How To Choose a Pest Control Company
When selecting a pest control company, there are a number of factors that you can consider to be sure you choose the best one for you. The qualifications of and treatment methods used by a company are important to consider, as are its years of experience and reputation in customer reviews. Of course, you also want to consider cost.
Below, we dive into detail on 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 sets minimum competency standards, and the Oregon regulatory agencies take care of the granting, maintaining, and revoking of licenses.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Pest control companies can optionally obtain certifications from trade organizations like QualityPro. These certifications can help you evaluate the quality of a company's products. For example, the GreenPro Service Certification indicates comprehensive and effective pest control treatment that is safer for humans and the environment.
A pest control company can also hold membership in professional organizations. Joining an organization such as the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or a state-level organization grants a pest control company access to education and resources, and a network of professionals with whom to compare best practices. Belonging to organizations like these is not required, but it can help show that a company follows industry best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
A company's years in business can indicate how much experience it has handling various pests. You can also browse its website or read customer reviews to determine whether it has adequate experience with the type of pests you are looking to get rid of. If this information is not available online, calling the company directly is a good way to learn more.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can look up a company's Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating, explore reviews on local review sites or social media, or check the standing of its license via the Oregon licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
The cost of pest control can vary based on things like the size of your house, your location, the type of pest being treated, and other factors.
When considering the cost of services, you should try to determine whether a company provides free on-site estimates as part of its process. 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 if it returns, does the company provide additional treatments until the problem is handled satisfactorily?
Safety and Treatment Methods
When it comes to picking a pest control provider, you want to choose a company that will help keep you, your family, and your pets safe. You'll likely also prefer an environmentally-conscious provider.
Your pest control technician should be able to explain the safety precautions of the pesticides that they're going to use. They should be able to clarify whether the pesticides are low toxicity or non-toxic; if they are not, they should explain what safety precautions they plan to use to protect your family, your pets, and you. All pesticides that pose greater than a minimum risk are required to be registered with the EPA.
You can ask if your technician will begin with more natural and lower-toxicity options before using harsher chemicals.
Many companies now use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to treat pest infestations with minimal personal or environmental risk. The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Figure out what pests are causing the problem and determine if immediate action is needed.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of biological, cultural, physical, and mechanical controls.
- Use chemical controls only when required, and always with other solutions for effective long-term pest management.
- Evaluate outcomes and continue with additional pest control as needed.