How To Choose a Pest Control Company
Hiring the right company for you is the most important step in the pest control process. 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 consider cost.
Below, we discuss each of these factors in more detail.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
All pesticide applicators (and those who supervise them) are required to be certified at the state level. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets minimum standards of competency, but any pesticide applicators working in the state of Texas should be licensed via the necessary state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
One certification that pest control companies can earn is the GreenPro Service Certification, which requires that a company show that its practices are environmentally friendly and that its employees receive up-to-date training. QualityPro and similar trade organizations also offer other certifications. These are not required, but can help demonstrate that a pest control company is reputable.
Pest control companies can also be members of various professional organizations. Companies can be members of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), or state-level organizations. Membership in the NPMA provides companies with access to resources, education, and a network of other pest professionals. While not required, membership in professional organizations helps back up a company's reputability.
Professional Experience and Specialties
Generally, a company displays information like years of experience and specialities on its website. Local reviews can also tell you whether a company has experience dealing with a particular pest in your area. If you're unable to find the information you need online, you can speak with a company representative directly to get the answers to your questions.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can check a company's reputation using local review sites or social media 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
The cost of pest control can vary based on things like the size of your house, the type of pest being treated, your location, and other factors.
When thinking about the cost of services, you should first look into whether a company offers free on-site estimates as part of its services. This can inform you whether the company fits into your budget. Also take into account what guarantees a company offers: If the problem is not resolved, or if it returns, does the company promise to offer additional treatments until the issue is handled satisfactorily?
Safety and Treatment Methods
Your preferences regarding safety for yourself, your children, your pets, and the environment may affect the provider and the 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 will be in place. Any pesticide that has been deemed above minimum risk should be registered with the EPA. Your pest technician should provide information about all of the pesticides used, in addition to how safe they are around people and pets.
Many companies will start with more environmentally friendly options before using harsh pesticides, using a framework called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). When using IPM, the following steps are taken:
- Identify the source of the pest problem and determine if 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.
- Use chemical controls only when required, and always with other methods for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and provide additional pest control as needed.