How To Choose a Pest Control Company
It's important to choose the right pest control company for you. Factors you may 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?
While the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established minimum competency standards for pesticide application, licensure is taken care of at the state level. All pesticide applicators (and those who supervise them) in New York need to be licensed by all the necessary state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Pest control companies can earn the GreenPro Service Certification, which requires that a company show that its practices are more environmentally friendly and that its employee training is up to date. Trade organizations such as QualityPro offer additional certifications. While not required, these can help demonstrate that a company is reputable.
Pest control companies can also join various professional organizations. While not required, membership in organizations like 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 education, resources, and a network of professionals with whom to discuss best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
You can gain some insight into a company's level of experience by seeing how long 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 that are afflicting your home. You can call the company directly to learn this information if it is not available online.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can look for reviews and recommendations on social media or local review sites, look up a company's rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), or check its licensure status through the New York licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Things like your location, the size of your house, the type of pest being treated, and other factors can all influence 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 guarantee that if it does not eliminate your pest problem, it will continue treatment until it does.
Safety and Treatment Methods
Your choice of pest control provider might be influenced by how environmentally friendly a company's practices are, in addition to how safe its methods are around your family and pets.
You want to ensure that you understand the precautions around pesticides being used in your house, for the sake of your family, your pets, and yourself. Your pest control technician should be able to provide information about the pesticides they intend to use, 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 begin with lower-toxicity, more natural options before moving on to harsher chemicals.
Many companies are now using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to treat pest infestations with minimal personal or environmental risk. The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Identify the source of the pest problem and determine whether immediate action is required.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of mechanical, physical, biological, and cultural controls.
- Use chemical controls only if needed, and always with other controls for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and continue with additional pest control as needed.