How To Choose a Pest Control Company
Choosing the best pest control company for you is important. 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?
While the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets the minimum standards of competency for pesticide application, licensing is taken care of at the state level. All pesticide applicators (and those who supervise them) in Maryland must be licensed by all the necessary state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
There are additional optional certifications that can help show that a pest control company is reputable. One example is the GreenPro Service Certification. To receive this certification, a company must prove that its methods are more environmentally friendly and that its employees receive up-to-date training. Other certifications can be earned through QualityPro and similar trade organizations.
Pest control companies can also become members of professional organizations. Joining an organization like the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or a state-level organization grants a pest control company access to resources and education, in addition to a professional network to compare best practices with. Joining organizations like these is not required, but it can help show that a company follows industry best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
In general, a company displays information like its specialities and years of experience on its website. Local reviews can also tell you whether a company has experience dealing with a particular pest in your area. If you're unable to locate 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 rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), explore reviews on local review sites or social media, or check the standing of its license via the Maryland licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Cost is important when picking a pest control company. Cost may be determined by the size of your house, your location, the type of pest being treated, and other factors.
A pest control company may offer a free on-site estimate to help you match services to your budget. You can also look at whether it offers a satisfaction guarantee.
Safety and Treatment Methods
When picking a pest control provider, you want to choose a company that will keep you, your family, and your pets safe. You'll likely also prefer a provider that is environmentally-conscious.
Your pest technician should be using low toxicity or non-toxic pesticides when possible. If they plan to use pesticides that don't fall into one of these categories, your technician should explain what safety precautions they plan to use to protect you, your family, and your pets. Pesticides that pose more than a minimum risk must be registered with the EPA.
Many companies have started making the switch to using more natural treatment methods before (or in place of) harsh chemical pesticides. Some utilize a program called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Figure out what pests are causing the problem and assess whether immediate action is needed.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of biological, cultural, mechanical, and physical controls.
- Use chemical controls only if needed, and always in combination with other controls for effective long-term pest management.
- Observe the results and provide additional pest control as needed.