the status of a company's license through the California licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
For many people, cost is one of the main deciding factors when looking for pest control. Cost can be determined by factors like the type of pest being treated, the size of your house, and your location.
You can think about whether a particular company offers free on-site estimates (to determine if it fits your budget), and what sort of guarantees are provided. Often, a company will guarantee that if its treatment doesn't resolve your pest problem, it will continue to come back until it does.
Safety and Treatment Methods
Your preferences regarding safety for yourself, any children or pets, and the environment can influence which provider and treatment methods you choose.
Ask your pest control provider if the chemicals they're using are low toxicity or non-toxic, and if not, what precautionary measures they will have in place. All pesticides that are not considered minimum-risk chemicals need to be registered with the EPA. Your pest technician will be able to provide you with information about all of the pesticides that they are going to use.
Pest professionals looking to reduce their reliance on chemical pesticides often follow practices such as Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Using IPM involves a series of steps:
- Identify the source of the pest problem and determine if immediate action is needed.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of biological, cultural, physical, and mechanical controls.
- Employ chemical controls only if needed, and always along with other controls for effective long-term pest management.
- Evaluate outcomes and continue with additional pest control as needed.