How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The most important step in the pest control process is hiring the right company for you. The qualifications of and treatment methods used by a company are important to consider, as well as its years of experience and reputation in customer reviews. Of course, you will also want to think about cost.
Below, we explore the details of each of these factors.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
While the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets the minimum standards of competency for pesticide applicators, licensing is handled at the state level. All pesticide applicators (and those who supervise them) in Texas need to be licensed by all the necessary state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
One optional certification that may be worth looking for is the GreenPro Service Certification. In order to receive this certification, a pest control company needs to both show that its practices are more environmentally friendly and maintain certain training standards for its technicians. Companies can earn other certifications from QualityPro or similar trade organizations to further back up their work.
Pest control companies can also be members of various professional organizations. Membership in 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, in addition to a professional network to compare best practices with. Belonging to one of these organizations is not mandatory, but it can help indicate that a company follows industry best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
You can get some insight into a company's experience level by looking into how many years it has been in operation. Local reviews and the company's own website can also inform you whether a company has experience dealing with the specific species of pests that are afflicting your home. You can call the company directly to learn this information if you can't find it online.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can check a company's reputation using social media or local review sites as well as the Better Business Bureau (BBB). You can also check with Texas' licensing board to see the status of a company's license.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Pest control costs can vary based on things like your location, the type of pest being treated, the size of your house, and other factors.
When considering the cost of services, you should first look into whether a company includes free on-site estimates as part of its process. This can help determine whether the company fits into your budget. Also take into account what guarantees a company offers: If the problem is not resolved, or returns, does the company provide additional treatments until the problem is handled satisfactorily?
Safety and Treatment Methods
When picking a pest control provider, you want to choose a company that will help keep you, your family, and your pets safe. You may also prefer a provider that is environmentally-conscious.
You can ask your pest control provider if they will be using low toxicity or non-toxic pesticides, and if not, ask about what precautionary measures they plan to use. Any pesticide that has been deemed above minimum risk must be registered with the EPA. Your pest technician should be able to provide information about all of the pesticides to be used, and how safe they are around people and pets.
It is now common for companies to begin with more environmentally friendly options before using harsh pesticides, following a technique called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). When using IPM, the following steps are taken:
- Identify the source of the pest problem and assess whether immediate action is needed.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Use a combination of biological, cultural, mechanical, and physical controls to manage the pest problem.
- Employ chemical controls only when required, and always with other controls for effective long-term pest management.
- Observe the results and implement additional pest control as needed.