How To Choose a Pest Control Company
Hiring the best company for you is the most important step in the pest control process. A company's qualifications and treatment methods are important to consider, as well as its years of experience and customer reviews. Of course, you will also want to consider cost.
Below, we explore the details of each of these factors.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
All pesticide applicators (and those who supervise them) are required to be certified at the state level. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets minimum standards of competency, but all pesticide applicators working in the state of California should be licensed via the necessary state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Pest control companies have the option to obtain certifications from QualityPro or similar trade organizations. While not required, they can help you evaluate the quality of a company's products. For example, the GreenPro Service Certification is given to companies that use comprehensive and effective pest control treatment that is safer for people and the environment.
Pest control companies can also join certain professional organizations. Pest control companies can join state-level organizations in addition to 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 other professionals with whom to compare best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
In general, a company provides information like its years of experience and specialities on its website. Online reviews can also help you determine if a company has experience dealing with a particular pest in your area. If you can't get the information you need online, you can speak with a company representative directly to get the answers to your questions.
Reviews and Recommendations
Resources you can use to check a company's reputation include local review sites, social media, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB). You can also confirm the status of a company's license through the California licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
For many people, cost is one of the main deciding factors when picking a company for pest control services. Cost can be affected by factors like the type of pest being treated, the size of your house, and your location.
You can look into whether a specific company offers free on-site estimates (to determine if it fits in your budget), and what kind of guarantees are provided. Often, a company will guarantee that if your pest problem isn't fixed by its treatment, it will continue to treat until it is.
Safety and Treatment Methods
Safety is an important consideration when choosing a pest control provider, and you might prefer a provider who uses more natural, environmentally-friendly methods.
Ask your pest control technician if the chemicals they're using are low toxicity or non-toxic, and if not, what sort of precautionary measures they are going to use. Any pesticides that are not minimum-risk chemicals need to be registered with the EPA. Your pest technician will be able to supply you with information about all pesticides that they are going to use.
Many companies are using options for more environmentally friendly pest control techniques before employing harsh pesticides.
One common method for making pest control safer and greener is Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Identify problem pests and determine if immediate action is required.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Use a combination of biological, cultural, physical, and mechanical controls to manage the pest problem.
- Use chemical controls only if needed, and always in combination with other methods for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and implement additional pest control as needed.
Common Household Pests in Oakland
Not all pests are equally pervasive in Oakland. Some species that you should be wary of are these:
- Ants: Whether larger carpenter ants or smaller soils ants, these bugs are found in most parts of California. Carpenter ants can pose a more urgent issue than their smaller counterparts because they can do damage to your home.
- Fleas: These pests typically prefer warmer weather (which can make them a real nuisance in Oakland) and often get into your home by hiding in the fur of pets.
- Beetles: In Oakland and across the U.S., there are a variety of beetle species that could cause problems. While many beetles are harmless, others can cause damage to your home by eating wood, carpeting, and more.
- Bed bugs: Bed bugs are found throughout California and can cause big problems if left untreated. Because bed bug infestations can be difficult to get rid of, we recommend having professional extermination as soon as you discover the problem. Bed bugs can infest furniture, bedsheets, wallpaper, and more.
- Mice: If you have a mouse infestation, you might notice droppings around your house, or things like chewed wires. You can often find mice in places where food is stored, or in attics.
Oakland Pest Control FAQ
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Pest infestations occur when pests come into your home looking for something, generally food, water, or shelter. Pests may come looking for food or trash that is sitting out. Some could also be drawn to standing water outside (from rain collecting in one spot) or inside (from leaky pipes). Pests may also enter your home looking for shelter and get in through weak spots like broken screens or foundation cracks.
One thing you can do to prevent pest infestations is seal off potential entrances into your house. These include things like cracks in your foundation or siding. Second, avoid leaving food out for pests. This includes keeping food in sealed containers as well as not leaving trash out. Finally, eliminate standing water in and around your house. Find ways to reduce places where water collects outside, and repair leaks inside.
You should consider hiring an exterminator any time you identify signs of pests in your Oakland home. These signs can include droppings, nests, damage caused by pests, or even the pests themselves. If your home has recurrent or seasonal pest infestations, we recommend setting up yearly preventive pest management.
Before your pest control technician arrives, check and see if they want you to clean around your home, including in areas where there have been signs of pests. Some pest professionals may prefer to see your home as-is.
If you are asked to clean, make sure all trash and paper goods are out of the affected areas (as pests can hide in these items), and that you store food securely so that it does not become contaminated with pesticides. It's also a good idea to remove plants from the area. Additionally, block off areas to be treated so that children and pets stay out until it is safe. If the problem requires more intensive pest control, such as fumigation, follow your pest professional's instructions closely.