How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The first step is hiring the right pest control professional for the job. You might take into consideration a company's qualifications and treatment methods, in addition to its years of experience and customer reviews. And of course, there's the cost of services to consider.
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) need 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 Florida must be licensed via the necessary state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Pest control companies can also obtain optional certifications such as the GreenPro Service Certification. This certification is granted once a company has proven that its treatment methods are more environmentally friendly and demonstrated that it also holds itself up to certain other standards, such as up-to-date employee training. A pest control company can also earn other certifications from QualityPro or similar trade organizations to further support its practices and methods.
Pest control companies can also belong to certain professional organizations. A pest control company can join 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 education, resources, 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 finding out how long it has been in operation. Local reviews and the company's own website can also inform you whether a certain company has the experience needed to deal with the specific species of pests invading your home. You can always reach out to a representative directly to learn this information if it is not available online.
Reviews and Recommendations
Resources that can help you verify 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 Florida licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Things like the size of your house, your location, the type of pest being treated, and other factors can all influence the cost of pest control.
You can find out whether a company provides free on-site estimates (to determine if it fits in your budget) and what kind of guarantees it provides. Often, a company will guarantee that if it does not solve your pest problem, it will keep coming back until it does.
Safety and Treatment Methods
Your choice of pest control company might be influenced by how environmentally-friendly a provider's practices are, as well as how safe its methods are around your family and pets.
All pesticides (except those that pose only a minimum risk) must be registered with the EPA. Your pest control technician should be able to provide information on all the pesticides that they plan to use. They should inform you whether the pesticides are low toxicity or non-toxic, and if not, what safety precautions will be taken.
Many companies are now trialing options for more environmentally friendly methods of pest control before employing harsh pesticides.
One popular method for making pest control safer and greener is Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Figure out what pests are causing the problem and determine if immediate action is needed.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of mechanical, physical, biological, and cultural controls.
- Employ chemical controls only if needed, and always with other techniques for effective long-term pest management.
- Observe the results and provide additional pest control as needed.
Common Household Pests in Miami
Some pests are more common than others. In Miami, common pests to be watchful for include the following:
- Ants: Ants can be found in basically all of Florida. Large carpenter ants can be even more of a problem than regular soil ants, because they can cause structural damage to your house.
- Termites: If termites get out of hand, the result could be hundreds or thousands of dollars in damage. Often, termites enter your home via nearby piles of rotting wood, firewood, or mulch.
- Bed bugs: Bed bugs are found throughout Florida, and they can cause major problems if left untreated. Because infestations of bed bugs are tricky to get rid of, we recommend having professional extermination as soon as you discover the problem. Bed bugs can infest wallpaper, furniture, bedsheets, and more.
- Spiders: These pests prefer damp and dark places and are often found in attics.
Miami 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 enter your home simply because they have the opportunity to do so, via a foundation crack or broken screen. Some are attracted to food, either actual food sitting out or trash left out in the open. Others are searching for water, either standing water on your property or puddles inside from things like leaky pipes.
One method for preventing pest infestations is to seal off possible entrances into your house. These include things like cracks in your siding or foundation. Also try to avoid leaving food out for pests. This means keeping food in sealed containers and not leaving trash out. Third, get rid of standing water in and around your house. Find ways to reduce places where water can collect outside, and repair leaks inside.
Generally it's recommended that you hire a pest control technician about once annually. If you have an active infestation, you will need pest control to come out more frequently. Ultimately, your pest professional will be the person best-equipped to recommend a treatment schedule for you.
Your pest control technician will tell you how far pets need to be kept away from treated areas, and for how long after treatment. Some pesticides are low toxicity or non-toxic, but in the vast majority of cases you'll be asked to keep pets out of the area during and for some time after treatment.
We strongly suggest that you ask your pest professional if they need you to clean around your house. This can help ensure they can find, identify, and treat all pests present. However, some providers may want to see your house as-is.
If you are asked to clean, focus on getting paper goods and trash out of affected areas, as some pests like to hide in these items. Also be sure to store any food away so that it does not become contaminated with pesticides. You may want to also remove any plants in the area to avoid chemical contamination. Finally, if needed, block off anticipated treatment areas so that children and pets stay away until it is safe. If you require a more intensive process like fumigation, be sure to closely follow your pest professional's instructions.