How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The most important step is picking the best pest control company for the job. You might take into consideration a company's qualifications and treatment methods as well as its customer reviews and years of experience. Of course, there is also the cost of services to consider.
Below, we explore the details of 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) sets 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?
One certification that pest control companies can earn is the GreenPro Service Certification, which requires that a company show that its practices are more environmentally friendly and that its employee training is up to date. QualityPro and similar trade organizations also offer other certifications. While not required, these can help show that a pest control company is reputable.
Pest control companies can also hold membership in professional organizations. Companies can be members of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), or state-level organizations. NPMA membership gives companies access to education, resources, and a network of other pest control companies. While not mandatory, membership in professional organizations helps back up a company's reputability.
Professional Experience and Specialties
The amount of time that a company has been in business can shed some light on its experience dealing with pests in your area. Online reviews or the company's own website can also inform you whether it has the experience needed to handle your specific pest problem. If you cannot find the answers to your questions online, reaching out to the company directly is an excellent way to learn more.
Reviews and Recommendations
Resources that can help you verify a company's reputation include local review sites, social media, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB). You can also check the status of a company's license through the Virginia licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Things like the type of pest being treated, the size of your house, your location, and other factors can all influence the cost of pest control.
You can look into whether a company provides free on-site estimates (to determine if it fits in your budget) and what sort of guarantees it offers. Often, a company will provide a guarantee that if it does not resolve your pest problem, it will keep coming back until it does.
Safety and Treatment Methods
When it comes to picking a pest control provider, you want to choose a company that will keep you, your family, and your pets safe. You'll likely also prefer an environmentally-conscious provider.
All pesticides used by your company (except those that pose only a minimum risk) should be registered with the EPA. Your pest control technician should be able to supply information on each pesticide they are using. They should be able to tell you whether these chemicals are low toxicity or non-toxic, and if not, what safety precautions will be in place.
You can ask if your technician will start with more natural and lower-toxicity options before using harsher chemicals.
Many companies now use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to treat pest infestations with minimal personal or environmental risk. The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Figure out what pests are causing the problem and determine if immediate action is needed.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of physical, biological, mechanical, and cultural controls.
- Use chemical controls only when absolutely necessary, and always with other methods for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and continue with additional pest control as needed.