How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The most important step in the pest control process is hiring the right company for you. Things you might consider include licensing and qualifications, treatment methods, years of experience, customer reviews, and cost.
Below, we discuss each of these factors in more detail.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
While the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established minimum competency standards for pesticide applicators, licensure is handled at the state level. All pesticide applicators (and those who supervise them) in California should be licensed by all 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 a company to show that its practices are more environmentally friendly and that its employees receive up-to-date training. Trade organizations such as QualityPro offer other certifications. While not required, these can help demonstrate that a pest control company is reputable.
Pest control companies can also belong to professional organizations. Membership in organizations like the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or state-level organizations is not required, but helps verify a company's reputability. The NPMA gives companies access to education, resources, and a network of pest professionals with whom to discuss methods and practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
You can look at a company's years in business to help determine how much experience it has dealing with various pests. You can also browse its website or read customer reviews to figure out whether it has experience eliminating the type of pests you are struggling with. If this information can't be found online, contacting a representative directly is a great way to learn more.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can look up a company's rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), explore reviews on social media or local review sites, or check the standing of its license via the California licensing board.
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 size of your house, your location, the type of pest being treated, and other factors.
Many companies offer free on-site estimates before starting work, to help you decide whether it fits into your budget. You can also ask whether if your company has a satisfaction guarantee, meaning that it will continue to treat your pest problem until it is solved.
Safety and Treatment Methods
When it comes to picking a pest control provider, you want to choose a company that will help keep you, your family, and your pets safe. You'll likely also prefer a provider that is environmentally-conscious.
Your pest technician should use low toxicity or non-toxic pesticides whenever possible. If any pesticides they intend to use don't fit into one of these categories, your technician should explain what safety precautions they will put in place to protect your family, your pets, and you. All pesticides that pose more than a minimum risk are required to be registered with the EPA.
Many companies have started making the switch to using more natural treatment methods before, or in place of, harsh chemical pesticides. Some follow a program called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Figure out what pests are causing the problem and determine if immediate action is required.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Use a combination of mechanical, physical, biological, and cultural controls to manage the pest problem.
- Employ chemical controls only if needed, and always with other techniques for effective long-term pest management.
- Evaluate outcomes and implement additional pest control as needed.