How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The most important step is hiring the best pest control professional for the job. You might take into consideration a company's qualifications and treatment methods in addition to its customer reviews and years of experience. Of course, there is also the cost of services to consider.
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 that supervise them) are required 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 Virginia should be licensed via the necessary state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
There are additional optional certifications that can help demonstrate that a pest control company is reputable. One of these is the GreenPro Service Certification. For this certification, a company must show that its methods are more environmentally friendly and that its employees receive up-to-date training. Additional certifications can be obtained through trade organizations like QualityPro.
Pest control companies can also be members of certain 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 demonstrate a company's reputability.
Professional Experience and Specialties
A company's website can tell you how long it has been in operation and what species of pests it specializes in exterminating. Online reviews can also provide some insight into a company's experience dealing with a certain type of pest. If you're unable to 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, look up a company's Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating, or check the status of its license through the Virginia licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Things like the type of pest being treated, your location, the size of your house, and other factors can all influence the cost of pest control.
You can look into whether a company offers free on-site estimates (to determine if it fits in your budget) and what type of guarantees it provides. Often, a company will provide a guarantee that if it does not take care of your pest problem, it will keep coming back until it does.
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 a provider that uses environmentally friendly methods.
Be sure to ask your pest control provider if they plan to use low toxicity or non-toxic pesticides—if not, ask what precautionary measures will be in place. Any pesticide that presents above a minimum risk must be registered with the EPA. Your pest control company should provide information about all of the pesticides to be used, in addition to how safe they are around people and pets.
Companies looking to reduce their use of chemical pesticides often follow practices such as Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Using IPM involves a series of steps:
- Identify the source of the pest problem and assess whether immediate action is required.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of mechanical, physical, biological, and cultural controls.
- Employ chemical controls only when required, and always with other methods for effective long-term pest management.
- Evaluate outcomes and implement additional pest control as needed.