How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The most important step in the pest control process is hiring the right company for you. In addition to a company's qualifications and treatment methods, you might also consider how long it has been in business and what the reviews look like. Last but not least, you'll likely want to consider the cost of services.
Below, we discuss each of these factors in more detail.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets minimum competency standards for pesticide applicators, but licensure is overseen at the state level. All pesticide applicators and supervisors in Florida must be licensed through the proper state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Pest control companies can also obtain optional certifications like the GreenPro Service Certification. This certification is granted once a company has shown its methods to be more environmentally friendly and demonstrated that it also maintains certain other standards, such as up-to-date employee training. A company can also earn other certifications from QualityPro or similar trade organizations to further back up its practices and methods.
Pest control companies can also be members of certain professional organizations. Being a member of organizations like the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or state-level organizations is not mandatory, but helps show that a company is reputable. Membership in the NPMA gives companies access to education, resources, and a network of other professionals with whom to discuss practices and methods.
Professional Experience and Specialties
A company's years in business can indicate how much experience it has taking care of various pests. You can also explore its website or read customer reviews to decide whether it has the right kind of experience handling the type of pests you are dealing with. If you cannot find this information online, getting in touch with a company representative is a good way to learn more.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can check a company's rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), browse reviews on social media or local review sites, or check the standing of its license via the Florida licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
For many people, cost is one of the most important factors when hiring for pest control services. Cost can be influenced by factors like the type of pest being treated, your location, and the size of your house.
You can think about whether a specific company offers free on-site estimates (to determine if it fits in your budget), and what sort 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
Your choice of pest control company might be influenced by how environmentally-friendly a company's practices are, as well as how safe its methods are around your family and pets.
Your pest technician should use pesticides that are low toxicity or non-toxic when possible. If any pesticides used don't fall into one of these categories, your technician should explain what safety precautions they plan to use to protect you, your family, and your pets. All pesticides that pose more than a minimum risk need to be registered with the EPA.
Many companies have started making the switch to using more natural treatment methods before, or in place of, harsh chemical pesticides. Some utilize a program called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Identify the source of the pest problem and assess whether immediate action is needed.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of biological, cultural, physical, and mechanical controls.
- Employ chemical controls only when required, and always in combination with other techniques for effective long-term pest management.
- Evaluate outcomes and continue with additional pest control as needed.
Common Household Pests in Tampa
Some pests are more common than others. In Tampa, common pests to be wary of include the following:
- Fleas: These pests tend to prefer warmer weather (which can make them a real nuisance in Tampa) and often get into your home by hiding in the fur of pets.
- Flies: Flies can be a year-round nuisance in your Tampa home, but they are especially common in warmer weather. You might find flies around sinks or in areas where you keep food.
- Mosquitoes: Mosquito infestations are more common if your home is in a wetter area (like Tampa). They're also more common during the warmer months. Mosquitoes can be more than just annoying--they can cause itchy bites and even spread diseases.
- Mice: Some telltale signs of mice include chewed wires and droppings around your home. Mice are often found in attics or in places where food is stored.
- Bed bugs: Bed bug infestations can be very hard to quash, so we strongly recommend calling a local exterminator as soon as possible. Bed bugs can be found throughout Florida, and can infest not just your bedsheets, but also other furniture and even wallpaper.
- Spiders: You may find spiders in your attic or other dark, damp places. Even though most species of spider are harmless to humans, you don't want an infestation of them in your home.
Tampa Pest Control FAQ
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Pest infestations occur when pests enter your house looking for something, typically food, water, or shelter. Pests might come looking for food or trash that is left out. Some may also be drawn to standing water outside (from rain collecting in one area) or inside (from leaky pipes). They might also enter your home looking for shelter. They can get in through weak spots like broken screens or foundation cracks.
One way to prevent pest infestations is seal off possible entrances into your home. These include things like cracks in your foundation or siding. Also try to avoid leaving out food for pests. This means keeping food in sealed containers as well as not leaving trash out. Lastly, reduce standing water in and around your home. Work to reduce places where water collects outside, and fix leaks inside.
You should consider hiring a pest control professional any time you see signs of pest activity in your Tampa home. This could include droppings, nests, damage caused by pests, or even the pests themselves. If your home has seasonal or recurrent pest infestations, we recommend yearly preventive pest management.
How soon you notice results from pest control will depend on the problem and treatment. If your pest technician takes measures like removing a wasp nest, you can see the results almost immediately. For most pest control, however, you will likely need to wait anywhere from one to two days to up to six weeks to see substantial results. Some pests may require your technician to make multiple visits to your house.