How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The first step is selecting the best pest control company for the job. 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 discuss each of these factors in more detail.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
Per the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), all pesticide applicators and their supervisors must be licensed at the state level. The EPA has established minimum competency standards, and the Maryland regulatory agencies take care of the issuing, maintaining, and revoking of licenses.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
One optional certification that may be worth looking for is the GreenPro Service Certification. To obtain this certification, a pest control company needs to both demonstrate that its practices are more environmentally friendly and maintain certain technician training standards. Companies can also obtain other certifications from QualityPro or similar trade organizations to further back up their work.
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 education and resources, as well as a professional network to compare best practices with. Joining one of these organizations is not mandatory, but it can help indicate that a company follows industry best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
You can get some insight into a company's level of pest management experience by looking into how long it has been in business. Local reviews and the company's own website can also clue you in as to whether a certain company has experience dealing with the specific species of pests that are afflicting your home. You can reach out to a representative directly to learn this information if you can't find it online.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can look up a company's rating and reviews on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), explore local review sites and social media to see what other people are saying, or verify its license standing through the Maryland 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 offers free on-site estimates as part of its services. This can help determine whether the company fits into your budget. Also take into account what guarantees a company offers: 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
Your preferences regarding safety for yourself, any children or pets, and the environment can affect the provider and the treatment methods you choose.
Your pest technician should be using pesticides that are low toxicity or non-toxic any time they can. If they plan to use pesticides that don't fit into one of these categories, your technician should explain what safety precautions will be used to protect your family, your pets, and you. Any pesticides that pose more than a minimum risk should be registered with the EPA.
You can ask if your technician will begin with lower-toxicity, more natural options before using harsher chemicals.
Many companies are now using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to treat pest infestations with minimal personal or environmental risk. The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Identify the source of the pest problem and determine whether immediate action is needed.
- 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 absolutely necessary, and always along with other techniques for effective long-term pest management.
- Observe the results and continue with additional pest control as needed.