How To Choose a Pest Control Company
When picking a pest control company, there are several factors you can consider to make sure you choose the right one for you. You may consider a company's qualifications and treatment methods as well as its customer reviews and years of experience. And of course, there's 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?
While the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets the minimum competency standards for pesticide application, licensure is handled at the state level. All pesticide applicators (and their supervisors) in Virginia need to be licensed by all the necessary state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Pest control companies also have the option to obtain additional certifications such as the GreenPro Service Certification. This certification is awarded once a company has proven its methods to be more environmentally friendly and demonstrated that it also holds itself up to certain other standards, such as up-to-date training for employees. A company can also earn other certifications from trade organizations like QualityPro to further back up its methods and practices.
A pest control company can also belong to various professional organizations. Companies can belong to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), or state-level organizations. Membership in the NPMA provides companies with access to education, resources, and a network of other pest control companies. While not mandatory, membership in professional organizations helps demonstrate a company's reputability.
Professional Experience and Specialties
The amount of time that a company has been in business can give you some insight into its experience dealing with the pests that live in Arlington. Online reviews or the company's website itself can also enlighten you about whether it has the skills and experience needed to handle your specific pest problem. If the answers to your questions aren't available online, reaching out to the company directly is a great way to learn more.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can look up 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 Virginia licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Cost is probably high on your list of priorities when hiring someone for pest control. Cost can be affected influenced by the type of pest being treated, your location, the size of your house, and other factors.
Many companies offer free on-site estimates before starting work, to help you decide whether it fits into your budget. You can also ask whether if your company has a satisfaction guarantee, meaning that it will continue to treat your pest problem until it is solved.
Safety and Treatment Methods
Your preferences regarding safety for yourself, any children or pets, and the environment can affect which provider and treatment methods you choose.
Your pest control provider should be able to discuss the safety of any and all pesticides they plan to use. They should be able to explain whether the pesticides are low toxicity or non-toxic; if they are not, they should explain what safety precautions will be used to protect your family, your pets, and you. Pesticides that pose more than a minimum risk are required to be registered with the EPA.
Many companies will start with more environmentally friendly options before using pesticides, using a technique called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). When using IPM, the following steps are taken:
- Figure out what pests are causing the problem and assess whether immediate action is needed.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of mechanical, cultural, biological, and physical controls.
- Employ chemical controls only when absolutely necessary, and always in combination with other controls for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and continue with additional pest control as needed.