How To Choose a Pest Control Company
When hiring a pest control company, there are several factors you can consider to make sure you choose the best one for you. 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. Last but not least, you'll likely want to look at 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 competency standards for pesticide applicators, but licensing is overseen at the state level. All pesticide applicators and supervisors in Washington need to be licensed through the proper state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
A pest control company can optionally apply for additional certifications from QualityPro or similar trade organizations in order to support its methods and standards. One particular certification is the GreenPro Service Certification, which is given to any company that can demonstrate that its methods are more environmentally friendly. Companies that receive this certification also need to maintain certain employee training standards.
Pest control companies can also be members of various 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 resources and education, as well as a professional network to compare best practices with. Membership in organizations like these is not required, but it can help indicate that a company follows industry best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
Browsing a company's website can tell you how long it has been in operation and what species of pests it specializes in eliminating. Local reviews can also give you some insight into a company's experience dealing with a certain type of pest. If you can't find this information online, you can try contacting the company directly.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can check a company's reputation using the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and local review sites or social media. You can also check with Washington's licensing board to see the status of a company's license.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Cost is important when hiring a pest control company. Cost can be affected influenced by your location, the type of pest being treated, the size of your house, and other factors.
Companies will often offer free on-site estimates as part of their process, to help you determine whether it fits into your budget. You can also ask whether a company offers a satisfaction guarantees, meaning that it will continue to treat your pest problem until it is solved.
Safety and Treatment Methods
Your preferences regarding safety for yourself, your children, your pets, and the environment can influence the provider and the treatment methods you choose.
You can ask your pest control technician if they will be using low toxicity or non-toxic pesticides, and if not, ask about what precautionary measures they will take. Any pesticide that poses greater than minimum risk must be registered with the EPA. Your pest technician should be able to provide information about all of the pesticides used, and how safe they are around people and pets.
Many companies have started making the switch to using more natural treatment methods before, or instead of, harsh chemical pesticides. Some follow a program called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Identify the source of the pest problem and determine if immediate action is needed.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Use a combination of physical, cultural, biological, and mechanical controls to manage the pest problem.
- Use chemical controls only when required, and always with other controls for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and implement additional pest control as needed.
Common Household Pests in Seattle
Not all pests are equally common in Seattle. Some species that you should be on the lookout for are these:
- Flies: Flies can be a year-round nuisance in your Seattle home, but they tend to be more common when the weather is warmer. You may spot flies around sinks or in places where you keep food.
- Mice: Common signs of mouse activity include chewed wires and droppings around your house. Mice are commonly found in attics or in places where you keep food.
- Spiders: You may encounter spiders in your attic or other moist, dark places. Even though most species of spider are harmless to humans, you don't want an infestation of them in your house.
- Bed bugs: Bed bugs are found throughout Washington, and they can cause big problems if left untreated. Because infestations of bed bugs are often hard to get rid of, we recommend having professional extermination as soon as you discover the problem. Bed bugs can infest furniture, wallpaper, bedsheets, and more.
Seattle Pest Control FAQ
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Pest infestations occur when pests come into your home looking for something, generally food, water, or shelter. Pests might be looking to eat food or trash that is left out. Some may also be drawn by standing water collecting outside (from rain collecting in one spot) or inside (from leaky pipes). They might also come into your house simply looking for shelter and get in through places like broken screens or foundation cracks.
One method for preventing pest infestations is to seal off potential entrances into your home. This includes things like cracks in your foundation or siding. Also try to avoid leaving out food 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 can collect outside, and fix leaks inside.
Normally it's recommended that you hire a pest control technician about once a year. If there is an active infestation, you will need pest control to come out more frequently. Ultimately, your pest professional is the person best-equipped to recommend a treatment schedule for you.
Your pest control expert will tell you how far your pets should be kept away from treated areas, and for how long after treatment. Some pesticides are non-toxic or have low toxicity, but as a general rule you'll be asked to keep pets out of the area during and for some time after application.
Before a pest professional comes to your home, check and see if they want you to clean around your house, including in areas where there have been pests. Some pest professionals may prefer to see your house as-is.
If you are asked to clean, make sure all trash and paper goods are out of the affected areas (as pests like to hide in these items), and that you store food securely so that it does not become contaminated with pesticides. You may also wish to remove plants from the affected areas. Also make sure to block off areas to be treated to keep children and pets out until it is safe. If you need a more intensive type of pest control like fumigation, make sure you follow your pest professional's instructions closely.