How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The most important step in the pest control process is hiring the right company for you. In addition to a company's qualifications and treatment methods, you may also look into how long it has been in business and what the reviews look like. Last but not least, 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?
All pesticide applicators, as well as those that supervise them, need to be licensed via the appropriate District of Columbia regulatory agencies. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets minimum standards of competency, while providing, maintaining, and revoking licensure is handled at the state level.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Pest control companies can earn the GreenPro Service Certification, which requires a company to show that its practices are environmentally friendly and that its employee training is up to date. QualityPro and similar trade organizations also offer additional certifications. While not required, these can help show that a pest control company is reputable.
There are certain professional organizations that pest control companies can be members of. Becoming a member of an organization such as the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or a state-level organization gives companies access to resources and education, as well as 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
Browsing a company's website can tell you how long it has been in business and what kind of pests it specializes in exterminating. Online reviews can also offer some insight into a company's experience dealing with specific pests. If this information isn't available online, you can try calling the company directly.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can view a company's reviews and rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), explore social media and local review sites to learn what others in your area have to say, or verify its license standing through the District of Columbia 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 thinking about the cost of services, you should try to determine whether a company offers free on-site estimates as part of its services. This can help determine whether the company fits into your budget. Also take into account 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 resolved?
Safety and Treatment Methods
Keeping yourself, your family and your pets safe is an important consideration when choosing a pest control provider. You might also prefer one that employs environmentally friendly practices.
Make sure to ask your pest control provider 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 need to be registered with the EPA. Your pest control provider should be able to supply you with information about all chemicals they plan on using.
Many companies are now trialing options for more environmentally friendly methods of pest control before jumping into using harsh pesticides.
One popular method for making pest control safer and greener is Integrated Pest Management (IPM). 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, cultural, biological, and mechanical controls.
- Use chemical controls only when required, and always along with other solutions for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and implement additional pest control as needed.