How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The first step is hiring the right pest control professional for the job. Important factors include a company's qualifications, its treatment methods, experience and reviews, and of course the cost of services.
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, 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, while issuing, 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 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. A company that receives this certification also needs to maintain certain employee training standards.
Pest control companies can also belong to certain professional organizations. Pest control companies can join both state-level organizations and national organizations such as the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). By being a member of these optional organizations, a company helps support its reputability and gains access to education, resources, and a network of other professionals with whom to compare best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
The amount of time that a company has been in business can give you some insight into its experience dealing with various pests. Online reviews or the company's website itself can also enlighten you about whether it has the experience needed to deal with your particular pests. If the answers to your questions aren't available online, reaching out to the company directly is a great way to learn more.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can look up a company's rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), look for reviews on local review sites or social media, or check the standing of its license via the New York licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Things like your location, the type of pest being treated, the size of your house, and other factors can all affect the price of pest control.
You can find out whether a company provides free on-site estimates (to determine if it fits in your budget), as well as what type of guarantees it offers. Often, a company will provide a guarantee that if it does not take care of your pest problem, it will keep coming back until it does.
Safety and Treatment Methods
Your preferences regarding safety for yourself, any children or pets, and the environment can affect which provider and treatment methods you choose.
Your pest control technician should be able to discuss the safety of any and all pesticides that they're going to use. They should be able to clarify whether the pesticides are low toxicity or non-toxic, and if not what safety precautions will be in place to protect your family, your pets, and you. All pesticides that pose more than a minimum risk are required to be registered with the EPA.
Many companies are making the switch to using more natural treatment methods before (or in place of) harsh chemical pesticides. Some follow a program called 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 physical, cultural, biological, and mechanical controls.
- Use chemical controls only when absolutely necessary, and always with other controls for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and continue with additional pest control as needed.