How To Choose a Pest Control Company
When choosing a pest control company, there are a number of things you can consider to be sure you choose the best one for you. The qualifications of and treatment methods used by a company are important to consider, as well as its years of experience and what other customers have said. Of course, you also want to think about cost.
Below, we dive into detail on each of these factors.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
All pesticide applicators, as well as those that supervise them, need to be licensed via the appropriate Minnesota regulatory agencies. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established minimum standards of competency, but providing, maintaining, and revoking licensure is handled at the state level.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Pest control companies can earn the GreenPro Service Certification, which requires that a company show that its practices are more environmentally friendly and that its employees receive up-to-date training. QualityPro and similar trade organizations also offer other certifications. These are not required, but can help demonstrate that a company is reputable.
There are various professional organizations in which pest control companies can hold membership. Pest control companies can join both state-level organizations and national organizations such as the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). While not mandatory, membership in these organizations helps prove a company's reputability and gives it access to education, resources, and a network of other professionals to compare best practices with.
Professional Experience and Specialties
The number of years 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 own website can also inform you whether it has the skills and experience needed to deal with your particular pests. If you can't find the information you need online, reaching out to the company directly is an easy way to learn more.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can read reviews and recommendations on local review sites or social media, look up a company's rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), or check its licensure status through the Minnesota licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Pest control costs can vary based on things like your location, the type of pest being treated, the size of your house, and other factors.
When thinking about the cost of services, you should try to determine whether a company provides free on-site estimates as part of its services. This can help determine whether the company fits into your budget. Also take into account what guarantees a company offers: If the problem is not resolved, or returns, does the company provide additional treatment until the issue is resolved satisfactorily?
Safety and Treatment Methods
It's important to consider safety when choosing a pest control provider, and you might prefer a provider who uses more natural, environmentally friendly methods.
All pesticides used by your company (except those that are determined to be of minimal risk) need to be registered with the EPA. Your pest control provider should be able to provide information on all the pesticides that they will be using. They should inform you whether these chemicals are low toxicity or non-toxic, and if not, what safety precautions will be taken.
Companies looking to reduce their use of chemical pesticides often follow practices such as Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Using IPM involves a series of steps:
- Identify problem pests and determine if immediate action is required.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of mechanical, cultural, biological, and physical controls.
- Use chemical controls only when absolutely necessary, and always with other techniques for effective long-term pest management.
- Observe the results and continue with additional pest control as needed.