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 customer reviews and years of experience. Of course, there is also the cost of services to consider.
Below, we dive into detail on each of these factors.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), all pesticide applicators and those that supervise them are required to be certified at the state level. The EPA does set minimum standards of competency, but all pesticide applicators in California must be licensed through the proper state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
One optional certification that could be worth looking for is the GreenPro Service Certification. To earn this certification, a pest control company needs to both show that its practices are more environmentally friendly and uphold certain training standards for its technicians. Companies can also obtain other certifications from trade organizations like QualityPro to further back up their work.
A pest control company can also hold membership in professional organizations. Pest control companies can join both state-level organizations and national organizations like the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). By being a member of these optional organizations, a company helps support its reputability and gains access to resources, education, and a network of other professionals with whom to compare best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
You can gain some insight into a company's level of pest management experience by seeing how many years it has been in business. Local reviews and the company's own website can also tell you whether a certain company has experience dealing with the specific species of pests that are afflicting your home. You can call the company directly to learn this information if it is not available online.
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 California's licensing board to verify the status of a company's license.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Cost is important when hiring someone for pest control. Cost can be affected influenced by your location, the size of your house, the type of pest being treated, 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
Your choice of pest control company might be influenced by how environmentally-friendly a company's practices are, in addition to how safe its methods are around your family and pets.
Your pest control technician should be able to discuss the safety of any pesticides that will be used in your home. They should be able to explain whether the pesticides are low toxicity or non-toxic, and if not what safety precautions they plan to use to protect your family, your pets, and you. Any pesticides that pose greater than a minimum risk must be registered with the EPA.
You can ask if your technician will start with more natural and lower-toxicity options before moving on to harsher chemicals.
Many companies are using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to eliminate pests while reducing personal and environmental risks. The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Figure out what pests are causing the problem and assess whether immediate action is needed.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of biological, cultural, physical, and mechanical controls.
- Use chemical controls only when absolutely necessary, and always in combination with other techniques for effective long-term pest management.
- Observe the results and provide additional pest control as needed.
Common Household Pests in Los Angeles
In Los Angeles, there are some pests that are more common than others. This list includes the following:
- Bees: Your local pest expert can help eliminate bee infestations around your house (some even are able to safely relocate hives). You may be particularly keen to have bees' nests removed if someone in your household is allergic.
- Snakes: Snakes often enter houses in search of food, and once inside they tend to prefer damp, dark, and cool places. While the majority of snakes are harmless, most people don't want their family, their pets, or themselves to take that risk.
- Spiders: You may find spiders in your attic or other damp, dark areas. While most spiders are harmless and pose no threat to humans, you don't want a spider infestation in your house.
- Bed bugs: Bed bugs may be found throughout California and can lead to big problems if left untreated. Because infestations of bed bugs are often tricky to get rid of, we recommend having professional extermination as soon as you discover the problem. Bed bugs can infest bedsheets, furniture, wallpaper, and more.
Los Angeles Pest Control FAQ
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Pest infestations occur when pests enter your home looking for something, usually food, water, or shelter. Pests may be looking to eat food or trash that is sitting out. Some may also be drawn by standing water collecting outside (from rain collecting in a particular spot) or inside (from leaky pipes). They may also enter your house simply looking for shelter and get in through places such as foundation cracks or broken screens.
One method for preventing pest infestations is to seal off potential entrances into your house. This includes things like cracks in your siding or foundation. Also try to avoid leaving food out for pests. This includes keeping food in sealed containers and not leaving trash out. Lastly, reduce standing water in and around your house. Find ways to reduce places where water can collect outside, and repair leaks inside.
You should consider hiring a pest control professional any time you identify signs of pests in your Los Angeles home. These signs can include droppings, nests, damage caused by pests, or even the pests themselves. If your home has seasonal or recurrent pest infestations, we recommend annual preventive pest management.
Preventive pest control is important because it can help stop pest problems before they begin. Your local pest control technician will be familiar with the pests in your part of Los Angeles, including how they make their way into your home and the times of the year during which they are most active.Your technician can recommend changes and implement barriers to keep pests out of your home, helping you save time and money that would otherwise be spent on future pest control visits--and on the damage and illness caused by pests.
Make sure to ask your pest professional if they want you to clean around your home. This can help ensure they can find, identify, and treat all pests present. However, some providers may want to see your home as-is.
If you are asked to clean, make sure paper goods and trash are cleared out of affected areas, as some pests like to hide in these items. Also be sure to put all food away so that it does not get contaminated by pesticides. Remove any plants in the area to avoid chemical contamination. Lastly, if needed, block off areas that you anticipate will be treated so that children and pets do not enter until it is safe. If a more intensive process like fumigation is required, make sure you closely follow your pest professional's instructions.