How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The most important step is choosing the best pest control company for the job. Important decision-making factors include the 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 licensing is overseen at the state level. All pesticide applicators and supervisors in Tennessee must be licensed through the proper state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Pest control companies have the option to 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 methods that are safer for people and the environment.
Pest control companies can also hold membership in various professional organizations. When a company becomes a member of an organization like the National Pest Management Association(NPMA) (or a state-level organization), it gets access to education, resources, and a network of other pest experts with whom to compare treatment methods. This can give you added peace of mind that a company follows industry best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
You can get some insight into a company's level of experience by finding out how long it has been in operation. The company's website and local reviews can also tell you whether a company has experience dealing with the specific species of pests that are afflicting your home. You can reach out to a representative directly to learn this information if it is not available online.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can look at a company's reviews and rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), explore local review sites and social media to learn what homeowners near you think, or verify its license standing via the Tennessee licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Cost is probably high on your list of priorities when hiring someone for pest control. Cost can be affected influenced by the size of your house, the type of pest being treated, your location, and other factors.
Companies will often offer free on-site estimates as part of their process, to help you determine whether it fits into your budget. You can also ask whether a company offers a satisfaction guarantees, 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 choosing a pest control provider. You might also prefer a provider who uses more natural, environmentally-friendly methods.
It's important to understand the precautions around pesticides being used around your home, for the sake of your family, your pets, and yourself. Your pest control technician should be able to supply information about the pesticides they plan on using, whether they are low toxicity or non-toxic, and (if not) what safety measures they plan to take. All pesticides (except minimum-risk ones) should be registered with the EPA.
Many companies have started offering options for more environmentally friendly pest control techniques before moving to harsh pesticides.
One common way of making pest control safer and greener is Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Figure out what pests are causing the problem and determine whether immediate action is needed.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of mechanical, physical, biological, and cultural controls.
- Employ chemical controls only when required, and always in combination with other methods for effective long-term pest management.
- Evaluate outcomes and provide additional pest control as needed.