How To Choose a Pest Control Company
It's important to choose the best pest control company for you. Important decision-making factors 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?
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), all pesticide applicators and those that supervise them need to be licensed at the state level. The EPA has established minimum standards of competency, and the North Carolina regulatory agencies handle the issuing, maintaining, and revoking of licenses.
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 environmentally friendly and that its employees receive up-to-date training. Trade organizations such as QualityPro offer additional certifications. These are not required, but can help show that a company is reputable.
There are certain professional organizations that a pest control company can belong to. While not required, membership in organizations such as the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or state-level organizations help show a company's reputability. After joining an organization like the NPMA, a company receives access to resources, education, and a network of other professionals with whom to discuss best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
Looking at a company's website can tell you how long it has been in operation and what kind of pests it specializes in eliminating. Online reviews can also give you some insight into a company's experience dealing with specific pests. If you can't find this information online, you can try contacting the company directly.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can check a company's reputation using the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and social media or local review sites. You can also check with North Carolina's licensing board to verify the status of a company's license.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Pest control costs can vary based on things like your location, the size of your house, the type of pest being treated, and other factors.
When thinking about the cost of services, you should first look into whether a company includes free on-site estimates as part of its services. This can inform you whether the company fits into your budget. Also look into what guarantees a company offers: If the problem is not resolved, or returns, does the company provide additional treatment until the problem is satisfactorily resolved?
Safety and Treatment Methods
Your preferences regarding safety for yourself, any children or pets, and the environment can influence the provider and the treatment methods you choose.
Be sure to ask your pest control provider if they plan to use low toxicity or non-toxic pesticides, and if not, what kind of precautionary measures they will have in place. All pesticides that are not considered minimum-risk chemicals must be registered with the EPA. Your pest control provider will be able to supply you with information about all chemicals that they plan on using.
Pest professionals looking to reduce their reliance on chemical pesticides often follow practices such as Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Using IPM involves a series of steps:
- Identify the source of the pest problem and assess whether immediate action is required.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Use a combination of biological, cultural, mechanical, and physical controls to manage the pest problem.
- Employ chemical controls only if needed, and always in combination with other solutions for effective long-term pest management.
- Observe the results and continue with additional pest control as needed.