How To Choose a Pest Control Company
Hiring the right company for you is the most important step in the pest control process. Important factors can include the 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, need to be licensed via the appropriate New York regulatory agencies. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established 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 optionally apply for additional certifications from trade organizations like QualityPro to support its methods and standards. One particular certification is the GreenPro Service Certification, which is awarded when a company can demonstrate that its methods are more environmentally friendly. Companies that receive this certification also need to maintain certain training standards for employees.
There are several professional organizations that a pest control company can be a member of. 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 education, resources, and a network of other professionals with whom to compare best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
You can look at a company's years in business to help determine how much experience it has taking care of pests in your area. You can also browse its website or peruse customer reviews to decide whether it has the right kind of experience handling the type of pests you are dealing with. If this information can't be found online, calling the company directly is a good way to learn more.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can browse 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
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 your location, the size of your house, and the type of pest being treated.
You can consider whether a company offers free on-site estimates (to determine if it fits in your budget), and what sort 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
Your choice of pest control provider might be influenced by how environmentally friendly a provider's practices are, in addition to how safe its methods are around your family and pets.
Ask your pest control provider if they plan to use low toxicity or non-toxic pesticides—if not, ask about what precautionary measures they plan to use. Any pesticide that poses greater than minimum risk should be registered with the EPA. Your pest technician should provide information about all pesticides that will be used in your home, and how safe they are around people and pets.
Companies often begin with more environmentally friendly options before using harsh pesticides, following a framework called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). When using IPM, the following steps are taken:
- Figure out what pests are causing the problem and assess whether immediate action is required.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Use a combination of mechanical, cultural, biological, and physical controls to manage the pest problem.
- Use chemical controls only when required, and always with other controls for effective long-term pest management.
- Evaluate outcomes and continue with additional pest control as needed.