How To Choose a Pest Control Company
There are several things you can take into consideration when selecting the right pest control company for you. Factors you may consider include qualifications and licensing, treatment methods, years of experience, customer reviews, and cost.
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 need to be certified at the state level. The EPA does set minimum standards of competency, but all pesticide applicators in Illinois should be licensed through the proper state regulatory agencies.
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 environmentally friendly and that its employees receive up-to-date training. Trade organizations such as QualityPro offer other certifications. These are not required, but can help demonstrate that a company is reputable.
There are certain professional organizations that a pest control company can belong to. Holding membership in organizations like the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or state-level organizations is not mandatory, but helps confirm that a company follows industry best practices. When a pest control company joins the NPMA, it gains access to education, resources, and a network of professionals with whom to discuss methods and practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
Generally, a company provides information like its specialities and years of experience on its website. Online reviews can also inform you as to whether a company has experience dealing with a specific pest. If you can't get the information you need online, you can call the company directly to get the answers to your questions.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can look up a company's Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating, browse reviews on local review sites or social media, or check the standing of its license via the Illinois licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
The cost of pest control can vary based on things like your location, the type of pest being treated, the size of your house, 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 process. This can inform you whether the company fits into your budget. Also look into a company's guarantees: If the problem is not fixed, or returns, will the company provide additional treatment until the issue is satisfactorily handled?
Safety and Treatment Methods
Your preferences regarding safety for yourself, any children or pets, and the environment can affect the provider and the treatment methods you choose.
Your pest control technician should be able to explain the safety precautions of all pesticides that will be used in your home. They should be able to explain whether the pesticides are low toxicity or non-toxic; if they are not, they should explain what safety precautions will be in place to protect you, your family, and your pets. Any pesticides that pose above a minimum risk should be registered with the EPA.
You can ask if your technician will start with more natural and lower-toxicity options before using harsher chemicals.
Many companies now use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to reduce personal or environmental risk when treating pest infestations. The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Identify the source of the pest problem and determine if immediate action is required.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Use a combination of biological, cultural, physical, and mechanical controls to manage the pest problem.
- Use chemical controls only when absolutely necessary, and always along with other techniques for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and provide additional pest control as needed.