How To Choose a Pest Control Company
When picking a pest control company, there are a number of factors you can consider to be sure that you're choosing the best one for you. Along with a company's qualifications and treatment methods, you may also consider how long it has been in business and what the reviews look like. Last but not least, you'll likely want to look at the cost of services.
Below, we discuss each of these factors in more detail.
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 their supervisors must be licensed at the state level. The EPA maintains minimum competency standards, and the Minnesota regulatory agencies handle the issuing, maintaining, and revoking of licenses.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
A pest control company can obtain optional certifications from trade organizations like QualityPro in order to support its methods and standards. One particular certification is the GreenPro Service Certification, which is awarded when a company can demonstrate that its methods are more environmentally friendly. A company that receives this certification also needs to maintain certain training standards for employees.
Pest control companies can also belong to certain professional organizations. While not required, membership in organizations such as the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or state-level organizations help verify a company's reputability. In the NPMA and other organizations, pest control companies have access to education, resources, and a network of other professionals with whom to discuss best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
Looking at a company's website can tell you how many years it has been in business and what species of pests it specializes in eliminating. Online reviews can also offer some insight into a company's experience dealing with specific pests. If you're unable to find this information online, you can try reaching out to the company directly.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can check 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 Minnesota licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Things like the size of your house, the type of pest being treated, your location, and other factors can all affect the cost of pest control.
You can find out whether a company offers 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 eliminate your pest problem, it will keep coming back until it does.
Safety and Treatment Methods
When choosing a pest control provider, you want to select one that will keep you, your family, and your pets safe. You may also prefer a provider that is environmentally-conscious.
You will want to understand the precautions for the pesticides being used in your house, for the sake of your family, your pets, and yourself. Your pest control provider should be able to supply information about all pesticides they plan on using, whether they are low toxicity or non-toxic, and (if not) what safety measures will be in place. All pesticides (except minimum-risk ones) should be registered with the EPA.
Many companies will begin with more environmentally friendly options before employing harsh pesticides, using a technique called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). When using IPM, the following steps are taken:
- Identify problem pests and determine if immediate action is needed.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of biological, cultural, mechanical, and physical controls.
- Employ chemical controls only if needed, and always in combination with other techniques for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and implement additional pest control as needed.