How To Choose a Pest Control Company
There are a number of factors you can weigh when selecting the best pest control company for you. Things you might consider include qualifications and licensing, treatment methods, years of experience, customer reviews, and cost.
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, as well as those that supervise them, should be licensed via the appropriate New York 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?
A pest control company can obtain optional certifications from QualityPro or similar trade organizations in order to verify 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. These companies also need to maintain certain training standards for employees.
Pest control companies can also become members of professional organizations. Companies can belong to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), or state-level organizations. Membership in the NPMA provides companies with access to resources, education, and a network of other pest control companies. While not required, membership in professional organizations helps demonstrate a company's reputability.
Professional Experience and Specialties
You can gain some insight into a company's experience level by looking at how many years it has been in operation. Local reviews and the company's own website can also inform you whether a certain company has experience dealing with the specific species of pests invading your home. You can contact a representative directly to learn this information if it is not available online.
Reviews and Recommendations
Resources you can use to check a company's reputation include the Better Business Bureau (BBB), local review sites, and social media. You can also check the status of a company's license via the New York licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Pest control costs can vary based on things like the size of your house, your location, the type of pest being treated, and other factors.
When thinking about the cost of services, you should first look into whether a company provides free on-site estimates as part of its services. This can inform you whether the company fits into your budget. Also look into a company's guarantees: If the problem is not resolved, or if it returns, will the company provide additional treatment until the issue is satisfactorily handled?
Safety and Treatment Methods
Your preferences regarding safety for yourself, any children or pets, and the environment might affect the provider and the treatment methods you choose.
Your pest control provider should be able to discuss the safety of any pesticides that will be used in your home. They should be able to answer questions as to whether the pesticides are low toxicity or non-toxic; if they are not, they should explain what safety precautions they will put in place to protect you, your family, and your pets. All pesticides that pose greater than a minimum risk are required to be registered with the EPA.
Many companies have started making the switch to using more natural treatment methods before (or in place of) harsh chemical pesticides. Some use a program called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Identify the source of the pest problem and assess whether immediate action is required.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Use a combination of mechanical, physical, biological, and cultural controls to manage the pest problem.
- Use chemical controls only if needed, and always in combination with other controls for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and implement additional pest control as needed.