How To Choose a Pest Control Company
There are several factors that you can take into consideration when selecting the right pest control company for you. Factors you may consider include qualifications and licensing, 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?
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established minimum standards of competency for pesticide applicators, but licensure is taken care of at the state level. All pesticide applicators and supervisors in Massachusetts must be licensed through the proper state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
One certification that pest control companies can earn is the GreenPro Service Certification, which requires that a company show that its practices are environmentally friendly and that its employees receive up-to-date training. 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 be members of certain professional organizations. While not mandatory, membership in organizations like the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or state-level organizations help demonstrate 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
You can gain some insight into a company's level of experience by seeing how long it has been in business. The company's website and local reviews can also inform you whether the company has experience dealing with the specific species of pests that are afflicting your home. You can always call the company directly to learn this information if it is not available online.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can view a company's reviews and rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), check out social media and local review sites to learn what homeowners near you think, or verify its license standing via the Massachusetts licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Pest control costs can vary based on things like the type of pest being treated, the size of your house, your location, and other factors.
When thinking about the cost of services, you should try to determine whether a company includes free on-site estimates as part of its services. This can help determine whether the company fits into your budget. Also look into what guarantees a company offers: If the problem is not resolved, or returns, will the company provide additional treatment until the issue is satisfactorily handled?
Safety and Treatment Methods
Keeping yourself, your family and your pets safe is an important consideration when picking a pest control provider. You might also prefer a provider that employs environmentally friendly practices.
Your pest control technician should be able to explain the safety precautions of any and all pesticides they plan to use. They should be able to clarify whether the pesticides are low toxicity or non-toxic; if they are not, they should explain what safety precautions they will put in place to protect you, your family, and your pets. 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 moving on to harsher chemicals.
Many companies have begun to use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to eliminate pests while reducing personal and environmental risks. The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Identify problem pests and determine if immediate action is required.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Use a combination of physical, biological, mechanical, and cultural controls to manage the pest problem.
- Employ chemical controls only when absolutely necessary, and always in combination with other controls for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and continue with additional pest control as needed.