How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The most important step in the pest control process is hiring the right company for you. The qualifications of and treatment methods used by a company are important to consider, as well as its years of experience and reputation in customer reviews. Of course, you also want to consider 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 (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 all pesticide applicators working in New York should be licensed via the necessary state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
A pest control company can optionally apply for additional certifications from trade organizations like QualityPro in order to support its standards and methods. One particular certification is the GreenPro Service Certification, which is granted when a company can demonstrate that its methods are more environmentally friendly. Companies that receive this certification 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 grants a pest control company access to resources and education, as well as a professional network to compare best practices with. Membership in organizations like these is not required, but it can help show that a company follows industry best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
In general, a company provides information like its specialities and years of experience on its website. Online reviews can also tell you whether a company has experience dealing with a specific pest. If you're unable to find the information you need online, you can reach out to the company directly to get your questions answered.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can check a company's reputation using the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and social media or local review sites. You can also check with New York's licensing board to verify the status of a company's license.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Things like the type of pest being treated, the size of your house, 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 kind 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
Your preferences regarding safety for yourself, your children, your pets, and the environment might influence the provider and the treatment methods you choose.
You will want to understand the precautions around pesticides used in your home, for the sake of your family, your pets, and yourself. Your pest control provider should be capable of providing information about the pesticides they plan on using, whether they are low toxicity or non-toxic, and (if not) what safety measures they plan to take. All pesticides (except minimum-risk ones) should be registered with the EPA.
Many companies will start 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:
- Figure out what pests are causing the problem and determine whether immediate action is required.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Use a combination of physical, biological, mechanical, and cultural controls to manage the pest problem.
- Use chemical controls only if needed, and always in combination with other methods for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and continue with additional pest control as needed.