How To Choose a Pest Control Company
There are several factors you can weigh when selecting the best pest control company for you. Important factors include a company's qualifications, its treatment methods, experience and reviews, and of course the cost of services.
Below, we explore the details of each of these factors.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), all pesticide applicators and their supervisors must be licensed at the state level. The EPA has established minimum competency standards, and the Florida regulatory agencies take care of the granting, maintaining, and revoking of licenses.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Pest control companies can earn the GreenPro Service Certification, which requires that a company show that its practices are more environmentally friendly and that its employee training is up to date. QualityPro and similar trade organizations also offer other certifications. While not required, these can help demonstrate that a company is reputable.
A pest control company can also belong to various professional organizations. Becoming a member of an organization such as the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or a state-level organization grants a pest control company access to resources and education, and a network of professionals with whom to compare best practices. Belonging to organizations like these is not mandatory, but it can help show that a company follows industry best practices.
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 look at its website or read customer reviews to decide whether it has the right kind of experience handling the type of pests you are dealing with. If this information can't be found online, contacting a representative directly is a great way to learn more.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can look for reviews and recommendations on social media or local review sites, look up a company's rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), or check the status of its license through the Florida licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
The cost of pest control can vary based on things like the type of pest being treated, your location, the size of your house, and other factors.
When thinking about the cost of services, you should verify whether a company offers free on-site estimates as part of its services. This can inform you whether the company fits into your budget. Also consider a company's guarantees: If the problem is not resolved, or if it returns, does the company provide additional treatment until the issue is handled satisfactorily?
Safety and Treatment Methods
Keeping yourself, your family and your pets safe is an important concern when picking a pest control provider. You may also prefer a provider that employs environmentally friendly practices.
You can ask your pest control technician if they are going to use low toxicity or non-toxic pesticides, and if not, ask about what precautionary measures will be in place. Any pesticide that poses greater than minimum risk should be registered with the EPA. Your pest technician should be able to provide information about all pesticides used, as well as how safe they are around people and pets.
It is now common for companies to start with more environmentally friendly options before employing harsh pesticides, following a technique called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). When using IPM, the following steps are taken:
- Identify the source of the pest problem and determine whether immediate action is needed.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of mechanical, cultural, biological, and physical controls.
- Use chemical controls only if needed, and always along with other controls for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and continue with additional pest control as needed.