How To Choose a Pest Control Company
When selecting a pest control company, there are several factors you can consider to be sure that you're choosing the right one for you. 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 explore the details of each of these factors.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets minimum standards of competency for pesticide applicators, but licensing is overseen at the state level. All pesticide applicators and their supervisors in Maryland need to 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 given once a company has shown its methods to be more environmentally friendly and demonstrated that it also holds itself up to certain other standards, such as up-to-date training for employees. A pest control company can also earn other certifications from QualityPro or similar trade organizations to further back up its methods and practices.
Pest control companies can also become members of professional organizations. Pest control companies can join state-level organizations as well as 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
In general, a company will list information like its years of experience and specialities on its website. Online reviews can also help you figure out if a company has experience dealing with a specific pest. If you're unable to locate the information you need online, you can reach out to the company directly to get your questions answered.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can browse reviews and recommendations on local review sites or social media, verify a company's Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating, or check its licensure status through the Maryland licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Cost is often a deciding factor when picking a pest control company. Cost may be determined by your location, the size of your house, the type of pest being treated, and other factors.
Certain pest control companies offer a free on-site estimate to help you figure out if it fits into your budget. You can also check to see if it offers a satisfaction guarantee.
Safety and Treatment Methods
Safety is an important consideration when deciding on a pest control provider. You might also prefer a provider who uses more natural, environmentally-friendly methods.
Ask your pest control technician if they plan to use low toxicity or non-toxic pesticides, and if not, what precautionary measures they will have in place. All pesticides that are not considered minimum-risk chemicals need to be registered with the EPA. Your pest technician should be able to supply you with information about all of the pesticides that they plan to use.
Many companies have started making the switch to using more natural treatment methods before (or in place of) harsh chemical pesticides. Some employ a program called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Identify problem pests and assess whether immediate action is needed.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of biological, cultural, mechanical, and physical controls.
- Use chemical controls only when absolutely necessary, and always in combination with other controls for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and continue with additional pest control as needed.