How To Choose a Pest Control Company
There are a number of factors you can weigh when choosing the best pest control company for you. You may take into consideration a company's qualifications, treatment methods, years of experience, customer reviews, and cost of services.
Below, we discuss each factor in more detail.
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 licensing is taken care of at the state level. All pesticide applicators and supervisors in Tennessee must be licensed through the proper state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
One optional certification that may be worth looking for is the GreenPro Service Certification. In order to get this certification, a pest control company needs to both demonstrate that its practices are more environmentally friendly and maintain certain training standards for its technicians. Companies can earn other certifications from trade organizations like QualityPro to further back up their work.
A pest control company can also obtain membership in professional organizations. Becoming a member of an organization such as the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or a state-level organization gives companies access to resources and education, as well as a professional network to compare best practices with. Membership in organizations like these is not required, but it can help indicate that a company follows industry best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
Browsing a company's website can tell you how many years it has been in business and what species of pests it specializes in exterminating. Local 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
You can check a company's reputation using local review sites or social media as well as the Better Business Bureau (BBB). You can also check with Tennessee's licensing board to verify the status of a company's license.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
The cost of pest control can vary based on things like your location, the size of your house, the type of pest being treated, and other factors.
When thinking about the cost of services, you should verify whether a company provides free on-site estimates as part of its process. This can inform you whether the company fits into your budget. Also consider what guarantees a company offers: If the problem is not fixed, or if it returns, does the company promise to offer additional treatments until the problem is satisfactorily handled?
Safety and Treatment Methods
Your choice of pest control provider might be influenced by how environmentally-friendly a provider's practices are, in addition to how safe its methods are around your family and pets.
Your pest control provider should use pesticides that are low toxicity or non-toxic any time they can. If any pesticides they intend to use don't fit into one of these categories, your technician should explain what safety precautions will be in place to protect your family, your pets, and you. All pesticides that pose more than a minimum risk are required to be registered with the EPA.
It is now common for companies to start with more environmentally friendly options before using harsh pesticides, following a technique called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). When using IPM, the following steps are taken:
- Identify problem pests and determine whether immediate action is needed.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Use a combination of biological, cultural, mechanical, and physical controls to manage the pest problem.
- Use chemical controls only when absolutely necessary, and always in combination with other controls for effective long-term pest management.
- Evaluate outcomes and provide additional pest control as needed.
Common Household Pests in Nashville
Some pests are more common than others. In Nashville, common pests to be wary of include the following:
- Fleas: In general, fleas tend to prefer warmer weather (which can make them a particular problem in Nashville) and can often be brought in by pets.
- Ticks: If your home is near a forest or an area with dense vegetation, or close to a body of water, you might be at higher risk of tick infestations. Ticks can spread diseases like Lyme to you and your pets.
- Bed bugs: Bed bugs can be found throughout Tennessee and can cause major 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. Bed bugs can infest furniture, wallpaper, bedsheets, and more.
- Mice: If there are mice in your home, you may start noticing droppings or things like chewed wires. Frequently, mice are found in attics or in places where food is stored.
- Spiders: These pests prefer dark and moist places and are commonly found in basements or attics.
Nashville Pest Control FAQ
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Pests enter your house looking for one of three things: food, water, or shelter. Some pests will opportunistically enter your home via a foundation crack or broken screen. Some are drawn by food, either actual food left out or trash sitting out in the open. Others look for water, whether it be standing water outside or puddles inside from leaky pipes.
There are a number of steps you can take to help prevent pest infestations. First, don't leave food out. Make sure food is stored in sealed containers, and don't leave trash sitting around.
Next, try not to have standing water in or around your home. Repair leaks indoors and eliminate places where standing water collects outside. Lastly, seal off any possible pest entrances into your home, including foundation and siding cracks.
Any time you notice signs of pest activity in your Nashville home--things like nests, droppings, signs of damage, or the pests themselves--you should call an exterminator. If your home has had recurrent or seasonal pest infestations, we recommend contacting a local pest control company to set up annual pest management services.
You could think you're seeing more pests in your home in the days after pest control treatment. This is because living pests are being flushed out of their hiding places deep in your home, or you may be seeing more dead pests around. If pest activity hasn't begun to decrease in a week or two following treatment, contact your Nashville pest control professional to see if another treatment is required.