How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The most important step in the pest control process is hiring the right company for you. Some things you might consider include licensing and qualifications, treatment methods, years of experience, customer reviews, and cost.
Below, we dive into detail on each of these factors.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
All pesticide applicators (and those that supervise them) need to be certified at the state level. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established minimum standards of competency, but any pesticide applicators working in Texas should be licensed via 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. To obtain this certification, a pest control company must both demonstrate that its practices are more environmentally friendly and uphold certain technician training standards. Companies can obtain other certifications from QualityPro or similar trade organizations to further back up their work.
Pest control companies can also be members of certain professional organizations. Becoming a member of an organization like the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or a state-level organization gives companies access to resources and education, as well as a professional network to compare best practices with. Joining organizations like these is not required, but it can help show that a company follows industry best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
You can get some insight into a company's level of pest management experience by seeing how many years it has been in operation. The company's website and local reviews can also let you know whether the company has the experience needed to deal with the specific species of pests that are afflicting your home. You can reach out to a representative directly to learn this information if you can't find it online.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can look for reviews and recommendations on local review sites or social media, verify a company's rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), or check its licensure status through the Texas licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
The cost of pest control can vary based on things like your location, the type of pest being treated, the size of your house, and other factors.
When thinking about the cost of services, you should verify whether a company provides free on-site estimates as part of its services. This can help determine whether the company fits into your budget. Also consider a company's guarantees: If the problem is not fixed, or returns, does the company promise to offer additional treatment until the issue is handled satisfactorily?
Safety and Treatment Methods
Keeping yourself, your family and your pets safe is an important consideration when selecting a pest control provider. You might also prefer one that uses environmentally friendly methods.
It's important to understand the precautions for the pesticides used in your house, for the sake of you, your family, and your pets. Your pest control technician should be capable of providing information about all pesticides they intend to use, whether they are low toxicity or non-toxic, and (if not) what safety measures will be used. All pesticides (except minimum-risk ones) should be registered with the EPA.
Many companies will begin with more environmentally friendly options before employing pesticides, following a framework called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). When using IPM, the following steps are taken:
- Figure out what pests are causing the 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 techniques for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and provide additional pest control as needed.