How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The most important step is choosing the best pest control company for the job. Important factors can include the company's qualifications, its treatment methods, experience and reviews, and of course the cost of services.
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 that supervise them) are required to 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 New York should be licensed via the necessary state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
One certification that pest control companies can earn is the GreenPro Service Certification, which requires a company to show that its practices are environmentally friendly and that its employees receive up-to-date training. QualityPro and similar trade organizations also offer other certifications. These are not required, but can help show that a pest control company is reputable.
Pest control companies can also become members of certain professional organizations. A pest control company can join both state-level organizations and national organizations such as the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). While not mandatory, membership in these organizations helps prove a company's reputability and gives it access to resources, education, and a network of other professionals to compare best practices with.
Professional Experience and Specialties
A company's website can tell you how many years it has been in business and what species of pests it specializes in eliminating. Local reviews can also give you some insight into a company's experience dealing with a specific pest. If you're unable to find this information online, you can try reaching out to the company directly.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can browse reviews and recommendations on local review sites or social media, look up a company's rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), or check the status of its license through the New York licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
For many people, cost is one of the main deciding factors when picking a company for pest control. Cost can be influenced by factors like the type of pest being treated, your location, and the size of your house.
You can think about whether a certain company offers free on-site estimates (to determine if it fits your budget), and what kind of guarantees are provided. Often, a company will guarantee that if your pest problem isn't fixed by its treatment, it will continue to treat until it is.
Safety and Treatment Methods
Safety is an important consideration when selecting a pest control provider. You might also prefer a provider who uses more natural, environmentally friendly methods.
It's important to understand the precautions for the pesticides used around your home, for the sake of your family, your pets, and yourself. Your pest control technician should supply information about the 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) need to be registered with the EPA.
You can ask if your technician will start with lower-toxicity, more natural options before employing harsher chemicals.
Many companies now use 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.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of biological, cultural, mechanical, and physical controls.
- Use chemical controls only when required, and always with other methods for effective long-term pest management.
- Evaluate outcomes and implement additional pest control as needed.