How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The most important step in the pest control process is hiring the right company for you. Things you might consider include qualifications and licensing, treatment methods, years of experience, customer reviews, and cost.
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, as well as those that supervise them, must be licensed via the appropriate California regulatory agencies. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets minimum standards of competency, but issuing, maintaining, and revoking licensure is handled at the state level.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Pest control companies can also obtain optional certifications like the GreenPro Service Certification. This certification is awarded once a company has proven that its treatment methods are more environmentally friendly and demonstrated that it also maintains certain other standards, such as up-to-date training for employees. A pest control company can also earn other certifications from trade organizations like QualityPro to further verify its methods and practices.
Pest control companies can also become members of certain professional organizations. Membership in an organization like the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or a state-level organization grants a pest control company access to education and resources, and a professional network to compare best practices with. Belonging to organizations like these is not mandatory, but it can help indicate that a company follows industry best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
A company's years in business can indicate how much experience it has handling various pests. You can also look at its website or look through customer reviews to decide whether it has the right kind of experience handling the species of pests you are looking to get rid of. If this information can't be found online, calling the company directly is a good way to learn more.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can look for reviews and recommendations on local review sites or social media, view a company's Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating, or check the status of its license through the California licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Things like the type of pest being treated, your location, the size of your house, and other factors can all affect the price of pest control.
You can find out whether a company provides free on-site estimates (to determine if it fits in your budget) and what sort of guarantees it has. Often, a company will provide a guarantee that if it does not resolve your pest problem, it will keep coming back until it does.
Safety and Treatment Methods
When picking a pest control provider, you want to choose one that will keep you, your family, and your pets safe. You might also prefer an environmentally-conscious provider.
Be sure to ask your pest control provider if they plan on 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, in addition to how safe they are around people and pets.
Many companies have begun using more natural treatment methods before, or instead of, harsh chemical pesticides. Some use a program called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Figure out what pests are causing the problem and determine whether immediate action is required.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of biological, cultural, mechanical, and physical controls.
- Use chemical controls only when required, and always in combination with other techniques for effective long-term pest management.
- Observe the results and implement additional pest control as needed.