How To Choose a Pest Control Company
Hiring the right company for you is the most important step in the pest control process. Important decision-making factors can 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?
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), all pesticide applicators and those that supervise them need to be licensed at the state level. The EPA maintains minimum competency standards, and the District of Columbia regulatory agencies take care of the issuing, maintaining, and revoking of licenses.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Pest control companies can optionally obtain certifications from trade organizations like QualityPro. While not required, they can help you evaluate the quality of a company's products. For example, the GreenPro Service Certification indicates comprehensive and effective pest control methods that are safer for people and the environment.
Pest control companies can also join certain professional organizations. Pest control companies can join state-level organizations as well as national organizations such as the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). By being a member of these optional organizations, a company helps support its reputability and gains access to education, resources, and a network of professionals to compare best practices with.
Professional Experience and Specialties
Looking at how long a company has been in business can help determine how much experience it has dealing with pests in your area. You can also browse its website or read customer reviews to decide whether it has the right kind of experience handling the type of pests you are looking to get rid of. If this information is not available online, speaking with a company representative is a great way to learn more.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can browse reviews and recommendations on local review sites or social media, view a company's rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), or check the status of its license through the District of Columbia licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Cost is probably high on your list of priorities 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.
Many companies 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 provider offers a satisfaction guarantee, meaning that it will continue to treat your pest problem until it is solved.
Safety and Treatment Methods
Your choice of pest control company might be affected by how environmentally-friendly a provider's practices are, as well as how safe its methods are around your family and pets.
It's important to understand the precautions around pesticides being used around your house, for the sake of your family, your pets, and yourself. Your pest control technician should supply information about the pesticides they plan on using, whether they are low toxicity or non-toxic, and (if not) what safety measures will be in place. All pesticides (except minimum-risk ones) must be registered with the EPA.
It is now common for companies to begin with more environmentally friendly options before using pesticides, using a framework called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). When using IPM, the following steps are taken:
- Identify problem pests and determine whether immediate action is required.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of physical, cultural, biological, and mechanical controls.
- Use chemical controls only if needed, and always in combination with other solutions for effective long-term pest management.
- Evaluate outcomes and provide additional pest control as needed.
Common Household Pests in Washington
Certain pests are seen more commonly in Washington, and these are the ones you should keep watch for. Some of these include the following:
- Termites: Termites frequently get into your home from nearby piles of mulch, rotting wood, or firewood. If left uncontrolled, they can cause significant damage and cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars in repairs.
- Flies: Flies can be a nuisance in your Washington home year-round, but they tend to be more common during the warmer months. Flies might be found around sinks or in areas where food is kept.
- Cockroaches: You can find cockroaches throughout District of Columbia, though they prefer wetter areas. Cockroaches might enter your home through small cracks, and they can bring in diseases like salmonella.
- Mice: If there are mice in your home, you may notice droppings or things like chewed wires. If your home has mice, they may be found in places where food is kept, or in attics.
- Spiders: These pests prefer damp and dark places and are often found in attics.
Washington Pest Control FAQ
To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at email@example.com.
Pests come into your home looking for one of three things: food, water, or shelter. Some pests will enter your home simply because they have the opportunity to do so, 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 look for water, either standing water on your property or puddles inside from things like leaky pipes.
One way to prevent pest infestations is seal off possible entrances into your house. This includes things like cracks in your foundation or siding. Also try to avoid leaving out food for pests. This includes keeping food in sealed containers as well as not leaving trash out. Third, reduce standing water in and around your house. Try to reduce places where water collects outside, and repair leaks inside.
You should consider hiring an exterminator any time you notice signs of pests in your Washington home. These signs can include nests, droppings, damage, or even the pests themselves. If you get recurrent or seasonal pest infestations, we recommend setting up annual preventive pest management.
Your pest control professional will tell you how far your pets need to be kept away from treated areas, and for how long. Some pesticides are low toxicity or non-toxic, but generally you'll be asked to keep pets away from the area during and for some time after treatment.