How To Choose a Pest Control Company
There are a number of things you can consider when choosing the right pest control company for you. You may consider a company's qualifications and treatment methods in addition to its years of experience and customer reviews. And of course, there's the cost of services to consider.
Below, we discuss each of these factors in more detail.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
While the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established minimum competency standards for pesticide applicators, licensure is taken care of at the state level. All pesticide applicators (and those who supervise them) in California need to be licensed by all the necessary state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
A pest control company can obtain optional certifications from trade organizations like QualityPro in order to back up its standards and methods. One particular certification is the GreenPro Service Certification, which is given to any company that can demonstrate that its methods are more environmentally friendly. A company that receives this certification also needs to maintain certain training standards for employees.
A pest control company can also belong to certain professional organizations. Membership in organizations such as the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or state-level organizations is not required, but helps show that a company is reputable. Membership in the NPMA gives companies access to education, resources, and a network of other professionals with whom to discuss practices and methods.
Professional Experience and Specialties
Typically, a company provides information like specialities and years of experience on its website. Local reviews can also help you figure out if a company has experience dealing with a particular pest in your area. If you're unable to find the information you need online, you can reach out to the company directly to get your questions answered.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can look for reviews and recommendations on local review sites or social media, verify 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 your location, the size of your house, the type of pest being treated, and other factors can all affect the price of pest control.
You can look into whether a company offers free on-site estimates (to determine if it fits in your budget) and what sort of guarantees it has. Often, a company will guarantee that if it does not resolve your pest problem, it will continue treatment until it does.
Safety and Treatment Methods
Your choice of pest control provider might be influenced by how environmentally friendly a provider's practices are, in addition to how safe its methods are around your family and pets.
Your pest control technician should be able to discuss the safety of any and all pesticides that will be used in your home. They should be able to answer questions about whether the pesticides are low toxicity or non-toxic, and if not what safety precautions will be used to protect you, your family, and your pets. Pesticides that pose above a minimum risk need to be registered with the EPA.
You can ask if your technician will begin with more natural and lower-toxicity options before using harsher chemicals.
Many companies are using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to reduce personal or environmental risk when treating pest infestations. The steps of IPM are as follows:
- 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, biological, mechanical, and cultural controls.
- Use chemical controls only when required, and always in combination with other methods for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and implement additional pest control as needed.