How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The most important step is hiring the best pest control professional for the job. Things you may consider include qualifications and licensing, treatment methods, years of experience, customer reviews, and cost.
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 their supervisors must be certified at the state level. The EPA does set minimum standards of competency, but all California pesticide applicators need to be licensed through the proper state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Obtaining additional optional certifications can help show that a pest control company is reputable. One of these is the GreenPro Service Certification. For this certification, a company must prove that its methods are more environmentally friendly and that its employees receive up-to-date training. Other various certifications can be earned through trade organizations like QualityPro.
Pest control companies can also hold membership in various professional organizations. While not mandatory, membership in organizations like the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or state-level organizations help to prove a company's reputability. In the NPMA and other organizations, pest control companies have access to education, resources, and a network of professionals with whom to discuss best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
You can get some insight into a company's experience level 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 the experience needed to deal with the specific species of pests invading your home. You can always contact the company directly to learn this information if you can't find it online.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can read reviews and recommendations on local review sites or social media, verify a company's rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), or check the status of its license through the California licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Things like the size of your house, the type of pest being treated, your location, and other factors can all affect the price of pest control.
You can learn whether a company provides free on-site estimates (to determine if it fits in your budget) and what sort of guarantees it provides. Often, a company will provide a guarantee that if it does not resolve your pest problem, it will keep coming back until it does.
Safety and Treatment Methods
Your preferences regarding safety for yourself, your children, your pets, and the environment may influence which provider and treatment methods you choose.
Ask your pest control provider if the chemicals they're using are low toxicity or non-toxic, and if not, what precautionary measures they will have in place. All pesticides that are not considered minimum-risk chemicals must be registered with the EPA. Your pest control provider should be able to provide information about all of the pesticides they plan to use.
You can ask if your technician will begin with more natural and lower-toxicity options before using 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 determine whether immediate action is needed.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Use a combination of biological, cultural, physical, and mechanical controls to manage the pest problem.
- Employ chemical controls only when required, and always along with other solutions for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and provide additional pest control as needed.
Common Household Pests in San Francisco
Certain pests are seen more commonly in San Francisco, and these are the ones you should keep an eye out for. Some of these include the following:
- Moths: If you're finding holes in your clothing or linens, there's a chance that you have moths in your home. Moths are often found in dark places like closets, and are more commonly found in warmer places.
- Bed bugs: Infestations of bed bugs are often very hard to get rid of, so we recommend hiring an exterminator as soon as possible. Bed bugs can be found throughout California, and can infest not just your bedsheets, but also other furniture and even your wallpaper.
- Spiders: These pests prefer dark and moist places and are commonly found in attics.
San Francisco Pest Control FAQ
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Pests make their way into your home looking for one of three things: food, water, or shelter. Some pests will opportunistically enter your home through a broken screen or foundation crack. Some are drawn by food, either actual food left out or trash sitting out in the open. Others are searching for water, whether it be standing water on your property or puddles inside from things like leaky pipes.
One method for preventing pest infestations is to seal off potential entrances into your home. These include things like cracks in your foundation or siding. Next, try to avoid leaving food out for pests. This means keeping food in sealed containers as well as not leaving trash out. Third, reduce standing water in and around your home. Find ways to reduce places where water collects outside, and repair leaks inside.
Any time you see signs of pests in your San Francisco home--such as nests, droppings, signs of damage, or the pests themselves--you should call your local pest professional. If you've had recurrent or seasonal pest infestations, we suggest contacting a local pest control company to set up annual pest management services.
If pests get into your home, you might find yourself spending a large amount of time and money eliminating of them, as well as potentially recovering from illness or damages they caused. Preventive pest control can help stop things like this from happening in the first place.
We recommend asking your pest control technician this question while they are at your house, as the answer will vary depending on what treatments are done. After pesticide application, you might notice a lingering smell that will eventually dissipate over time.
In most cases, vacuuming, dusting, and wiping down certain surfaces are all appropriate after pest control. However, you'll want to avoid wiping away chemical barriers, and avoid touching any traps unless you are explicitly told to do so. After pest control, continue to keep your home clean. Don't let trash pile up, take care of spills and leaks promptly, and so on. This helps keep pests from coming back.