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Updated Jul 16, 2022

What to look for in a pest control company

Interview several pest control companies before hiring one. Even if your pest problem is urgent, take the time to locate a company that meets your standards.


  • Verify their licenses by calling Oregon Department of Agriculture  503-986-4635 or Washington Department of Agriculture  877-301-4555 or your state’s pesticide regulatory office.
  • Verify they use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques.
  • Verify that they have a certified insect specialist on staff.
  • Is the company licensed, bonded, and insured?

Get Referrals for Reputable Companies

  • Ask people you trust with experience hiring a pest control company for a recommendation.
  • Be wary of door-to-door pest control advertising. If a pest control firm is advertising its services door to door, consider if you would have sought help to control a pest on your own?
  • Consider contacting the Better Business Bureau  to learn whether complaints have been recorded regarding a particular company.
  • Ask the company to provide references. Call the references they provide.


  • Get estimates from more than one operation. Compare rates and services.
  • Be wary of long-term contracts. Do you require ongoing help?
  • Does the company provide a guarantee for their work? What are the terms?

Verify they use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) methods

Ask Pest Control Companies to:

  • Identify the pest
  • Explain the extent of the infestation and damage
  • Describe the pest and its behavior
  • Provide a range of treatment options; discuss product selection and details of treatment
  • Determine the plan after the initial treatment and structural repair. Will the company return to your property and monitor?


  • Do they offer low-toxicity options?
  • Ask how they mitigate human and environmental risks.
  • Do they wear protective equipment when required?
  • What measures do they take to prevent unnecessary exposures and accidents?

Collect ESSENTIAL Pest Management Records

  • Contact information of the company
  • Names of the employees who will perform the work
  • Times and dates of inspections and treatments
  • Names of the products they will use; the EPA registration numbers
  • Is the product a bait, gel, spray, dust, or other formulation?
  • Are there preparations you need to make before their treatment?
  • Are there any precautions you need to take?

How to Measure Successful Pest Control Services

  • Successful pest control requires communication between you and the firm.
  • Ask questions: What is the treatment process? What are the expected results? How long will it take?
  • Know your responsibilities in making the treatment a success.
  • Contact the company or your state pesticide regulatory agency promptly to report any problems.

FOR Questions about pesticides

The National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC)  can answer questions about pest control chemicals.
 1-800-858-7378 or  

Content provided by Weston Miller and Kaci Buhl.

 Peer reviewed by OSU Department of Horticulture.

Photo of Weston Miller

Weston Miller

Project Founder and Content Writer

Weston Miller served as Community and Urban Horticulture faculty for Oregon State University Extension Service for Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington Counties. Weston is an author for content for this website. He developed funding partnerships with Portland area agencies to initiate and build out the Solve Pest Problems website focused on this goals:

Photo of Kaci Buhl

Kaci Buhl

At the state level, I lead the Pesticide Safety Education Program (PSEP). The program hosts live recertification events around the state, serving over 1,000 licensed pesticide applicators each year. We also produce web-based training modules and license-preparation study manuals. Special training for unlicensed pesticide applicators is also available through a grant from the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. The PSEP at OSU works closely with the Oregon Department of Agriculture's Pesticides Division.