How To Choose a Pest Control Company
There are a number of things you can consider when selecting the right pest control company for you. Along with a company's qualifications and treatment methods, you might also look into how long it has been in business and what the reviews look like. Last but not least, you'll likely want to look at 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?
While the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established minimum competency standards for pesticide applicators, licensure is handled at the state level. All pesticide applicators (and those who supervise them) in Texas must be licensed by all 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. While not required, these can help demonstrate that a company is reputable.
A pest control company can also belong to 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, plus a network of professionals with whom to compare best practices. Membership in one of these organizations is not mandatory, but it can help indicate that a company follows industry best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
A company's website can tell you how many years it has been in operation and what species of pests it specializes in exterminating. Online reviews can also offer some insight into a company's experience dealing with a specific pest. If you can't find this information online, you can try contacting the company directly.
Reviews and Recommendations
Resources that can help you verify a company's reputation include local review sites, social media, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Additionally, you can check the status of a company's license through the Texas licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Things like your location, the size of your house, the type of pest being treated, and other factors can all influence the cost of pest control.
You can learn whether a company offers free on-site estimates (to determine if it fits in your budget), as well as what kind of guarantees it offers. Often, a company will guarantee that if it does not take care of your pest problem, it will keep coming back until it does.
Safety and Treatment Methods
Your choice of pest control provider might be influenced by how environmentally friendly a provider's practices are, as well as how safe its methods are around your family and pets.
Your pest control technician should be able to discuss the safety of any and all pesticides that they're going to use. They should be able to answer questions about whether the pesticides are low toxicity or non-toxic, and if not what safety precautions they will put in place to protect your family, your pets, and you. Pesticides that pose above a minimum risk must 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 utilize a program called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Identify the source of the pest problem and determine if immediate action is required.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of physical, cultural, biological, and mechanical controls.
- Use chemical controls only when absolutely necessary, and always in combination with other solutions for effective long-term pest management.
- Observe the results and continue with additional pest control as needed.