How To Choose a Pest Control Company
Hiring the right company for you is the most important step in the pest control process. A company's qualifications and treatment methods are important to consider, as are its years of experience and reputation in customer reviews. Of course, you will also want to consider cost.
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 that supervise them) need to be certified at the state level. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets minimum standards of competency, but any pesticide applicators working in Minnesota should be licensed via the necessary state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Pest control companies can obtain optional certifications from QualityPro or similar trade organizations. These certifications can help you assess the quality of a company's products. For example, the GreenPro Service Certification recognizes comprehensive and effective pest control treatment that is safer for people and the environment.
Pest control companies can also join various professional organizations. Holding membership in organizations like the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or state-level organizations is not mandatory, but helps confirm that a company follows industry best practices. Membership in the NPMA gives companies access to resources, education, and a network of pest professionals with whom to discuss practices and methods.
Professional Experience and Specialties
Looking at a company's website can tell you how many years it has been in business and what species of pests it specializes in exterminating. Online reviews can also offer some insight into a company's experience dealing with a specific pest. If this information isn't available online, you can try calling the company directly.
Reviews and Recommendations
Resources that can help you verify a company's reputation include the Better Business Bureau (BBB), local review sites, and social media. You can also verify the status of a company's license via the Minnesota licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
The cost of pest control can vary based on things like the size of your house, your location, the type of pest being treated, and other factors.
When considering the cost of services, you should try to determine whether a company offers free on-site estimates as part of its services. This can help determine whether the company fits into your budget. Also consider what guarantees a company offers: If the problem is not resolved, or returns, will the company provide additional treatment until the issue is resolved satisfactorily?
Safety and Treatment Methods
When picking a pest control provider, you want to choose one that will help keep you, your family, and your pets safe. You might also prefer an environmentally-conscious provider.
It's important to understand the precautions for the pesticides being used in your house, for the sake of your family, your pets, and yourself. Your pest control technician should supply information about all pesticides they plan on using, whether they are low toxicity or non-toxic, and (if not) what safety measures will be used. All pesticides (except minimum-risk ones) must be registered with the EPA.
Nowadays, many companies are exploring greener and cleaner pest management that can be implemented before (or instead of) chemical pesticides. Many are following the practice of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which goes as follows:
- Figure out what pests are causing the problem and determine whether immediate action is required.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Use a combination of physical, cultural, biological, and mechanical controls to manage the pest problem.
- Employ chemical controls only when required, and always with other controls for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and continue with additional pest control as needed.