How To Choose a Pest Control Company
There are several things you can weigh when selecting the right pest control company for you. Important factors can include a company's qualifications, its treatment methods, experience and reviews, and of course the cost of services.
Below, we explore the details of each of these factors.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains minimum standards of competency for pesticide applicators, but licensure is regulated at the state level. All pesticide applicators and their supervisors in New York need to be licensed through the proper state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Pest control companies can obtain optional certifications from trade organizations like QualityPro. While not required, they can help you evaluate the quality of a company's products. For example, the GreenPro Service Certification recognizes comprehensive and effective pest control treatment that is safer for humans and the environment.
Pest control companies can also become members of professional organizations. Membership in an organization like the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or a state-level organization grants a pest control company access to education and resources, in addition to a professional network to compare best practices with. Membership in one of these organizations is not required, but it can help indicate that a company follows industry best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
How long a company has been in business can give you some insight into its experience dealing with various pests. Customer reviews or the company's website itself can also enlighten you about whether it has the experience needed to handle your specific pest problem. If you cannot find the answers to your questions online, calling a representative is an excellent way to learn about the company's areas of expertise.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can look at a company's reviews and rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), read local review sites and social media to see what homeowners near you think, or verify its license standing via the New York licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Cost is probably high on your list of priorities when hiring a pest control company. Cost can be affected influenced by the size of your house, the type of pest being treated, your location, and other factors.
Often, companies will offer free on-site estimates before starting work, to help you determine whether it fits into your budget. You can also ask whether if your company has a satisfaction guarantee, meaning that it will continue to treat your pest problem until it is solved.
Safety and Treatment Methods
It's important to consider safety when deciding on a pest control provider, and you might prefer a provider who uses more natural, environmentally friendly methods.
It's important to understand the precautions around pesticides used around your house, for the sake of your family, your pets, and yourself. Your pest control technician should be able to provide information about any pesticides they plan on using, whether they are low toxicity or non-toxic, and (if not) what safety measures they have in place. All pesticides (except minimum-risk ones) need to be registered with the EPA.
It is now common for companies to start with more environmentally friendly options before employing harsh pesticides, using a technique called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). When using IPM, the following steps are taken:
- Identify problem pests 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.
- Employ chemical controls only when required, and always along with other controls for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and provide additional pest control as needed.