How To Choose a Pest Control Company
When choosing a pest control company, there are a number of things that you can consider to be sure that you're choosing the best one for you. Important decision-making 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 those that supervise them must be certified at the state level. The EPA does set minimum standards of competency, but all California pesticide applicators should be licensed through the proper state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Pest control companies can also obtain optional certifications such as the GreenPro Service Certification. This certification is given 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 employee training. A pest control company can also earn other certifications from trade organizations like QualityPro to further back up its methods and practices.
Pest control companies can also be members of various professional organizations. Holding membership in organizations such as the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or state-level organizations is not mandatory, but helps show that a company is reputable. The NPMA gives companies access to resources, education, and a network of pest professionals with whom to discuss practices and methods.
Professional Experience and Specialties
You can look at a company's years in business to help determine how much experience it has dealing with pests in your area. You can also browse its website or peruse customer reviews to figure out whether it has experience eliminating the species of pests you are struggling with. If this information can't be found online, speaking with a company representative is a good way to learn more.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can browse reviews and recommendations on local review sites or social media, look up a company's rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), 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 influence the price of pest control.
You can look into whether a company provides free on-site estimates (to determine if it fits in your budget), as well as what type of guarantees it has. Often, a company will provide a guarantee that if it does not resolve your pest problem, it will continue treatment until it does.
Safety and Treatment Methods
Safety is an important consideration when choosing a pest control provider. You might also prefer a provider who uses more natural, environmentally friendly methods.
All pesticides (except those that are classified as minimum-risk) are required to be registered with the EPA. Your pest control technician should be able to provide information on all the pesticides that they will be using. They should inform you whether the pesticides are low toxicity or non-toxic, and if not, what safety precautions will be in place.
It is now common for companies to begin with more environmentally friendly options before employing harsh pesticides, following a framework called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). When using IPM, the following steps are taken:
- Identify the source of the pest problem and assess whether immediate action is needed.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Use a combination of biological, cultural, physical, and mechanical controls to manage the pest problem.
- Employ chemical controls only if needed, and always with other methods for effective long-term pest management.
- Evaluate outcomes and implement additional pest control as needed.