How To Choose a Pest Control Company
It's important to choose the right pest control company for you. Important decision-making factors 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 established minimum standards of competency for pesticide applicators, but licensing is regulated at the state level. All pesticide applicators and their supervisors in Texas need to 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 that a company show that its practices are more environmentally friendly and that its employee training is up to date. Trade organizations such as QualityPro offer additional certifications. These are not required, but can help demonstrate that a pest control company is reputable.
A pest control company can also belong to certain 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 education and resources, as well as a network of professionals with whom to compare best practices. Membership in one of these organizations is not required, but it can help show that a company follows industry best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
You can look at a company's years in business to help determine how much experience it has handling pests in your area. You can also explore its website or peruse customer reviews to decide whether it has the right kind of experience handling the species of pests you are struggling with. If you cannot find this information online, calling the company directly is a good way to learn more.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can check a company's Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating, explore reviews on social media or local review sites, or check the standing of its license via the Texas licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Pest control costs can vary based on things like the type of pest being treated, the size of your house, your location, and other factors.
When thinking about the cost of services, you should try to determine whether a company offers free on-site estimates as part of its process. This can help determine whether the company fits into your budget. Also take into account what guarantees a company offers: If the problem is not fixed, or returns, does the company provide additional treatments until the problem is satisfactorily handled?
Safety and Treatment Methods
It's important to consider safety when selecting a pest control provider. You might also prefer a provider who uses more natural, environmentally-friendly methods.
You want to ensure that you understand the precautions around pesticides being used in your home, for the sake of your family, your pets, and yourself. Your pest control technician should provide information about any pesticides they plan on using, whether they are low toxicity or non-toxic, and (if not) what safety measures they plan to take. All pesticides (except minimum-risk ones) must be registered with the EPA.
Many companies have started making the switch to using more natural treatment methods before, or instead of, harsh chemical pesticides. Some use a program called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Identify the source of the pest problem and determine whether immediate action is needed.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of biological, cultural, mechanical, and physical controls.
- Use chemical controls only when absolutely necessary, and always with other controls for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and provide additional pest control as needed.