How To Choose a Pest Control Company
Choosing the best pest control company for you is key. Things you may consider include licensing and qualifications, treatment methods, years of experience, customer reviews, and cost.
Below, we discuss each of these factors in more detail.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets minimum competency standards for pesticide applicators, but licensure is handled at the state level. All pesticide applicators and their supervisors in New York must be licensed through the proper state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
A pest control company can obtain optional certifications from trade organizations like QualityPro in order to verify 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.
Pest control companies can also belong to certain professional organizations. While not mandatory, membership in organizations such as the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or state-level organizations help verify a company's reputability. After joining an organization like the NPMA, a company receives access to resources, education, and a network of other professionals with whom to discuss best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
Looking at a company's website can tell you how many years it has been in business and what type of pests it specializes in exterminating. Online reviews can also offer some insight into a company's experience dealing with specific pests. If this information isn't available online, you can try reaching out to the company directly.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can verify a company's legitimacy using the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and local review sites or social media. You can also check with New York's licensing board to see the status of a company's license.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Cost is often a deciding factor when choosing a pest control company. Cost may be determined by your location, the size of your house, the type of pest being treated, and other factors.
A pest control company may offer a free on-site estimate to help you figure out if it fits into your budget. You can also look at whether it offers a satisfaction guarantee.
Safety and Treatment Methods
Your choice of pest control company might be influenced by how environmentally friendly a company's practices are, as well as how safe its methods are around your family and pets.
All pesticides that will be used (except those that are classified as minimum-risk) are required to be registered with the EPA. Your pest control provider should be able to provide information on each pesticide they will be using. They should be able to tell you whether these chemicals are low toxicity or non-toxic, and if not, what safety precautions will be taken.
Many companies are now trialing options for more environmentally friendly methods of pest control before employing harsh pesticides.
One popular method for making pest control safer and greener is Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Figure out what pests are causing the problem and determine whether immediate action is required.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of biological, cultural, physical, and mechanical controls.
- Employ chemical controls only when absolutely necessary, and always in combination with other solutions for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and continue with additional pest control as needed.