How To Choose a Pest Control Company
Hiring the best company for you is the most important step in the pest control process. Important decision-making factors include the company's qualifications, its treatment methods, experience and reviews, and of course the cost of services.
Below, we dive into detail on 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) must be certified at the state level. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets minimum standards of competency, but all pesticide applicators working in California must be licensed via the necessary state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
There are additional optional certifications that can help prove that a pest control company is reputable. One example is the GreenPro Service Certification. To earn this certification, a company must prove that its methods are more environmentally friendly and that its employee training is up to date. Other certifications can be obtained through trade organizations like QualityPro.
There are several professional organizations that a pest control company can belong to. Pest control companies can obtain membership in both state-level organizations and national organizations such as the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). While not mandatory, membership in these organizations helps prove a company's reputability and gives it access to resources, education, and a network of professionals with whom to compare best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
A company's years in business can indicate how much experience it has taking care of pests in your area. You can also browse its website or peruse customer reviews to determine whether it has adequate experience with the species of pests you are struggling with. If you cannot find this information online, getting in touch with a company representative is a great way to learn more.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can look at a company's rating and reviews on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), explore local review sites and social media to hear what others in your area have to say, or verify its license standing through the California licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
For many people, cost is one of the most important factors when hiring for pest control services. Cost can be affected by factors like your location, the size of your house, and the type of pest being treated.
You can consider whether a specific company offers free on-site estimates (to determine if it fits your budget), and what sort of guarantees it provides. Often, a company will guarantee that if its treatment doesn't resolve your pest problem, it will continue to come back until it does.
Safety and Treatment Methods
Your preferences regarding safety for yourself, any children or pets, and the environment may affect which provider and treatment methods you choose.
You can ask your pest control provider if they plan to use low toxicity or non-toxic pesticides, and 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 provide information about all pesticides that will be used in your home, in addition to how safe they are around people and pets.
Companies looking to reduce their reliance on chemical pesticides often follow practices such as Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Using IPM involves a series of steps:
- Identify problem pests and determine if immediate action is required.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of physical, cultural, biological, and mechanical controls.
- Employ chemical controls only if needed, and always with other solutions for effective long-term pest management.
- Observe the results and continue with additional pest control as needed.