How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The most important step is selecting the right pest control professional for the job. You might consider a company's qualifications and treatment methods as well as its years of experience and customer reviews. And of course, there's the cost of services to consider.
Below, we explore the details of each of these factors.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
All pesticide applicators (and those who supervise them) must be certified at the state level. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established minimum standards of competency, but any pesticide applicators working in Missouri should be licensed via the necessary state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Pest control companies can also obtain optional certifications like the GreenPro Service Certification. This certification is given 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 company can also earn other certifications from trade organizations like QualityPro to further support its practices and methods.
Pest control companies can also join certain professional organizations. While not required, membership in organizations such as the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or state-level organizations help demonstrate a company's reputability. After joining an organization like the NPMA, a company receives access to resources, education, and a network of professionals with whom to compare best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
A company's website can tell you how long 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 a specific pest. If you can't find this information online, you can try contacting the company directly.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can look for reviews and recommendations on local review sites or social media, view a company's rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), or check its licensure status through the Missouri 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 considering the cost of services, you should verify whether a company offers free on-site estimates as part of its services. This can inform you whether the company fits into your budget. Also take into account what guarantees a company offers: If the problem is not fixed, or if it returns, does the company promise to offer additional treatments until the issue is satisfactorily handled?
Safety and Treatment Methods
Your preferences regarding safety for yourself, your children, your pets, and the environment can influence which provider and treatment methods you choose.
Your pest control provider should use low toxicity or non-toxic pesticides any time they can. If any pesticides they intend to use don't fall into one of these categories, your technician should explain what safety precautions they plan to use to protect your family, your pets, and you. Pesticides that pose more than a minimum risk are required to be registered with the EPA.
Many companies are now exploring greener and cleaner pest solutions that can be used before (or in place of) chemical pesticides. Many are following the practice of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which goes as follows:
- Identify problem pests and determine if immediate action is needed.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Use a combination of biological, cultural, physical, and mechanical controls to manage the pest problem.
- Employ chemical controls only when absolutely necessary, and always along with other solutions for effective long-term pest management.
- Evaluate outcomes and continue with additional pest control as needed.