How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The first step is picking the best pest control company for the job. Some things you might consider include qualifications and licensing, treatment methods, years of experience, customer reviews, and cost.
Below, we discuss each of these factors in more detail.
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) has established minimum standards of competency, but issuing, maintaining, and revoking licensing is handled at the state level.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Pest control companies can earn the GreenPro Service Certification, which requires that a company show that its practices are more environmentally friendly and that its employee training is up to date. QualityPro and similar trade organizations also offer other certifications. While not required, these can help demonstrate that a pest control company is reputable.
Pest control companies can also obtain membership in professional organizations. While not required, membership in organizations like the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or state-level organizations help show a company's reputability. Organizations like the NPMA provide access to education, resources, and a network of professionals with whom to discuss best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
You can gain some insight into a company's level of pest management experience by finding out how many years it has been in business. The company's website and local reviews can also clue you in as to whether the company has the experience needed to deal with the specific species of pests that are afflicting your home. You can always call the company directly to learn this information if you can't find it online.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can view a company's rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), browse reviews on social media or local review sites, or check the standing of its license via the California licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
For many people, cost is one of the most important factors when hiring for pest control. Cost can be affected by factors like the type of pest being treated, the size of your house, and your location.
You can think about whether a company offers free on-site estimates (to determine if it fits your budget), and what kind of guarantees it provides. 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 technician if they will be using low toxicity or non-toxic pesticides, and if not, ask what precautionary measures they plan to use. Any pesticide that poses greater than minimum risk should be registered with the EPA. Your pest technician should supply information about all of the pesticides to be used, as well as how safe they are around people and pets.
Nowadays, many companies are exploring greener and cleaner pest management that can be implemented before (or in place of) chemical pesticides. Many follow the practice of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which goes as follows:
- Identify problem pests and determine whether immediate action is required.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Use a combination of mechanical, physical, biological, and cultural controls to manage the pest problem.
- Use chemical controls only when absolutely necessary, and always in combination with other techniques for effective long-term pest management.
- Observe the results and implement additional pest control as needed.