How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The first step is picking the right pest control company for the job. Important factors 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?
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains minimum standards of competency for pesticide applicators, but licensing is overseen at the state level. All pesticide applicators and supervisors in Massachusetts need to be licensed through the proper state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Pest control companies can earn the GreenPro Service Certification, which requires a company to show that its practices are environmentally friendly and that its employee training is up to date. QualityPro and similar trade organizations also offer additional certifications. While not required, these can help show that a company is reputable.
Pest control companies can also belong to various professional organizations. When a company joins an organization such as the National Pest Management Association(NPMA) (or a state-level organization), it gains access to resources, education, and a network of other pest control experts with whom to compare methods. This can give you additional peace of mind that a company is following industry best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
Looking at how long a company has been in business can help determine how much experience it has dealing with pests in your area. You can also look at its website or peruse customer reviews to decide whether it has the right kind of experience handling the species of pests you are looking to get rid of. If you cannot find this information online, speaking with a company representative is a great way to learn more.
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 Massachusetts licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
For many people, cost is one of the most important factors when looking for pest control services. Cost can be influenced by factors like the type of pest being treated, the size of your house, and your location.
You can consider whether a certain company offers free on-site estimates (to determine if it fits in your budget), and what kind of guarantees it provides. Often, a company will guarantee that if your pest problem isn't fixed by its treatment, it will continue to treat until it is.
Safety and Treatment Methods
Safety is an important consideration when choosing a pest control provider. You might also prefer a provider who employs more natural, environmentally friendly methods.
You want to ensure that you understand the precautions for the pesticides being used around your house, for the sake of you, your family, and your pets. Your pest control technician should be capable of providing information about the pesticides they will be using, whether they are low toxicity or non-toxic, and (if not) what safety measures will be used. All pesticides (except minimum-risk ones) need to be registered with the EPA.
Companies often 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 if immediate action is required.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of physical, cultural, biological, and mechanical controls.
- Use chemical controls only when required, and always with other techniques for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and continue with additional pest control as needed.