How To Choose a Pest Control Company
When hiring a pest control company, you want to find the best one to meet your needs. The qualifications of and treatment methods used by a company are important to consider, as well as its years of experience and reputation in customer reviews. Of course, you also want to think about cost.
Below, we dive into detail on 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) must be certified at the state level. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established minimum standards of competency, but any pesticide applicators working in Missouri should be licensed via the necessary state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
One certification that pest control companies can earn is the GreenPro Service Certification, which requires a company to show that its practices are environmentally friendly and that its employees receive up-to-date training. QualityPro and similar trade organizations also offer additional certifications. While not required, these can help show that a pest control company is reputable.
Pest control companies can also hold membership in various professional organizations. Being a member of organizations like the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or state-level organizations is not required, but helps show that a company is reputable. 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
You can look at a company's years in business to help determine how much experience it has dealing with pests in your area. You can also browse its website or peruse customer reviews to decide whether it has the right kind of experience handling the type of pests you are struggling with. If this information is not available online, contacting a representative directly is a good way to learn more.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can view a company's rating and reviews on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), read local review sites and social media to hear what other people are saying, or verify its license standing via the Missouri licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
For many people, cost is one of the most important factors when looking for pest control services. Cost can be determined by factors like the type of pest being treated, the size of your house, and your location.
You can look into whether a certain company offers free on-site estimates (to determine if it fits your budget), and what kind of guarantees are provided. Often, a company will guarantee that if its treatment doesn't resolve your pest problem, it will continue to come back until it does.
Safety and Treatment Methods
Keeping yourself, your family and your pets safe is an important concern when choosing a pest control provider. You may also prefer a provider that uses environmentally-friendly methods.
You want to ensure that you understand the precautions around pesticides being used in your house, for the sake of you, your family, and your pets. Your pest control technician should be able to supply information about all pesticides they plan 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 are now exploring cleaner and greener pest solutions that can be used before (or in place of) chemical pesticides. Many follow the practice of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which goes as follows:
- Identify the source of the pest problem and assess whether immediate action is required.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of biological, cultural, mechanical, and physical controls.
- Employ chemical controls only when absolutely necessary, and always in combination with other methods for effective long-term pest management.
- Observe the results and provide additional pest control as needed.
Common Household Pests in St Louis
Some specific pests are more common in St Louis, and these pests are the ones to keep watch for. Some of these include the following:
- Wasps: Wasps can be very difficult to get rid of, especially if you're trying to avoid being stung. They can often be found in places like attics, sheds, garages, and roof overhangs.
- Snakes: Snakes prefer dark, cool, and damp spots like basements and often enter a home looking for food. While most species of snakes are harmless, this is not a risk that you want your family or pets to take.
- Mice: Some telltale signs of mice include chewed wires and droppings around your home. Mice are commonly found in attics or in areas where food is stored.
- Bed bugs: Bed bugs can be found throughout Missouri and can cause big problems if left untreated. Because infestations of bed bugs are often difficult to get rid of, we recommend getting professional extermination as soon as you discover the problem. Bed bugs can infest bedsheets, furniture, wallpaper, and more.
- Spiders: You may find spiders in your basement, attic, or other dark, damp areas. While most spiders are harmless and pose no threat to humans, you don't want an infestation of them in your house.
St Louis Pest Control FAQ
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Pest infestations happen when pests come into your house looking for something, normally food, water, or shelter. Pests might seek out and eat food or trash that is sitting out. Some might also be drawn by standing water collecting outside (from rain collecting in a particular spot) or inside (from leaky pipes). Pests might also come into your house simply looking for shelter. They can get in through places such as foundation cracks or broken screens.
One way to prevent pest infestations is seal off possible entrances into your home. This includes things like cracks in your siding or foundation. Second, avoid leaving out food for pests. This includes keeping food in sealed containers and not leaving trash out. Lastly, reduce standing water in and around your home. Try to reduce places where water collects outside, and fix leaks inside.
It is typically 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.
Typically, pesticide application lasts around 30 to 90 days. The exact length of time varies based on which pests are being targeted, how many of them there are, what chemicals are used, and whether the chemicals are applied outside or inside. Rain can wash away chemicals applied outdoors, giving them a shorter lifespan than those applied indoors.