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 take into consideration a company's qualifications, treatment methods, years of experience, customer reviews, and service prices.
Below, we explore the details of each factor.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
All pesticide applicators, as well as those that supervise them, must be licensed via the appropriate New York regulatory agencies. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets 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?
A pest control company can receive optional certifications from QualityPro or similar trade organizations in order to back up its methods and standards. One particular certification is the GreenPro Service Certification, which is awarded to any company that can demonstrate that its methods are more environmentally friendly. These companies also need to maintain certain employee training standards.
There are various professional organizations that pest control companies can be members of. Membership in an organization like the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or a state-level organization gives companies access to education and resources, in addition to a professional network to compare best practices with. Joining organizations like these is not mandatory, but it can help show that a company follows industry best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
Browsing a company's website can tell you how many years it has been in operation and what type of pests it specializes in eliminating. Local reviews can also offer some insight into a company's experience dealing with a specific pest. If this information isn't available online, you can try reaching out to the company directly.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can browse reviews and recommendations on social media or local review sites, view a company's rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), or check its licensure status through the New York licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Things like the size of your house, your location, the type of pest being treated, and other factors can all affect the cost of pest control.
You can learn whether a company offers free on-site estimates (to determine if it fits in your budget) and what type of guarantees it offers. Often, a company will provide a guarantee that if it does not eliminate your pest problem, it will continue treatment until it does.
Safety and Treatment Methods
When it comes to picking a pest control provider, you want to choose one that will help keep you, your family, and your pets safe. You'll likely also prefer an environmentally-conscious provider.
You can ask your pest control technician if they are going to use low toxicity or non-toxic pesticides—if not, ask about what precautionary measures they will take. Any pesticide that poses greater than minimum risk must be registered with the EPA. Your pest technician should be able to supply information about all of the pesticides that will be used in your home, and how safe they are around people and pets.
You can ask if your technician will start with lower-toxicity, more natural options before moving on to harsher chemicals.
Many companies are now using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to treat pest infestations with minimal personal or environmental risk. The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Identify problem pests and assess whether immediate action is needed.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Use a combination of mechanical, physical, biological, and cultural controls to manage the pest problem.
- Employ chemical controls only when required, and always in combination with other controls for effective long-term pest management.
- Evaluate outcomes and continue with additional pest control as needed.