How To Choose a Pest Control Company
There are a number of things that you can consider when choosing the best pest control company for you. Important decision-making factors can include a company's qualifications, its treatment methods, experience and reviews, and of course 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?
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set minimum standards of competency for pesticide applicators, but licensing is handled at the state level. All pesticide applicators and their supervisors in Iowa must be licensed through the proper state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Pest control companies can obtain optional certifications from trade organizations like QualityPro. While not required, they can help you evaluate 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.
There are several professional organizations in which pest control companies can hold membership. Membership in 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, plus a network of professionals with whom to compare best practices. Membership in organizations like these is not required, but it can help show that a company follows industry best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
You can gain some insight into a company's level of pest management experience by seeing how many years it has been in business. Local reviews and the company's own website can also let you know whether a company has the experience needed to deal with the specific species of pests that are afflicting your home. You can always reach out to a representative directly to learn this information if it is not available online.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can check a company's reputation using the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and local review sites or social media. You can also check with Iowa's licensing board to see the status of a company's license.
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, does the company promise to offer additional treatment until the problem is resolved satisfactorily?
Safety and Treatment Methods
Keeping yourself, your family and your pets safe is an important consideration when picking a pest control provider. You may also prefer one that uses environmentally friendly methods.
You will want to understand the precautions for the pesticides used around your house, for the sake of you, your family, and your pets. Your pest control technician should be capable of providing information about any pesticides they will be using, whether they are low toxicity or non-toxic, and (if not) what safety measures they plan to take. All pesticides (except minimum-risk ones) should be registered with the EPA.
Many companies are now trialing options for more environmentally friendly methods of pest control before jumping into using harsh pesticides.
One common 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 required.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of biological, cultural, mechanical, and physical controls.
- Employ chemical controls only when required, and always in combination with other controls for effective long-term pest management.
- Observe the results and continue with additional pest control as needed.