How To Choose a Pest Control Company
Hiring the right company for you is the most important step in the pest control process. Important factors can include a 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?
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), all pesticide applicators and those that supervise them must be certified at the state level. The EPA sets minimum standards of competency, but all pesticide applicators in Texas should be licensed through the proper state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Pest control companies can optionally obtain certifications from trade organizations like QualityPro. While not required, they can help you assess the quality of a company's products. For example, the GreenPro Service Certification indicates comprehensive and effective pest control methods that are safer for humans and the environment.
A pest control company can also belong to certain professional organizations. Companies can obtain membership in the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), or state-level organizations. Membership in the NPMA gives companies 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
You can gain some insight into a company's level of experience by looking into how long it has been in operation. Local reviews and the company's own website can also let you know whether a company has the experience needed to deal with the specific species of pests invading your home. You can contact a representative directly to learn this information if you can't find it online.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can view a company's Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating, explore reviews on social media or local review sites, or check the standing of its license via the Texas licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
For many people, cost is one of the main deciding factors when picking a company for pest control. Cost can be determined by factors like the size of your house, the type of pest being treated, and your location.
You can consider whether a particular company offers free on-site estimates (to determine if it fits your budget), and what kind of guarantees are provided. Often, a company will guarantee that if its treatment doesn't resolve your pest problem, it will continue to come back until it does.
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.
You want to ensure that you understand the precautions for the pesticides used around your home, for the sake of you, your family, and your pets. Your pest control provider 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 will be used. All pesticides (except minimum-risk ones) need to be registered with the EPA.
Many companies will begin with more environmentally friendly options before using harsh pesticides, using a technique called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). When using IPM, the following steps are taken:
- Identify problem pests and determine if immediate action is needed.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Use a combination of biological, cultural, mechanical, and physical controls to manage the pest problem.
- Employ chemical controls only if needed, and always along with other solutions for effective long-term pest management.
- Evaluate outcomes and continue with additional pest control as needed.