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National Pesticide Information Center

npic@ace.orst.edu

1.800.858.7378

Selecting a Pest Control Company

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Pest problems arise from time to time that may require you to seek help controlling the pest from a professional. It can be daunting to choose a pest control company. Don't rush into a decision. Consider talking with several companies before deciding on one. Even if your pest problem is urgent, take time to look for a reputable and knowledgeable company that meets your standards.

When selecting a pest management professional, consider evaluating companies on these key areas:

Qualifications

  • Do technicians have current licenses? Is the license the correct classification for the job? You can verify licensing by calling your state pesticide regulatory office.
  • How does the company keep their staff informed of changes in regulations, products, techniques and safety?
  • Do they use Integrated Pest Management techniques?

Experience

  • How many years has the company been in business?
  • Do newly hired applicators train with more experienced employees?
  • How much experience does the company have with treating pest problems like yours?

Reputation

  • Ask family members, friends, coworkers, or neighbors for a recommendation.
  • Avoid relying on advertising for information about the company's reputation.
  • Consider contacting the Better Business Bureau or the state pesticide regulatory office for information on recent violations, complaints, or unresolved issues.
  • Ask the company for customer references.

Value

  • Can the company offer an estimate for services in writing? Many offer free estimates.
  • Get estimates from more than one company and compare their rates and services.
  • Does the company require you to sign up for a long-term contract? If so, what are the long-term costs?
  • Is the company able to provide a guarantee for their work? What are the terms?

Customer Service

  • Do the employees listen to your concerns and address them with care and respect?
  • Can the employees identify the pest, explain the extent of the infestation, and provide details about the pest and its behavior?
  • Are they willing to discuss product selection and other details of the treatment?

Safety

  • Are they willing to discuss low-toxicity options and reducing environmental risks?
  • Do they have insurance to cover you, your property, and their employees?
  • Are they responsible about wearing protective equipment when necessary?
  • What measures will they take to prevent unnecessary exposures and accidents?

As you contact and interview the companies, don't be afraid to ask questions. Educate yourself about the pest and your options for treatment.

Record Important Information

Once you have selected a pest control company, take note of the following items:

  • The contact information for the company
  • The names of employees who are performing the work
  • The time and date of the inspections/treatments
  • The names of the products they will use and their EPA registration numbers
  • The formulation of each product and where that product will be used. For example, is the product a gel, a spray, or a dust?
  • Any preparations you need make before the treatment, such as putting away clutter, removing items from kitchen cabinets, or keeping pets and children away from the area
  • Precautionary information or potential health effects in case of exposure to pesticide products. You can call NPIC to ask questions about pesticide risks.

Successful pest control will require communication and cooperation between you and the company. Ask questions and make sure you understand the treatment and your responsibilities in making the treatment a success. Contact the company or your state pesticide regulatory agency promptly to report any problems.

If you need more information on professional pest control, or any pesticide-related topic, please call NPIC at 1-800-858-7378 (8:00am - 12:00pm PST), or email us at npic@ace.orst.edu.

Additional Resources on Selecting a Pest Control Company:

Last updated April 1, 2014