How To Choose a Pest Control Company
Hiring the best company for you is the most important step in the pest control process. Important decision-making factors include the company's qualifications, its treatment methods, experience and reviews, and of course 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?
Per the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), all pesticide applicators and those that supervise them are required to be certified at the state level. The EPA sets minimum standards of competency, but all Massachusetts pesticide applicators must be licensed through the proper state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Pest control companies can also obtain optional certifications such as the GreenPro Service Certification. This certification is awarded once a company has shown that its treatment methods are more environmentally friendly and demonstrated that it also holds itself up to certain other standards, such as up-to-date training for employees. A pest control company can also earn other certifications from trade organizations like QualityPro to further back up its practices and methods.
Pest control companies can also belong to certain professional organizations. When a company obtains membership in an organization like the National Pest Management Association(NPMA) (or a state-level organization), it gains access to education, resources, and a network of other pest control experts with whom to compare methods. This can give you added peace of mind 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 seeing how long it has been in operation. Local reviews and the company's own website can also let you know whether the company has the experience needed to deal with the specific species of pests that are afflicting your home. You can contact a representative directly to learn this information if it is not available online.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can look up a company's rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), browse 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
Cost is often a deciding factor when choosing a pest control company. Cost may be determined by the type of pest being treated, the size of your house, your location, 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 guarantee of satisfaction.
Safety and Treatment Methods
Keeping yourself, your family and your pets safe is an important consideration when choosing a pest control provider. You might also prefer a provider that uses environmentally friendly methods.
Be sure to ask your pest control technician if they plan to use low toxicity or non-toxic pesticides—if not, ask what precautionary measures they plan to use. Any pesticide that presents above a minimum risk should be registered with the EPA. Your pest control company should supply information about all of the pesticides to be used, and how safe they are around people and pets.
You can ask if your technician will start with more natural and lower-toxicity options before trying harsher chemicals.
Many companies have begun to use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to reduce personal or environmental risk when treating pest infestations. The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Identify the source of the pest problem and assess whether immediate action is required.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Use a combination of biological, cultural, mechanical, and physical controls to manage the pest problem.
- Use chemical controls only if needed, and always along with other techniques for effective long-term pest management.
- Observe the results and implement additional pest control as needed.