How To Choose a Pest Control Company
There are several factors you can take into consideration when selecting the best pest control company for you. Important 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?
While the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established minimum competency standards for pesticide application, licensing is handled at the state level. All pesticide applicators (and those who supervise them) in Pennsylvania must be licensed by all the necessary state regulatory agencies.
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 more environmentally friendly and that its employee training is up to date. QualityPro and similar trade organizations also offer other certifications. These are not required, but can help show that a company is reputable.
A pest control company can also belong to professional organizations. A pest control company can obtain membership in both state-level organizations and national organizations such as the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). By being a member of these optional organizations, a company helps support its reputability and gains access to resources, education, and a network of professionals to compare best practices with.
Professional Experience and Specialties
Looking at how long a company has been in business can help determine how much experience it has dealing with pests in your area. You can also explore its website or look through customer reviews to decide whether it has the right kind of experience handling the type of pests you are struggling 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 verify a company's legitimacy using the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and local review sites or social media. You can also check with Pennsylvania's licensing board to verify the status of a company's license.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
It's important to think about cost when hiring someone for pest control. Cost can be affected influenced by the type of pest being treated, the size of your house, your location, and other factors.
Companies will often offer free on-site estimates before starting work, to help you determine whether it fits into your budget. You can also ask whether a provider offers a satisfaction guarantee, meaning that if your pest problem is not solved by the initial treatment, it will continue returning until it is.
Safety and Treatment Methods
Your preferences regarding safety for yourself, your children, your pets, and the environment might influence which provider and 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, ask about what precautionary measures they plan to use. Any pesticide that poses greater than minimum risk needs to be registered with the EPA. Your pest technician should provide information about all of the pesticides that will be used in your home, and how safe they are around people and pets.
Many companies are now exploring greener and cleaner pest solutions that can be used before (or in place of) chemical pesticides. Many are following the practice of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which goes as follows:
- Identify problem pests and determine if immediate action is required.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of biological, cultural, mechanical, and physical controls.
- Employ chemical controls only when required, and always along with other techniques for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and implement additional pest control as needed.