How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The most important step in the pest control process is hiring the right 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 dive into detail on each of these factors.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established minimum standards of competency for pesticide applicators, but licensing is taken care of at the state level. All pesticide applicators and their supervisors in Texas need to be licensed through the proper state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
An optional certification that could be worth looking for is the GreenPro Service Certification. In order to earn this certification, a pest control company needs to both show that its practices are more environmentally friendly and uphold certain training standards for its technicians. Companies can earn other certifications from QualityPro or similar trade organizations to further support their work.
Pest control companies can also belong to certain professional organizations. When a company becomes a member of an organization like the National Pest Management Association(NPMA) (or a state-level organization), it gains access to education, resources, and a network of other pest control professionals with whom to compare methods. This can offer additional peace of mind that a company follows industry best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
You can gain some insight into a company's level of experience by looking at how long it has been in operation. Local reviews and the company's own website can also let you know whether the company has experience dealing with the specific species of pests invading your home. You can contact a representative directly to learn this information if it is not available online.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can look at a company's rating and reviews on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), check out social media and local review sites to see what other people are saying, or verify its license standing through the Texas licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
It's important to think about cost when hiring a pest control company. Cost can be affected influenced by your location, the type of pest being treated, the size of your house, and other factors.
Many companies offer free on-site estimates at the beginning of their process, to help you decide 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 choice of pest control company might be influenced by how environmentally friendly a provider's practices are, in addition to how safe its methods are around your family and pets.
You want to ensure that you understand the precautions around pesticides used around your home, for the sake of you, your family, and your pets. Your pest control provider should provide information about any pesticides they plan on using, whether they are low toxicity or non-toxic, and (if not) what safety measures will be in place. All pesticides (except minimum-risk ones) should be registered with the EPA.
Many companies have started making the switch to using more natural treatment methods before (or instead of) harsh chemical pesticides. Some employ a program called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Figure out what pests are causing the problem and assess whether immediate action is required.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Use a combination of mechanical, physical, biological, and cultural controls to manage the pest problem.
- Use chemical controls only when absolutely necessary, and always along with other methods for effective long-term pest management.
- Evaluate outcomes and implement additional pest control as needed.