How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The most important step is selecting the best pest control professional for the job. Important factors include the company's qualifications, its treatment methods, experience and reviews, and of course the cost of services.
Below, we discuss each of these factors in more detail.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established minimum standards of competency for pesticide applicators, but licensure is taken care of at the state level. All pesticide applicators and their supervisors in Wisconsin 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 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. These are not required, but can help demonstrate that a company is reputable.
A pest control company can also be a member of various professional organizations. Joining an organization such as the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or a state-level organization grants a pest control company access to resources and education, plus a professional network to compare best practices with. Joining organizations like these is not required, but it can help show that a company follows industry best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
You can look at a company's years in business to help determine how much experience it has taking care of pests in your area. You can also look at its website or read customer reviews to figure out whether it has experience eliminating the species of pests you are struggling with. If this information is not available online, contacting a representative directly is a good way to learn more.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can check a company's reputation using social media or local review sites as well as the Better Business Bureau (BBB). You can also check with Wisconsin's licensing board to verify the status of a company's license.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Cost is probably high on your list of priorities when hiring a pest control company. Cost can be affected influenced by the type of pest being treated, the size of your house, your location, and other factors.
Often, companies will offer free on-site estimates as part of their process, to help you decide whether it fits into your budget. You can also ask whether a company offers a satisfaction guarantees, meaning that if your pest problem is not solved by the initial treatment, it will continue returning until it is.
Safety and Treatment Methods
Safety is an important consideration when selecting a pest control provider, and you might prefer a provider who uses more natural, environmentally-friendly methods.
You can ask your pest control technician if they are going to use low toxicity or non-toxic pesticides--if not, ask about what precautionary measures will be in place. Any pesticide that poses greater than minimum risk needs to be registered with the EPA. Your pest technician should be able to provide information about all pesticides to be used, as well as how safe they are around people and pets.
Many companies are using options for more environmentally friendly methods of pest control before moving to harsh pesticides.
One common way of making pest control safer and greener is Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Identify the source of the pest problem and determine whether immediate action is required.
- 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 with other controls for effective long-term pest management.
- Observe the results and implement additional pest control as needed.