How To Choose a Pest Control Company
There are several factors you can weigh when selecting the right pest control company for you. Along with 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. Finally, you'll likely want to look at 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?
While the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets the minimum standards of competency for pesticide application, licensure is taken care of at the state level. All pesticide applicators (and those who supervise them) in Iowa need to be licensed by all the necessary state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Pest control companies have the option to obtain certifications from trade organizations like QualityPro. These are not required, but can help you assess the quality of a company's products. For example, the GreenPro Service Certification recognizes comprehensive and effective pest control treatment that is safer for people and the environment.
Pest control companies can also hold membership in various professional organizations. A pest control company can obtain membership in both state-level organizations and national organizations like the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). While not mandatory, membership in these organizations helps prove a company's reputability and gives it access to education, resources, and a network of professionals to compare best practices with.
Professional Experience and Specialties
Browsing a company's website can tell you how long it has been in operation and what type of pests it specializes in exterminating. Local reviews can also give you some insight into a company's experience dealing with specific pests. If you're unable to find this information online, you can try contacting the company directly.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can look up a company's Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating, look for reviews on local review sites or social media, or check the standing of its license via the Iowa licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Pest control costs can vary based on things like the type of pest being treated, your location, the size of your house, and other factors.
When considering the cost of services, you should try to determine whether a company provides free on-site estimates as part of its process. This can inform you whether the company fits into your budget. Also look into what guarantees a company offers: If the problem is not resolved, or returns, will the company provide additional treatment until the issue is handled satisfactorily?
Safety and Treatment Methods
It's important to consider safety when choosing a pest control provider, and you might prefer a provider who uses more natural, environmentally friendly methods.
Your pest control provider should be able to discuss the safety of any and all pesticides that will be used in your home. They should be able to clarify 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 your family, your pets, and you. Any pesticides that pose more than a minimum risk must be registered with the EPA.
Many companies are now trialing options for more environmentally friendly pest control techniques before employing harsh pesticides.
One common method for making pest control safer and greener is Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Figure out what pests are causing the problem and determine if immediate action is required.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Use a combination of physical, biological, mechanical, and cultural controls to manage the pest problem.
- Employ chemical controls only when required, and always in combination with other solutions for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and implement additional pest control as needed.