How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The most important step in the pest control process is hiring the right company for you. Important decision-making factors include the company's qualifications, its treatment methods, experience and reviews, and of course the cost of services.
Below, we discuss each of these factors in more detail.
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) sets minimum standards of competency, but all pesticide applicators working in New York must be licensed via the necessary state regulatory agencies.
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 back up its standards and methods. 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 training standards for employees.
Pest control companies can also join certain professional organizations. Becoming a member of an organization such as the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or a state-level organization gives companies access to education and resources, as well as a network of professionals with whom to compare best practices. Membership in one of these organizations is not mandatory, but it can help indicate that a company follows industry best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
You can gain some insight into a company's experience level by finding out how many years it has been in operation. Local reviews and the company's own website can also clue you in as to whether a company has experience dealing with the specific species of pests invading your home. You can call the company directly to learn this information if you can't find it online.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can check a company's rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), browse reviews on social media or local review sites, or check the standing of its license via the New York licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Cost is an important consideration when picking 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.
Certain pest control companies offer a free on-site estimate to help you decide if it fits into your budget. You can also see if it offers a satisfaction guarantee.
Safety and Treatment Methods
Keeping yourself, your family and your pets safe is an important consideration when selecting a pest control provider. You may also prefer a provider that uses environmentally friendly methods.
Your pest technician should use low toxicity or non-toxic pesticides whenever possible. If any pesticides used don't fall into one of these categories, your technician should explain what safety precautions they plan to use to protect you, your family, and your pets. Any pesticides that pose more than a minimum risk should be registered with the EPA.
Many companies will begin with more environmentally friendly options before using pesticides, following a technique called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). When using IPM, the following steps are taken:
- Identify problem pests and determine if immediate action is required.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Use a combination of mechanical, physical, biological, and cultural controls to manage the pest problem.
- Employ chemical controls only when required, and always in combination with other controls for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and continue with additional pest control as needed.