How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The most important step is hiring the right pest control company for the job. In addition to a company's qualifications and treatment methods, you may also consider how long it has been in business and what the reviews look like. Finally, 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 licensing is overseen at the state level. All pesticide applicators and their supervisors in Minnesota need to be licensed through the proper state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Pest control companies have the option to obtain certifications from QualityPro or similar trade organizations. While not required, they can help you assess the quality of a company's products. For example, the GreenPro Service Certification indicates comprehensive and effective pest control treatment that is safer for humans and the environment.
Pest control companies can also hold membership in various professional organizations. A pest control company 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 resources, education, and a network of professionals with whom to compare best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
Looking at a company's website can tell you how long it has been in operation and what species of pests it specializes in eliminating. Online reviews can also offer some insight into a company's experience dealing with a specific pest. If you're unable to find this information online, you can try contacting the company directly.
Reviews and Recommendations
Resources that can help you verify a company's reputation include the Better Business Bureau (BBB), social media, and local review sites. You can also verify the status of a company's license through the Minnesota licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Things like the type of pest being treated, your location, the size of your house, and other factors can all affect the price of pest control.
You can look into whether a company offers free on-site estimates (to determine if it fits in your budget), as well as what kind of guarantees it provides. Often, a company will guarantee that if it does not resolve your pest problem, it will continue treatment until it does.
Safety and Treatment Methods
When it comes to choosing a pest control provider, you want to choose a company that will help keep you, your family, and your pets safe. You'll likely also prefer a provider that is environmentally-conscious.
You want to ensure that you 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 the pesticides they intend to use, whether they are low toxicity or non-toxic, and (if not) what safety measures they have in place. All pesticides (except minimum-risk ones) should be registered with the EPA.
Many companies will begin with more environmentally friendly options before employing harsh pesticides, using a framework called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). When using IPM, the following steps are taken:
- Figure out what pests are causing the problem and determine if immediate action is required.
- Determine the best and 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 along with other controls for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and provide additional pest control as needed.
Common Household Pests in St Paul
Certain pests are more common than others. In St Paul, common pests to be watchful for include the following:
- Flies: Flies can be a nuisance in your St Paul home year-round, but they are especially common during the warmer months. You may spot flies around sinks or in areas where food is kept.
- Bed bugs: Bed bug infestations can be very difficult to get rid of, so we recommend calling a local exterminator as soon as possible. Bed bugs can be found throughout Minnesota, and can infest not only your bedsheets, but also other furniture and even wallpaper.
- Spiders: These pests prefer dark and damp places and are often found in basements or attics.
- Mice: If there are mice in your home, you may start noticing droppings around your house, or things like chewed wires. If your home has mice, they may be found in places where food is kept, or in attics.
St Paul 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, through a foundation crack or broken screen. Some are drawn by food, either actual food sitting out or trash left out in the open. Others look for water, whether it be standing water outside or puddles inside from leaky pipes.
There are certain things you can do to help prevent pest infestations. First, avoid leaving food out. Make sure food is stored in sealed containers, and avoid leaving trash sitting around.
Next, try not to have standing water in or around your house. Repair leaks inside and eliminate places where standing water collects outside. Lastly, seal off any potential pest entrances into your house, including foundation and siding cracks.
It is generally recommended that you hire a pest control technician about once a year. If your home has an active infestation, you will need pest control to come out more often. Ultimately, your pest professional is the person best-equipped to recommend a treatment schedule for you.
It's recommended that you ask your pest technician if they want 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 contamination with chemicals. 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, make sure you closely follow your pest professional's instructions.