How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The most important step in the pest control process is hiring the right company for you. You may consider a company's qualifications and treatment methods as well as its customer reviews and years of experience. And of course, there's the cost of services to consider.
Below, we dive into detail on each of these factors.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), all pesticide applicators and their supervisors need to be licensed at the state level. The EPA has established minimum standards of competency, and the Michigan regulatory agencies take care of the issuing, maintaining, and revoking of licenses.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Obtaining additional optional certifications can help demonstrate that a pest control company is reputable. One example is the GreenPro Service Certification. To earn this certification, a company must prove that its methods are more environmentally friendly and that its employees receive up-to-date training. Other certifications can be obtained through trade organizations like QualityPro.
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 show a company's reputability. Organizations like the NPMA provide access to education, resources, and a network of professionals with whom to compare best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
A company's website can tell you how many years it has been in operation and what type of pests it specializes in exterminating. Local reviews can also provide some insight into a company's experience dealing with specific pests. If this information isn't available online, you can try calling the company directly.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can read 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 Michigan licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
For many people, cost is one of the most important factors when hiring for pest control. Cost can be influenced by factors like your location, the size of your house, and the type of pest being treated.
You can consider whether a certain company offers free on-site estimates (to determine if it fits in your budget), and what sort of guarantees are provided. 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 selecting a pest control provider, and you might prefer a provider who employs more natural, environmentally friendly methods.
Your pest technician should use pesticides that are low toxicity or non-toxic whenever possible. If they plan to use pesticides that don't fit into one of these categories, your technician should explain what safety precautions will be used to protect your family, your pets, and you. All pesticides that pose more than a minimum risk need to be registered with the EPA.
Pest professionals looking to reduce their reliance on chemical pesticides often follow practices such as Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Using IPM involves a series of steps:
- Figure out what pests are causing the problem and assess whether immediate action is needed.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Use a combination of physical, biological, mechanical, and cultural controls to manage the pest problem.
- Use chemical controls only when required, and always in combination with other controls for effective long-term pest management.
- Evaluate outcomes and provide additional pest control as needed.