How To Choose a Pest Control Company
When hiring a pest control company, you want to be sure to find the best one for you. Factors 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?
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established minimum competency standards for pesticide applicators, but licensing is overseen at the state level. All pesticide applicators and supervisors in Texas must be licensed through the proper state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Obtaining additional optional certifications can help prove that a pest control company is reputable. One example is the GreenPro Service Certification. For this certification, a company must show that its methods are more environmentally friendly and that its employees receive up-to-date training. Additional certifications can be earned through trade organizations like QualityPro.
Pest control companies can also be members of certain professional organizations. Membership in an organization like the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or a state-level organization gives companies access to education and resources, as well as a professional network to compare best practices with. Belonging to one of these organizations is not required, but it can help indicate that a company follows industry best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
The amount of time that a company has been in business can give you some insight into its experience dealing with the pests that live in Austin. Online reviews or the company's website itself can also inform you whether it has the experience necessary to handle your specific pest problem. If the answers to your questions aren't available online, speaking with a representative is an easy way to learn about the company's areas of expertise.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can look up a company's reviews and rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), explore local review sites and social media to learn what others in your area have to say, or verify its license standing through the Texas licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
For many people, cost is one of the most important factors when hiring for pest control. Cost can be determined by factors like the size of your house, your location, and the type of pest being treated.
You can look into whether a specific company offers free on-site estimates (to determine if it fits your budget), and what sort of guarantees are provided. Often, a company will guarantee that if your pest problem isn't fixed by its treatment, it will continue to treat until it is.
Safety and Treatment Methods
Your choice of pest control provider might be affected by how environmentally-friendly a company's practices are, as well as how safe its methods are around your family and pets.
All pesticides (except those that are determined to be of minimal risk) need to be registered with the EPA. Your pest control provider should be able to supply information on every pesticide they will be using. They should inform you whether the pesticides are low toxicity or non-toxic, and if not, what safety precautions they plan to take.
You can ask if your technician will start with lower-toxicity, more natural options before using harsher chemicals.
Many companies now use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to eliminate pests while reducing personal and environmental risks. The steps of IPM are 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 mechanical, physical, biological, and cultural controls.
- Use chemical controls only when required, and always with other controls for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and provide additional pest control as needed.
Common Household Pests in Austin
In Austin, some species of pests are more common than others. This list of pests includes the following:
- Mosquitoes: You're more likely to face a mosquito infestation if you live in a wetter area. They're also more common during the warmer months. Mosquitoes can be more than just annoying--they can cause itchy bites and even carry diseases.
- Flies: Flies can be a year-round nuisance in your Austin home, but they tend to be more common in warmer weather. You might find flies around sinks or in places where you keep food.
- Termites: Termites frequently get into your house from nearby piles of mulch, firewood, or rotting wood. If left untreated, they can cause a substantial amount of damage and cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars in repairs.
- Mice: If there are mice in your home, you may notice droppings around your house, or things like chewed wires. You can often find mice in places where food is stored, or in attics.
- Spiders: These pests prefer dark and moist places and are commonly found in attics.
Austin 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 broken screen or foundation crack. Some are attracted to food, either actual food sitting out or trash left out in the open. Others are searching for water, whether it be standing water on your property or puddles inside from things like leaky pipes.
One way to prevent pest infestations is seal off potential entrances into your home. This includes things like cracks in your siding or foundation. Also try to avoid leaving food out for pests. This includes keeping food in sealed containers as well as not leaving trash out. Finally, reduce standing water in and around your home. Work to reduce places where water collects outside, and repair leaks inside.
You should consider hiring a pest control professional any time you notice signs of pest activity in your Austin home. You might see nests, droppings, damage, or even the pests themselves. If you get recurrent or seasonal pest infestations, we recommend setting up yearly preventive pest management.
How soon you see pest control results will depend on the issue and treatment. If your pest control technician takes measures like removing a wasp nest, you can see the results almost immediately. For most pest control, however, you might need to wait anywhere from one to two days to up to six weeks to see significant results. Some pest issues may require your technician to make multiple visits to your house.