How To Choose a Pest Control Company
There are several factors you can weigh when selecting the best pest control company for you. Along with a company's qualifications and treatment methods, you may also consider how long it has been in business and what the reviews look like. Last but not least, you'll likely want to consider the cost of services.
Below, we dive into detail on each of these factors.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
All pesticide applicators (and those who supervise them) must be certified at the state level. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets minimum standards of competency, but any pesticide applicators working in California should be licensed via the necessary state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
A pest control company can optionally apply for additional certifications from QualityPro or similar trade organizations in order to support its standards and methods. One particular certification is the GreenPro Service Certification, which is awarded when a company can demonstrate that its methods are more environmentally friendly. These companies also need to maintain certain employee training standards.
A pest control company can also belong to certain professional organizations. Companies can obtain membership in 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 required, membership in professional organizations helps demonstrate a company's reputability.
Professional Experience and Specialties
Looking at a company's website can tell you how many years it has been in business and what species of pests it specializes in exterminating. Local reviews can also provide some insight into a company's experience dealing with a specific pest. If this information isn't available online, you can try contacting the company directly.
Reviews and Recommendations
Resources you can use to check a company's reputation include the Better Business Bureau (BBB), social media, and local review sites. You can also confirm the status of a company's license via the California licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Things like the type of pest being treated, the size of your house, your location, and other factors can all influence the price of pest control.
You can learn whether a company provides free on-site estimates (to determine if it fits in your budget) and what kind of guarantees it offers. Often, a company will guarantee that if it does not take care of your pest problem, it will keep coming back until it does.
Safety and Treatment Methods
Your preferences regarding safety for yourself, your children, your pets, and the environment might influence the provider and the treatment methods you choose.
Your pest control provider should be able to explain the safety precautions of any and all pesticides that they're going to use. They should be able to answer questions about whether the pesticides are low toxicity or non-toxic; if they are not, they should explain what safety precautions will be in place to protect your family, your pets, and you. All pesticides that pose above a minimum risk need to be registered with the EPA.
Organizations looking to reduce their use of chemical pesticides often follow practices such as Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Using IPM involves a series of steps:
- Identify problem pests and assess whether immediate action is needed.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of physical, cultural, biological, and mechanical controls.
- Use chemical controls only when required, and always along with other controls for effective long-term pest management.
- Evaluate outcomes and implement additional pest control as needed.