How To Choose a Pest Control Company
Choosing the best pest control company for you is key. In addition to a company's qualifications and treatment methods, you may also look into how long it has been in business and what the reviews are like. Finally, you'll likely want to consider 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?
All pesticide applicators, as well as those that supervise them, must be licensed via the appropriate Virginia regulatory agencies. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established minimum standards of competency, but providing, maintaining, and revoking licensure is handled at the state level.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
A pest control company can optionally apply for certifications from QualityPro or similar trade organizations in order to support its standards and methods. One particular certification is the GreenPro Service Certification, which is granted to any company that can demonstrate that its methods are more environmentally friendly. A company that receives this certification also needs to maintain certain employee training standards.
Pest control companies can also hold membership in various professional organizations. Holding membership in organizations such as the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or state-level organizations is not required, but helps show that a company is reputable. When a pest control company joins the NPMA, it gains access to resources, education, and a network of professionals with whom to discuss methods and practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
A company's years in business can indicate how much experience it has dealing with various pests. You can also explore its website or read customer reviews to figure out whether it has experience eliminating the type of pests you are struggling with. If this information can't be found online, contacting a representative directly is a good way to learn more.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can look at a company's reviews and rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), read social media and local review sites to find out what other people are saying, or verify its license standing through the Virginia licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
The cost of pest control 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 first look into whether a company offers free on-site estimates as part of its services. This can help determine whether the company fits into your budget. Also consider what guarantees a company offers: If the problem is not fixed, or if it returns, will the company provide additional treatments until the problem is handled satisfactorily?
Safety and Treatment Methods
It's important to consider safety when deciding on a pest control provider. You might also prefer a provider who employs more natural, environmentally-friendly methods.
Your pest control technician should be able to explain the safety precautions of the pesticides that they're going to use. They should be able to answer questions as to whether the pesticides are low toxicity or non-toxic, and if not what safety precautions they will put in place to protect your family, your pets, and you. Pesticides that pose above a minimum risk need to be registered with the EPA.
Many companies are making the switch to using more natural treatment methods before (or instead of) harsh chemical pesticides. Some employ a program called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Figure out what pests are causing the problem and determine whether immediate action is needed.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of biological, cultural, mechanical, and physical controls.
- Employ chemical controls only when absolutely necessary, and always in combination with other techniques for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and provide additional pest control as needed.