How To Choose a Pest Control Company
Hiring the best company for you is the most important step in the pest control process. Important factors include a 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?
Per the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), all pesticide applicators and their supervisors must be certified at the state level. The EPA sets minimum standards of competency, but all California pesticide applicators must be licensed through the proper state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Pest control companies have the option to obtain certifications from trade organizations like QualityPro. These certifications can help you evaluate the quality of a company's products. For example, the GreenPro Service Certification is given to companies that use comprehensive and effective pest control treatment that is safer for people and the environment.
Pest control companies can also become members of certain professional organizations. Pest control companies can obtain membership in both state-level organizations and national organizations such as the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). While not mandatory, membership in these organizations helps prove a company's reputability and gives it access to education, resources, and a network of other professionals with whom to compare best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
You can get some insight into a company's experience level by looking into how many years it has been in operation. The company's website and local reviews can also clue you in as to whether a company has the experience needed to deal with the specific species of pests invading your home. You can contact the company directly to learn this information if you can't find it online.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can check a company's rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), explore 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
Pest control costs can vary based on things like the type of pest being treated, your location, the size of your house, 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 inform you whether the company fits into your budget. Also consider what guarantees a company offers: If the problem is not resolved, or if it returns, will the company provide additional treatment until the problem is satisfactorily handled?
Safety and Treatment Methods
When it comes to picking a pest control provider, you want to select one that will help keep you, your family, and your pets safe. You'll likely also prefer a provider that is environmentally-conscious.
Be sure to ask your pest control technician if they plan to use low toxicity or non-toxic pesticides, and if not, what precautionary measures they are going to use. Any pesticides that are not minimum-risk chemicals should be registered with the EPA. Your pest technician will be able to supply you with information about all of the pesticides that they are going to use.
Companies 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.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of mechanical, physical, biological, and cultural controls.
- Use chemical controls only when required, and always in combination with other methods for effective long-term pest management.
- Evaluate outcomes and implement additional pest control as needed.