How To Choose a Pest Control Company
It's important to choose the right pest control company for you. In addition to a company's qualifications and treatment methods, you might also consider how long it has been in business and what the reviews look like. Last but not least, you'll likely want to consider the cost of services.
Below, we discuss each of these factors in more detail.
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 Wisconsin regulatory agencies. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets minimum standards of competency, while providing, maintaining, and revoking licensing is handled at the state level.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
An optional certification that may be worth looking for is the GreenPro Service Certification. To get this certification, a pest control company must both show that its practices are more environmentally friendly and uphold certain technician training standards. Companies can also obtain other certifications from trade organizations like QualityPro to further support their work.
A pest control company can also belong to certain professional organizations. Joining an organization like the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or a state-level organization grants a pest control company access to resources and education, as well as a professional network to compare best practices with. Joining organizations like these is not required, but it can help show that a company follows industry best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
The amount of time that a company has been in business can tell you something about its experience dealing with the pests that live in Madison. Online reviews or the company's website itself can also enlighten you as to whether it has the experience necessary to handle your specific pest problem. If the answers to your questions aren't available online, reaching out to the company directly is a great way to learn more.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can look at a company's rating and reviews on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), read local review sites and social media to learn what others in your area have to say, or verify its license standing through the Wisconsin licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
The cost of pest control can vary based on things like your location, the type of pest being treated, the size of your house, 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 consider what guarantees a company offers: If the problem is not resolved, or if it returns, does the company provide additional treatments until the issue is satisfactorily resolved?
Safety and Treatment Methods
Your preferences regarding safety for yourself, any children or pets, and the environment can influence which provider and treatment methods you choose.
All pesticides (except those that are determined to be of minimal risk) are required to be registered with the EPA. Your pest control provider should supply information on each pesticide 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.
Many companies will begin with more environmentally friendly options before using harsh pesticides, using a framework called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). When using IPM, the following steps are taken:
- Identify the source of the pest problem and assess whether immediate action is required.
- Determine the best and 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 along with other controls for effective long-term pest management.
- Observe the results and provide additional pest control as needed.
Common Household Pests in Madison
In Madison, certain pests are more common than others. This list includes the following:
- Snakes: Snakes often enter homes looking for food, and once inside they tend to prefer damp, dark, and cool spots. Although the majority of snakes are harmless, you and your family should not take that risk.
- Wasps: Wasps are commonly found in spots like sheds, roof overhangs, garages, and attics. They are often difficult to rid yourself of, and have painful stings. Your local pest control company can help remove wasps from your property safely.
- Bed bugs: Infestations of bed bugs can be very difficult to get rid of, so we strongly recommend calling a local exterminator as soon as possible. Bed bugs are found throughout Wisconsin, and can infest not just your bedsheets, but also other furniture and even wallpaper.
- Spiders: You may encounter spiders in your attic or other moist, dark places. Most spiders are harmless and pose no threat to humans, but you still don't want a spider infestation in your home.
- Mice: If your home has a mouse infestation, you might notice droppings or things like chewed wires. If your home has mice, they may be found in attics or in places where food is kept.
Madison Pest Control FAQ
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Pests come into your house looking for one of three things: food, water, or shelter. Some pests will opportunistically enter your home via a broken screen or foundation crack. Some are attracted to food, either actual food left out or trash sitting out in the open. Others look for water, either standing water outside or puddles inside from leaky pipes.
There are certain 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.
Second, try not to have standing water in or around your home. Repair leaks inside and eliminate standing water sites outside. Finally, seal off possible pest entrances into your home, including foundation and siding cracks.
Any time you see signs of pest activity in your Madison home--things like nests, droppings, signs of damage, or the pests themselves--you should contact your local pest professional. If you've had recurrent or seasonal infestations, we suggest getting in touch with a local pest control company to request annual pest management services.
If pests get into your home, you might end up spending a large amount of time and money ridding your house of them, and possibly recovering from illness or damages they have caused. Preventive pest control can help stop this from happening.