How To Choose a Pest Control Company
There are a number of factors that you can consider when choosing the right pest control company for you. Important factors can include a company's qualifications, its treatment methods, experience and reviews, and of course the cost of services.
Below, we dive into detail on each of these factors.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set minimum standards of competency for pesticide applicators, but licensure is overseen at the state level. All pesticide applicators and their supervisors in North Carolina must be licensed through the proper 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 become members of professional organizations. Being a member of organizations such as the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or state-level organizations is not mandatory, but helps confirm that a company follows industry best practices. When a pest control company joins the NPMA, it gains access to education, resources, and a network of pest professionals with whom to discuss practices and methods.
Professional Experience and Specialties
You can gain some insight into a company's experience level by seeing how many years it has been in business. The company's website and local reviews can also clue you in as to whether a certain company has experience dealing with the specific species of pests invading your home. You can contact a representative directly to learn this information if you can't find it online.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can view a company's Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating, look for reviews on local review sites or social media, or check the standing of its license via the North Carolina licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
For many people, cost is one of the main deciding factors when hiring for pest control services. Cost can be influenced by factors like your location, the type of pest being treated, and the size of your house.
You can think about 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
Your preferences regarding safety for yourself, any children or pets, and the environment might affect the provider and the treatment methods you choose.
Your pest control technician should be able to discuss the safety of any and all pesticides they plan to use. They should be able to explain whether the pesticides are low toxicity or non-toxic, and if not what safety precautions they plan to use to protect your family, your pets, and you. Any pesticides that pose above a minimum risk must be registered with the EPA.
You can ask if your technician will start with lower-toxicity, more natural options before employing harsher chemicals.
Many companies are now using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to treat pest infestations with minimal personal or environmental risk. The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Identify problem pests and assess whether immediate action is required.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Use a combination of biological, cultural, physical, and mechanical controls to manage the pest problem.
- Use chemical controls only when required, and always along with other methods for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and implement additional pest control as needed.
Common Household Pests in Charlotte
You might run into some pests more often in Charlotte. Certain ones to keep an eye out for include these:
- Snakes: Snakes often enter homes looking for food, and once inside they tend to prefer damp, dark, and cool places. While most species of snakes are harmless, you and your family should not take that risk.
- Wasps: Wasps can be very difficult to rid yourself of, especially when you're trying to avoid being stung. They are commonly found in places like roof overhangs, sheds, attics, and garages.
- Bed bugs: Infestations of bed bugs are often very hard to eliminate, so we strongly recommend calling a professional as soon as possible. Bed bugs are found throughout North Carolina, and can infest not only your bedsheets, but also other furniture and even your wallpaper.
- Spiders: You may find spiders in your attic or other damp, dark places. While most spiders are harmless and pose no threat to humans, you don't want a spider infestation in your house.
- Mice: If you have mice, you may notice droppings around your house, or things like chewed wires. Frequently, mice are found in attics or in places where food is stored.
Charlotte Pest Control FAQ
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Pests enter your house 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 are searching for water, either standing water on your property or puddles inside from things like leaky pipes.
One thing you can do to prevent pest infestations is seal off potential entrances into your home. This includes things like cracks in your foundation or siding. Next, try to avoid leaving out food for pests. This includes keeping food in sealed containers as well as not leaving trash out. Lastly, get rid of standing water in and around your home. Find ways to reduce places where water can collect outside, and repair leaks inside.
Generally it's 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 who is best-equipped to recommend a treatment schedule for you.
You may feel as though you're seeing a greater number of pests in your home in the days after pest control treatment. This is because living pests are being flushed from their hiding places deep in your home, or you may be seeing more dead pests around. If the amount of pest activity hasn't decreased in one to two weeks following treatment, reach out to your Charlotte pest control professional to see if another treatment is required.