How To Choose a Pest Control Company
When choosing a pest control company, you want to find the best one to meet your needs. 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?
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), all pesticide applicators and their supervisors are required to be certified at the state level. The EPA does set minimum standards of competency, but all pesticide applicators in Virginia need to 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. These certifications can help you evaluate the quality of a company's products. For example, the GreenPro Service Certification is given to companies that use comprehensive and effective pest control treatment that is safer for humans and the environment.
There are several professional organizations that a pest control company can be a member of. Holding membership in organizations like the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or state-level organizations is not mandatory, but helps show that a company is reputable. Membership in the NPMA gives companies access to education, resources, and a network of professionals with whom to discuss practices and methods.
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 business. Local reviews and the company's own website can also clue you in as to whether a certain company has the experience needed to deal with the specific species of pests that are afflicting your home. You can always contact a representative directly to learn this information if it is not available online.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can look for reviews and recommendations on local review sites or social media, view a company's rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), or check its licensure status through the Virginia licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Pest control costs can vary based on things like the type of pest being treated, the size of your house, your location, and other factors.
When considering the cost of services, you should try to determine whether a company offers free on-site estimates as part of its process. This can inform you whether the company fits into your budget. Also look into what guarantees a company offers: 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 concern when choosing a pest control provider. You may also prefer a provider that uses environmentally friendly methods.
Your pest control provider should be able to explain the safety precautions of any and all pesticides that they're going to use. They should be able to explain whether the pesticides are low toxicity or non-toxic, and if not what safety precautions they plan to use to protect your family, your pets, and you. Any pesticides that pose more than a minimum risk must be registered with the EPA.
Many companies are now exploring cleaner and greener pest management that can be implemented before (or in place of) chemical pesticides. Many follow the practice of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which goes as follows:
- Identify problem pests and determine if immediate action is required.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Use a combination of biological, cultural, physical, and mechanical controls to manage the pest problem.
- Use chemical controls only when required, and always in combination with other techniques for effective long-term pest management.
- Observe the results and implement additional pest control as needed.