How To Choose a Pest Control Company
When picking a pest control company, you want to make sure that you find the best one for you. You might take into consideration a company's qualifications and treatment methods, as well as its years of experience and customer reviews. Of course, there is also the cost of services to consider.
Below, we discuss each of these factors in more detail.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
Per the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), all pesticide applicators and those that supervise them are required to be certified at the state level. The EPA sets minimum standards of competency, but all Virginia pesticide applicators must be licensed through the proper state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
A pest control company can obtain optional certifications from QualityPro or similar trade organizations in order to back up its methods and standards. One particular certification is the GreenPro Service Certification, which is granted when a company can demonstrate that its methods are more environmentally friendly. Companies that receive this certification also need to maintain certain training standards for employees.
Pest control companies can also belong to certain professional organizations. Companies can belong to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), or state-level organizations. Membership in the NPMA provides companies with access to resources, education, and a network of other pest professionals. While not required, membership in professional organizations helps back up a company's reputability.
Professional Experience and Specialties
For the most part, a company will list information like years of experience and specialities on its website. Online reviews can also tell you whether a company has experience dealing with a particular pest in your area. If you can't get the information you need online, you can reach out to the company directly to get the answers to your questions.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can read reviews and recommendations on social media or local review sites, verify a company's Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating, or check the status of its license through the Virginia 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 considering the cost of services, you should first look into whether a company includes free on-site estimates as part of its services. This can inform you whether the company fits into your budget. Also take into account a company's guarantees: If the problem is not fixed, or returns, does the company provide additional treatments until the problem is satisfactorily handled?
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 might also prefer an environmentally-conscious provider.
Your pest technician should be using pesticides that are low toxicity or non-toxic when possible. If they plan to use pesticides that don't fall into one of these categories, your technician should explain what safety precautions they plan to use to protect you, your family, and your pets. All pesticides that pose more than a minimum risk are required to be registered with the EPA.
Many companies have started offering options for more environmentally friendly pest control techniques before jumping into using harsh pesticides.
One common method for making pest control safer and greener is 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.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of mechanical, physical, biological, and cultural controls.
- Employ chemical controls only when required, and always along with other methods for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and continue with additional pest control as needed.