How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The most important step in the pest control process is hiring the right company for you. You might consider a company's qualifications and treatment methods as well as its years of experience and customer reviews. 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?
Per the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), all pesticide applicators and those that supervise them must be licensed at the state level. The EPA maintains minimum competency standards, and the Washington regulatory agencies handle the granting, maintaining, and revoking of licenses.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Pest control companies can optionally obtain certifications from QualityPro or similar trade organizations. While not required, they can help you assess the quality of a company's products. For example, the GreenPro Service Certification indicates comprehensive and effective pest control treatment that is safer for people and the environment.
There are various professional organizations that a pest control company can be a member of. While not mandatory, membership in organizations like the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or state-level organizations help show a company's reputability. In the NPMA and other organizations, pest control companies have access to resources, education, and a network of professionals with whom to compare best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
You can get some insight into a company's level of pest management experience by seeing how long it has been in operation. The company's website and local reviews can also let you know whether a certain company has experience dealing with the specific species of pests invading your home. You can call the company directly to learn this information if it is not available online.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can look up a company's Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating, browse reviews on social media or local review sites, or check the standing of its license via the Washington licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Pest control costs can vary based on things like the type of pest being treated, your location, the size of your house, and other factors.
When thinking about the cost of services, you should first look into whether a company provides free on-site estimates as part of its process. This can help determine whether the company fits into your budget. Also consider a company's guarantees: If the problem is not fixed, or if it returns, will the company provide additional treatments until the problem is handled satisfactorily?
Safety and Treatment Methods
Your choice of pest control company might be affected by how environmentally friendly a provider's practices are, as well as how safe its methods are around your family and pets.
Your pest control provider should be able to discuss the safety of the pesticides they plan to use. They should be able to explain whether the pesticides are low toxicity or non-toxic, and if not what safety precautions will be used to protect you, your family, and your pets. All pesticides that pose more than a minimum risk need to be registered with the EPA.
Many companies are making the switch to using more natural treatment methods before, or in place of, harsh chemical pesticides. Some employ a program called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Identify problem pests and determine whether immediate action is needed.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Use a combination of biological, cultural, mechanical, and physical controls to manage the pest problem.
- Use chemical controls only when absolutely necessary, and always in combination with other solutions for effective long-term pest management.
- Observe the results and provide additional pest control as needed.