How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The most important step is choosing the right pest control company for the job. 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 dive into detail on 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 standards of competency 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?
Obtaining additional optional certifications can help show that a pest control company is reputable. One example is the GreenPro Service Certification. For this certification, a company must show that its methods are more environmentally friendly and that its employee training is up to date. Other various certifications can be obtained through QualityPro and similar trade organizations.
Pest control companies can also obtain membership in professional organizations. While not mandatory, membership in organizations like the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or state-level organizations help to prove a company's reputability. In the NPMA and other organizations, pest control companies have access to education, resources, and a network of professionals with whom to share best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
Looking at a company's website can tell you how long it has been in business and what kind of pests it specializes in exterminating. Local reviews can also provide some insight into a company's experience dealing with specific pests. If you can't find this information online, you can try contacting the company directly.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can look for reviews and recommendations on social media or local review sites, verify a company's Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating, or check its licensure status through the Texas licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
For many people, cost is one of the main deciding factors when looking for pest control. Cost can be affected by factors like the type of pest being treated, the size of your house, and your location.
You can look into whether a specific company offers free on-site estimates (to determine if it fits in your budget), and what kind of guarantees are provided. Often, a company will guarantee that if your pest problem isn't fixed by its treatment, it will continue to treat until it is.
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.
Be sure to ask your pest control technician if they plan on using low toxicity or non-toxic pesticides, and if not, ask what precautionary measures will be in place. Any pesticide that presents above a minimum risk should be registered with the EPA. Your pest technician should supply information about all pesticides to be used, in addition to how safe they are around people and pets.
Many companies have started making the switch to using more natural treatment methods before (or in place 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 needed.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of mechanical, physical, biological, and cultural controls.
- Use chemical controls only if needed, and always with other controls for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and provide additional pest control as needed.