How To Choose a Pest Control Company
It's important to choose the right pest control company for you. Important decision-making factors include the company's qualifications, its treatment methods, experience and reviews, and of course the cost of services.
Below, we explore the details of each of these factors.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
Per the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), all pesticide applicators and their supervisors must be certified at the state level. The EPA does set minimum standards of competency, but all pesticide applicators in Virginia must be licensed through the proper state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Pest control companies can earn the GreenPro Service Certification, which requires a company to show that its practices are environmentally friendly and that its employee training is up to date. QualityPro and similar trade organizations also offer additional certifications. These are not required, but can help demonstrate that a pest control company is reputable.
There are various professional organizations that a pest control company can belong to. When a company becomes a member of an organization like the National Pest Management Association(NPMA) (or a state-level organization), it gets access to education, resources, and a network of other pest control professionals with whom to compare treatment methods. This can give you extra peace of mind that a company is following industry best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
In general, a company provides information like its years of experience and specialities on its website. Local reviews can also help you figure out if a company has experience dealing with a particular pest in your area. If you're unable to locate the information you need online, you can call the company directly to get your questions answered.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can browse reviews and recommendations on social media or local review sites, view 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 your location, the type of pest being treated, the size of your house, and other factors can all influence the cost of pest control.
You can learn 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 guarantee that if it does not eliminate your pest problem, it will keep coming back until it does.
Safety and Treatment Methods
Your choice of pest control company might be affected by how environmentally friendly a provider's practices are, in addition to how safe its methods are around your family and pets.
Make sure to ask your pest control technician if the chemicals they're using are low toxicity or non-toxic, and if not, what precautionary measures they plan to take. Any pesticides that are not minimum-risk chemicals should be registered with the EPA. Your pest control provider should be able to provide information about all pesticides that they plan on using.
Nowadays, many companies are exploring cleaner and greener pest solutions that can be used before (or in place of) chemical pesticides. Many follow the practice of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which goes as follows:
- Figure out what pests are causing the problem and assess whether immediate action is required.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of physical, biological, mechanical, and cultural controls.
- Employ chemical controls only when required, and always along with other methods for effective long-term pest management.
- Evaluate outcomes and continue with additional pest control as needed.