How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The first step is selecting the best pest control company for the job. Factors you may consider include licensing and qualifications, treatment methods, years of experience, customer reviews, and cost.
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) sets minimum competency standards for pesticide applicators, but licensure is taken care of at the state level. All pesticide applicators and 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 of these is the GreenPro Service Certification. To obtain this certification, a company must show that its methods are more environmentally friendly and that its employees receive up-to-date training. Other certifications can be obtained through QualityPro and similar trade organizations.
There are several professional organizations that a pest control company can be a member of. Becoming a member of an organization such as the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or a state-level organization gives companies access to resources and education, in addition to a network of professionals with whom to compare best practices. Joining organizations like these is not mandatory, but it can help indicate that a company follows industry best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
The number of years that a company has been in business can give you some insight into its experience dealing with various pests. Customer reviews or the company's own website can also enlighten you about whether it has the skills and experience needed to deal with your particular pests. If the answers to your questions aren't available online, contacting the company directly is an easy way to learn about its areas of expertise.
Reviews and Recommendations
Resources you can use to check a company's reputation include local review sites, social media, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Additionally, you can verify the status of a company's license via the California licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
The cost of pest control can vary based on things like the type of pest being treated, the size of your house, 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 inform you whether the company fits into your budget. Also take into account what guarantees a company offers: If the problem is not fixed, or if it returns, will the company provide additional treatment until the problem is satisfactorily resolved?
Safety and Treatment Methods
Your choice of pest control company might be influenced by how environmentally friendly a provider's practices are, as well as how safe its methods are around your family and pets.
You should ask your pest control provider if they plan to use low toxicity or non-toxic pesticides, and if not, what kind of precautionary measures they plan to take. Any pesticides that are not minimum-risk chemicals must be registered with the EPA. Your pest technician should be able to provide information about all pesticides that they plan on using.
You can ask if your technician will begin with lower-toxicity, more natural options before employing harsher chemicals.
Many companies have begun to use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to treat pest infestations with minimal personal or environmental risk. The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Identify the source of the pest problem and assess whether immediate action is required.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of physical, biological, mechanical, and cultural controls.
- Use chemical controls only if needed, and always along with other controls for effective long-term pest management.
- Observe the results and continue with additional pest control as needed.