How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The most important step is picking the right pest control professional for the job. Some things you may consider include licensing and qualifications, treatment methods, years of experience, customer reviews, and cost.
Below, we explore the details of 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 competency standards for pesticide applicators, licensing is handled at the state level. All pesticide applicators (and those who supervise them) in Massachusetts should be licensed by all the necessary state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Pest control companies have the option to obtain certifications from trade organizations like QualityPro. These are not required, but can help you evaluate the quality of a company's products. For example, the GreenPro Service Certification indicates comprehensive and effective pest control methods that are safer for people and the environment.
A pest control company can also be a member of various professional organizations. Becoming a member of an organization such as the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or a state-level organization gives companies access to education and resources, as well as a professional network to compare best practices with. Belonging to 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 at how many years it has been in business. Local reviews and the company's own website can also tell you whether a company has experience dealing with the specific species of pests invading your home. You can contact the company directly to learn this information if it is not available online.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can browse reviews and recommendations on social media or local review sites, verify a company's rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), or check the status of its license through the Massachusetts licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Things like the size of your house, your location, the type of pest being treated, and other factors can all affect the cost of pest control.
You can learn whether a company provides free on-site estimates (to determine if it fits in your budget), as well as what type of guarantees it provides. Often, a company will guarantee that if it does not solve your pest problem, it will continue treatment until it does.
Safety and Treatment Methods
Your preferences regarding safety for yourself, your children, your pets, and the environment can influence the provider and the treatment methods you choose.
You can ask your pest control provider if they plan on using low toxicity or non-toxic pesticides, and if not, ask about what precautionary measures they plan to use. Any pesticide that presents above a minimum risk must be registered with the EPA. Your pest technician should be able to provide information about all of the pesticides to be used, in addition to how safe they are around people and pets.
Many companies are making the switch to using more natural treatment methods before (or instead of) harsh chemical pesticides. Some use a program called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Identify problem pests and determine whether immediate action is required.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Use a combination of physical, cultural, biological, and mechanical controls to manage the pest problem.
- Use chemical controls only if needed, and always with other solutions for effective long-term pest management.
- Observe the results and implement additional pest control as needed.