How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The most important step in the pest control process is hiring the right company for you. In addition to a company's qualifications and treatment methods, you may also consider how long it has been in business and what the reviews look like. Finally, you'll likely want to consider the cost of services.
Below, we explore the details of each of these factors.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set minimum standards of competency for pesticide applicators, but licensing is handled at the state level. All pesticide applicators and their supervisors in Massachusetts need to be licensed through the proper state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
An optional certification that might be worth looking for is the GreenPro Service Certification. In order to earn this certification, a pest control company must both show that its practices are more environmentally friendly and uphold certain training standards for its technicians. Companies can also obtain other certifications from trade organizations like QualityPro to further support their work.
A pest control company can also belong to professional organizations. While not required, membership in organizations such as the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or state-level organizations help show a company's reputability. In the NPMA and other organizations, pest control companies have access to education, resources, and a network of professionals with whom to compare best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
The amount of time that a company has been in business can give you some insight into its experience dealing with pests in your area. Customer reviews or the company's website itself can also help you figure out whether it has the experience necessary to handle your specific pest problem. If you cannot find the answers to your questions online, contacting the company directly is an easy way to learn about its areas of expertise.
Reviews and Recommendations
Resources you can use to check a company's reputation include social media, local review sites, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Additionally, you can check the status of a company's license via the Massachusetts licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Things like your location, the size of your house, the type of pest being treated, and other factors can all influence the cost of pest control.
You can look into whether a company provides free on-site estimates (to determine if it fits in your budget), as well as what sort of guarantees it offers. 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 may affect the provider and the treatment methods you choose.
Your pest control provider should use low toxicity or non-toxic pesticides any time they can. If any pesticides they intend to use don't fall into one of these categories, your technician should explain what safety precautions will be in place to protect you, your family, and your pets. Any pesticides that pose more than a minimum risk need to be registered with the EPA.
It is now common for companies to start with more environmentally friendly options before using pesticides, following 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 needed.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of mechanical, cultural, biological, and physical controls.
- Employ chemical controls only when absolutely necessary, and always with other solutions for effective long-term pest management.
- Evaluate outcomes and implement additional pest control as needed.