How To Choose a Pest Control Company
There are a number of things you can weigh when selecting the best pest control company for you. You might consider a company's qualifications, treatment methods, years of experience, customer reviews, and cost of services.
Below, we dive into detail on each factor.
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 application, licensure is taken care of 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?
A pest control company can optionally apply for certifications from trade organizations like QualityPro in order to back up its standards and methods. One particular certification is the GreenPro Service Certification, which is granted to any company that can demonstrate that its methods are more environmentally friendly. A company that receives this certification also needs to maintain certain employee training standards.
Pest control companies can also belong to professional organizations. Companies can obtain membership in the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), or state-level organizations. NPMA membership provides companies with access to resources, education, and a network of other pest professionals. While not mandatory, membership in professional organizations helps back up a company's reputability.
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. Local reviews and the company's own website can also clue you in as to whether the company has experience dealing with the specific species of pests that are afflicting your home. You can call the company directly to learn this information if it is not available online.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can view a company's Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating, read 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 often a deciding factor when picking a pest control company. Cost may be determined by your location, the type of pest being treated, the size of your house, and other factors.
A pest control company may offer a free on-site estimate to help you figure out if it fits into your budget. You can also check to see if it offers a guarantee of satisfaction.
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 employs environmentally friendly practices.
You want to ensure that you understand the precautions around pesticides used in your house, for the sake of your family, your pets, and yourself. Your pest control technician should provide information about any pesticides they will be using, whether they are low toxicity or non-toxic, and (if not) what safety measures will be in place. All pesticides (except minimum-risk ones) need to be registered with the EPA.
Many companies will begin with more environmentally friendly options before using pesticides, following a technique called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). When using IPM, the following steps are taken:
- Identify problem pests and determine whether immediate action is needed.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of biological, cultural, physical, and mechanical controls.
- Use chemical controls only if needed, and always with other controls for effective long-term pest management.
- Observe the results and implement additional pest control as needed.