How To Choose a Pest Control Company
When hiring a pest control company, there are several factors that you can consider to be sure you choose the right one for you. You may consider a company's qualifications, methods, years of experience, customer reviews, and cost of services.
Below, we dive into detail on each factor.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
All pesticide applicators (and those that supervise them) are required to 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 Texas must be licensed via the necessary state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Pest control companies can optionally obtain additional certifications like the GreenPro Service Certification. This certification is awarded once a company has shown its methods to be more environmentally friendly and demonstrated that it also holds itself up to certain other standards, such as up-to-date employee training. A company can also earn other certifications from QualityPro or similar trade organizations to further verify its methods and practices.
Pest control companies can also belong to certain professional organizations. Holding membership in organizations like the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or state-level organizations is not mandatory, but helps verify a company's reputability. Membership in the NPMA gives companies access to resources, education, and a network of professionals with whom to discuss methods and practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
The amount of time that a company has been in business can shed some light on its experience dealing with the pests that live in Houston. Customer reviews or the company's website itself can also help you figure out whether it has the experience needed to eliminate the particular pests that are plaguing you. If you cannot find the answers to your questions online, contacting the company directly is an excellent way to learn about its areas of expertise.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can read reviews and recommendations on social media or local review sites, look up a company's rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), or check its licensure status through the Texas licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Cost is often a deciding factor when picking a pest control company. Cost may be determined by your location, the size of your house, the type of pest being treated, and other factors.
Certain pest control companies offer a free on-site estimate to help you decide if it fits into your budget. You can also see if it offers a satisfaction guarantee.
Safety and Treatment Methods
When it comes to choosing a pest control provider, you want to select one that will help keep you, your family, and your pets safe. You'll likely also prefer an environmentally-conscious provider.
All pesticides that will be used (except those that pose only a minimum risk) must be registered with the EPA. Your pest control technician should provide you with information on all the pesticides that they will be using. They should be able to tell you whether the pesticides are low toxicity or non-toxic, and if not, what safety precautions will be taken.
You can ask if your technician will start with more natural and lower-toxicity options before trying 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:
- Figure out what pests are causing the problem and determine whether immediate action is required.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of biological, cultural, physical, and mechanical controls.
- Use chemical controls only when required, and always with other solutions for effective long-term pest management.
- Observe the results and implement additional pest control as needed.
Common Household Pests in Houston
In Houston, certain pests are more common than others. This list includes the following:
- Mosquitoes: Mosquito infestations are more common if you live in a wetter area. They're also more common during the warmer months. Mosquitoes are more than just annoying--they can cause itchy bites and even spread diseases.
- Flies: Flies can be a nuisance in your Houston home year-round, but they are especially common in warmer weather. You might find flies around sinks or in places where you keep food.
- Termites: Termites can often enter your house from nearby piles of firewood, mulch, or rotting wood. If not taken care of, they can do a significant amount of damage and necessitate 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. If your home has mice, they may be found in places where food is stored, or in attics.
- Spiders: These pests prefer damp and dark places and are commonly found in attics.
Houston Pest Control FAQ
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Pest infestations happen when pests come into your home looking for something, usually food, water, or shelter. Pests may come looking for food or trash that is left out. Some could also be drawn to standing water outside (from rain collecting in a particular area) or inside (from leaky pipes). They may also come into your home simply looking for shelter. They can get in through places such as broken screens or foundation cracks.
There are several things you can do to help prevent pest infestations. First, avoid leaving food out. Keep your food stored in sealed containers, and avoid leaving trash sitting around.
Next, try not to have standing water in or around your home. Fix leaks inside and eliminate places where standing water collects outdoors. Finally, seal off any potential pest entrances into your home, including siding or foundation cracks.
You should consider hiring an exterminator any time you identify signs of pest activity in your Houston home. These signs can include nests, droppings, damage caused by pests, or even the pests themselves. If you've had recurrent or seasonal pest infestations, we recommend annual preventive pest management.
The majority of pesticides last around 30 to 90 days after application. Rain can wash away outdoor chemicals, giving them a shorter lifespan than those applied indoors. Some other things that can affect how long pesticide application lasts include what chemicals are used, the application method, what pests are present, and the extent of your pest problem.