How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The most important step in the pest control process is hiring the right company for you. A company's qualifications and treatment methods are important to consider, as are its years of experience and customer reviews. Of course, you will also want to think about cost.
Below, we dive into detail on 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 those that supervise them need to be licensed at the state level. The EPA sets minimum competency standards, and the Kansas regulatory agencies take care of the issuing, maintaining, and revoking of licenses.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
A pest control company can receive optional certifications from QualityPro or similar trade organizations to verify its methods and standards. One particular certification is the GreenPro Service Certification, which is awarded when a company can demonstrate that its methods are more environmentally friendly. A company that receives this certification also needs to maintain certain employee training standards.
Pest control companies can also become members of professional organizations. Joining an organization such as the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or a state-level organization gives companies access to education and resources, and a network of professionals with whom to compare best practices. Belonging to one of these organizations is not required, but it can help show that a company follows industry best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
You can get some insight into a company's level of experience by looking at how many years it has been in operation. Local reviews and the company's own website can also tell you whether a certain company has experience dealing with the specific species of pests invading your home. You can always call the company directly to learn this information if you can't find it online.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can check a company's reputation using local review sites or social media as well as the Better Business Bureau (BBB). You can also check with Kansas' licensing board to see the status of a company's license.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
It's important to think about cost when hiring a pest control company. Cost can be affected influenced by the size of your house, your location, the type of pest being treated, and other factors.
Often, companies will offer free on-site estimates as part of their process, to help you determine whether it fits into your budget. You can also ask whether a company offers a satisfaction guarantees, meaning that it will continue to treat your pest problem until it is solved.
Safety and Treatment Methods
Safety is an important consideration when deciding on a pest control provider. You might also prefer a provider who uses more natural, environmentally-friendly methods.
All pesticides used by your company (except those that pose only a minimum risk) must be registered with the EPA. Your pest control provider should be able to supply information on each pesticide they will be using. 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 will begin with more environmentally friendly options before employing pesticides, using a technique called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). When using IPM, the following steps are taken:
- Figure out what pests are causing the problem and determine whether immediate action is required.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Use a combination of mechanical, physical, biological, and cultural controls to manage the pest problem.
- Employ chemical controls only when required, and always in combination with other controls for effective long-term pest management.
- Evaluate outcomes and provide additional pest control as needed.