How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The most important step in the pest control process is hiring the right company for you. Important decision-making factors can include the 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?
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), all pesticide applicators and those that supervise them must be licensed at the state level. The EPA sets minimum standards of competency, and the California regulatory agencies take care of the issuing, maintaining, and revoking of licenses.
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. These are not required, but can help demonstrate that a pest control company is reputable.
Pest control companies can also belong to certain professional organizations. When a company obtains membership in an organization like the National Pest Management Association(NPMA) (or a state-level organization), it gains access to education, resources, and a network of other pest control experts with whom to compare methods. This can give you extra peace of mind that a company follows industry best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
You can get some insight into a company's experience level by seeing how many years it has been in business. Local reviews and the company's own website can also clue you in as to whether a company has experience dealing with the specific species of pests that are afflicting your home. You can reach out to a representative directly to learn this information if it is not available online.
Reviews and Recommendations
Resources that can be used to verify a company's legitimacy include local review sites, social media, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB). You can also check the status of a company's license through the California licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Things like your location, the type of pest being treated, the size of your house, and other factors can all influence the cost of pest control.
You can learn whether a company offers free on-site estimates (to determine if it fits in your budget), as well as what kind of guarantees it offers. Often, a company will provide a guarantee that if it does not solve your pest problem, it will continue treatment until it does.
Safety and Treatment Methods
Your choice of pest control provider might be affected by how environmentally friendly a provider's practices are, in addition to how safe its methods are around your family and pets.
Your pest technician should be using low toxicity or non-toxic pesticides whenever possible. If they plan to use pesticides that don't fall into one of these categories, your technician should explain what safety precautions will be in place to protect you, your family, and your pets. Any pesticides that pose more than a minimum risk need to be registered with the EPA.
Many companies have started offering options for more environmentally friendly pest control techniques before jumping into using harsh pesticides.
One common method for making pest control safer and greener is Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The steps of IPM are as follows:
- 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 physical, biological, mechanical, and cultural controls.
- Use chemical controls only when absolutely necessary, and always in combination with other controls for effective long-term pest management.
- Observe the results and implement additional pest control as needed.