How To Choose a Pest Control Company
When picking a pest control company, there are a number of things you can consider to make sure that you're choosing the best one for you. Along with a company's qualifications and treatment methods, you might also look into how long it has been in business and what the reviews are like. Finally, 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?
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established minimum competency standards for pesticide applicators, but licensure is handled at the state level. All pesticide applicators and their supervisors in California need to be licensed through the proper state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
A pest control company can optionally apply for certifications from trade organizations like QualityPro to support its methods and standards. One particular certification is the GreenPro Service Certification, which is awarded to any company that can demonstrate that its methods are more environmentally friendly. Companies that receive this certification also need to maintain certain training standards for employees.
Pest control companies can also hold membership in various professional organizations. Companies can belong to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), or state-level organizations. NPMA membership provides companies with access to education, resources, and a network of other pest control companies. While not mandatory, membership in professional organizations helps back up a company's reputability.
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 pests in your area. Customer reviews or the company's website itself can also enlighten you about whether it has the experience necessary to deal with your particular pests. If you can't find the information you need online, contacting the company directly is an easy way to learn about its areas of expertise.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can look up a company's rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), browse reviews on local review sites or social media, or check the standing of its license via the California licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
The cost of pest control can vary based on things like the size of your house, your location, the type of pest being treated, and other factors.
When considering the cost of services, you should try to determine whether a company provides free on-site estimates as part of its services. This can help determine whether the company fits into your budget. Also look into a company's guarantees: If the problem is not resolved, or if it returns, will the company provide additional treatments until the problem is resolved satisfactorily?
Safety and Treatment Methods
It's important to consider safety when selecting a pest control provider. You might also prefer a provider who employs more natural, environmentally friendly methods.
Be sure to ask your pest control provider if the chemicals they're using are low toxicity or non-toxic, and if not, what kind of precautionary measures they will have in place. All pesticides that are not considered minimum-risk chemicals need to be registered with the EPA. Your pest technician will be able to supply information about all of the pesticides that they are going to use.
Companies looking to reduce their reliance on chemical pesticides often follow practices such as Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Using IPM involves a series of steps:
- Figure out what pests are causing the problem and determine whether immediate action is required.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Use a combination of physical, biological, mechanical, and cultural controls to manage the pest problem.
- Use chemical controls only when required, and always in combination with other controls for effective long-term pest management.
- Evaluate outcomes and implement additional pest control as needed.