How To Choose a Pest Control Company
Hiring the best company for you is the most important step in the pest control process. Some things you may consider include qualifications and licensing, treatment methods, years of experience, customer reviews, and cost.
Below, we explore the details of each of these factors.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
While the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established minimum competency standards for pesticide applicators, licensure is handled at the state level. All pesticide applicators (and their supervisors) in Pennsylvania should be licensed by all the necessary state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
There are additional optional certifications that can help demonstrate that a pest control company is reputable. One example is the GreenPro Service Certification. To earn this certification, a company must prove that its methods are more environmentally friendly and that its employee training is up to date. Other various certifications can be earned through QualityPro and similar trade organizations.
A pest control company can also hold membership in various professional organizations. When a company becomes a member of an organization such as the National Pest Management Association(NPMA) (or a state-level organization), it gets access to resources, education, and a network of other pest control professionals with whom to compare treatment methods. This can offer added peace of mind that a company is following industry best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
In general, a company displays information like its specialities and years of experience on its website. Online reviews can also tell you whether a company has experience dealing with a specific pest. If you can't get the information you need online, you can reach out to the company directly to get your questions answered.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can view a company's reviews and rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), check out local review sites and social media to find out what homeowners near you think, or verify its license standing through the Pennsylvania licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Things like your location, the type of pest being treated, 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 sort of guarantees it offers. Often, a company will guarantee that if it does not eliminate your pest problem, it will continue treatment until it does.
Safety and Treatment Methods
It's important to consider safety when selecting a pest control provider, and you might prefer a provider who employs more natural, environmentally-friendly methods.
You should ask your pest control provider if they plan to use low toxicity or non-toxic pesticides, and if not, what sort of precautionary measures they will have in place. Any pesticides that are not minimum-risk chemicals must be registered with the EPA. Your pest technician will be able to provide information about all of the pesticides they are going to use.
Many companies are now exploring cleaner and greener pest solutions that can be used before (or instead of) chemical pesticides. Many are following the practice of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which goes as follows:
- Identify problem pests and determine whether immediate action is required.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of mechanical, cultural, biological, and physical controls.
- Employ chemical controls only when absolutely necessary, and always in combination with other methods for effective long-term pest management.
- Evaluate outcomes and continue with additional pest control as needed.
Common Household Pests in Pittsburgh
Not all pests are equally common in Pittsburgh. Some species that you should be wary of are these:
- Cockroaches: It's important to deal with a cockroach infestation promptly, as they can bring in diseases such as salmonella. Cockroaches can be found in many places throughout Pennsylvania, and they prefer wetter areas.
- Spiders: These pests prefer moist, dark places and are often found in basements or attics.
- Mice: Telltale signs of mouse activity include chewed wires and droppings around your home. Mice are commonly found in attics or in places where food is kept.
- Bed bugs: Bed bugs can be found throughout Pennsylvania, and they can cause serious problems if left untreated. Because bed bug infestations can be hard to get rid of, we recommend having professional extermination as soon as you discover the problem. These pests can infest furniture, wallpaper, bedsheets, and more.
Pittsburgh Pest Control FAQ
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Pest infestations happen when pests come into your house looking for something, typically food, water, or shelter. Pests might come looking for food or trash that is left out. Some might also be drawn to standing water outside (from rain collecting in one area) or inside (from leaky pipes). They might also enter your house simply looking for shelter. They can get in through weak spots such as broken screens or foundation cracks.
There are certain things you can do to help prevent pest infestations. First, don't leave food out. Keep your food stored in sealed containers, and don't leave trash sitting around.
Next, avoid having standing water in or around your home. Fix leaks indoors and eliminate standing water sites outside. Lastly, seal off possible pest entrances into your home, including siding or foundation cracks.
Any time you see signs of pest activity in your Pittsburgh home--which could include droppings, nests, signs of damage, or the pests themselves--you should contact an exterminator. If you've had recurrent or seasonal infestations, we recommend contacting a local pest control company to set up annual pest management services.
If there are pests in your home, you may find yourself spending a large amount of time and money ridding yourself of them, as well as potentially recovering from illness or damages they caused. Preventive pest control can stop this from happening in the first place.