How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The first step is choosing the best pest control professional for the job. The qualifications of and treatment methods used by a company are important to consider, as are its years of experience and what other customers have said. Of course, you also want to consider cost.
Below, we dive into detail on each of these factors.
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 applicators, licensure is taken care of at the state level. All pesticide applicators (and those who supervise them) in Iowa must be licensed by all the necessary state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
A pest control company can optionally apply for additional certifications from trade organizations like QualityPro to support its standards and methods. One particular certification is the GreenPro Service Certification, which is given when a company can demonstrate that its methods are more environmentally friendly. Companies that receive this certification also need to maintain certain training standards for employees.
There are various professional organizations that pest control companies can be members of. Membership in an organization like 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 one of these organizations is not required, but it can help indicate that a company follows industry best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
Looking at a company's website can tell you how many years it has been in operation and what type of pests it specializes in eliminating. Online reviews can also provide some insight into a company's experience dealing with specific pests. If you can't find this information online, you can try reaching out to the company directly.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can look up a company's Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating, read 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 size of your house, the type of pest being treated, your location, and other factors.
When considering the cost of services, you should try to determine whether a company includes free on-site estimates as part of its services. This can inform you whether the company fits into your budget. Also consider what guarantees a company offers: If the problem is not fixed, or if it returns, does the company provide additional treatment until the problem is handled satisfactorily?
Safety and Treatment Methods
Your choice of pest control provider might be influenced by how environmentally-friendly a company's practices are, in addition to how safe its methods are around your family and pets.
All pesticides (except those that are determined to be of minimal risk) need to be registered with the EPA. Your pest control provider should provide you with information on all the pesticides that they plan to use. They should be able to tell you whether the pesticides are low toxicity or non-toxic, and if not, what safety precautions they plan to take.
Many companies are now trialing options for more environmentally friendly pest control techniques before relying on harsh pesticides.
One common way of making pest control safer and greener is Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Identify the source of the pest problem and determine if immediate action is needed.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of mechanical, physical, biological, and cultural controls.
- Employ chemical controls only when required, and always with other controls for effective long-term pest management.
- Observe the results and continue with additional pest control as needed.