The Best Pest Control Service
Our homes contain all sorts of appealing micro-environments for rodents, roaches, and other pests. The best pest control service works with you to create a plan of attack that exterminates the existing population and deters future ones. As such, it should have efficacy guarantees written into the contract. We honed in on five solid providers with a broad range of services, holistic pest management tactics, and communicative customer service.
How We Chose the Best Pest Control Service
We looked at leading pest control service providers that do business in 15 states or more. These are the companies that turn up on the first few pages of Google and populate your ad space after you run a single search. This helped to ensure that the companies’ practices are standardized (and published online) and that their services are available to a large swathe of readers. Combined, the five companies that made this cut bring pest control services to 49 states. (Alaska residents, don’t despair: We’ve put together a brief list of the best Alaskan pest control services.)
We verified that those five providers are certified by QualityPro, a national pest control association that gives the nod to companies with excellent customer service and safe pesticide practices. QualityPro is operated by the NPMA (National Pest Management Association) and screens businesses for membership based on four key factors:
- Business Operations
- Environmental Stewardship
- Consumer Relations
- Employee Education
All four are vital to a positive customer experience and environmentally conscious practices in the pest control field.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
Next, we made sure that our top companies utilize Integrated Pest Management (IPM). IPM deploys both pesticides and non-pesticide alternatives in order to remedy infestations. Non-pesticide alternatives include aggressive sanitation, pest exclusion, setting traps, and performing surveillance to learn the movements and habits of the pest population in question. By taking pest behavior into account, IPM deters future infestations while mitigating the potentially harmful side effects of intense pesticide use.
In addition, we looked for pest control companies offering wildlife management services. We pegged wildlife management as important because you often don’t know what kind of critter is wreaking havoc in your home — you just see the aftermath. If your problem turns out to be larger and more mammalian than you thought, it’s more convenient to move forward with the same company than to reboot the provider search.
Lengthy work guarantees
Work guarantees of 30 days or more also topped our list of must-haves. If the first round of treatment doesn’t successfully wipe out all of the pests (plus their children and grandchildren), a work guarantee promises a free follow-up. This is vital, because extermination methods often only work against pests at a certain stage in their development. A good pest control company is available to come back and take another swipe at the new generation.
While getting the scoop on the fine print, we checked out each company’s customer service channels, as well as the knowledgeability and friendliness of their support staff. We were impressed with companies that offered multiple easy and effective modes of communication. Email options and online chats allow you to reach out for help even if you aren’t available for a phone call, have quick question between other tasks at work, or would rather have the company get back to you at a later time — rather than wait for the infamous “next available representative.”
The 5 Best Pest Control Services
Residential Pest Control
Why we chose it
60-day work guarantee
We looked for a thirty-day work guarantee in all pest control services, but Orkin goes a step further with a full sixty days of complimentary follow-ups. Because pests often need repeat treatments before they’re knocked back, two months of on-call defense can help you treat the problem more thoroughly without adding to your existing bill. It’s an extra layer of assurance that helped make Orkin our top residential pick.
Large pest library
Orkin stands out for its impressive online catalogue of pests, something no other company provides in equal breadth or detail. Detailed synopses of the appearance, habits, and favorite hide-outs of every imaginable bug equip you to identify and understand pest issues as they crop up. As a more informed pest-controller, you’ll know better how to mitigate problems by interrupting pests’ preferred habitats. Orkin’s illustrations and descriptions of critters from amphipods to whiteflies not only proves its knowledge of a full gamut of pests, but also its preparedness to battle them. Every entry includes what Orkin can do to combat the pest in question.
Orkin’s library includes:
Points to consider
Not available in four states
Residents of Alaska, Wyoming, and the Dakotas don’t yet have access to Orkin pest control.
If you live in South Dakota, you’ll have recourse to Truly Nolen, a hot-weather pest pro that operates in most states of the geographic American South as well as other pest strongholds such as New York.
If you live in North Dakota or Wyoming, call up Terminix, a national provider on par with Orkin that’s especially strong in commercial pest control.
Spotty customer reviews
Although consumers tend to share grievances on customer review sites more often than positive experiences, we did notice that Orkin customers have more scheduling complaints (missed appointments, primarily) on online forums than other companies. The good news — if you aren’t satisfied with your local Orkin technicians, you can cancel your contract within the first three days, no strings attached.
Commercial Pest Control
Why we chose it
Extra-long commercial work guarantee
Terminix offers the standard thirty-day work guarantee when it comes to residential services. But if your pest problem is taking place in your office, restaurant, or organic sugar packing plant (or any of those, plural), it’ll step up its game. A Terminix commercial contract offers nearly three months of free emergency assistance.
Boons for company accounts
There are a few benefits to Terminix commercial pest control that we didn’t see with any other provider. The first one is a discount: If you recommend Terminix to another company, you’ll be rewarded with a lower rate.
The second one is a convenience. If you enlist pest control services for multiple outlets of your company, you can use your Terminix account to monitor technicians’ arrival, reports, and treatment methods — for multiple outlets of your business or just one. It’s a bit like tracking a package, but with richer information.
Terminix, Orkin, and Rentokil Steritec all have strikingly similar websites, but Terminix’s clear layout and communication channels pull it to the top. Time-consuming phone trees are par for the course with most service companies, but Terminix provides online chat, and that makes a huge improvement in communication. Quickly get the answer you’re looking for from reps who are knowledgeable about the company, its services, and what you can expect from your technician’s visits.
Points to consider
Not available in Alaska or Montana
Like most nationwide providers, Terminix doesn’t quite make it coast to coast. If you live or do business in Montana, check out Orkin for your needs. They have strong plans for both residential and commercial pest control.
Treats half the pests that Orkin does
The most common pests are probably already familiar to you: rodents, mosquitoes, cockroaches, termites. Terminix focuses on these familiar species, with a modest total of 22 covered critters listed in their service contract. And half of those pests belong to the premier category, meaning you’ll pay extra to get them treated.
Together, the pests Terminix lists in its standard and premier packages represent the pests most likely to be wreaking havoc in your home or work space, but we tallied over double — a whopping 51 pests — in Orkin’s control line-up. If you know or suspect your pests are on the exotic end, you may be better off with Orkin.
Natural Pest Control
Why we chose it
Sets the standard for green pest control
Like the other companies on our list, Eco-Wise Critter Control is a franchise. However, it’s also a certification program that allows existing local pest companies to become affiliated with Eco-Wise’s standards. These standards primarily deal with using biological and cultural means (part of an “IPM toolbox”) to relieve pest problems, rather than relying on pesticides alone. If you’re invested in green pest control, Eco-Wise sets the bar high for education and certification.
Employs natural and organic products
Eco-Wise’s doctrine suggests always consulting the necessity of deploying chemicals, rather than releasing them as a first approach or by a set schedule. In addition to restricting pesticide use, Eco-Wise Critter Control opts for organic formulas, only turning to low-dose pesticides when natural measures aren’t enough.
Emphasis on pest control education
While most pest control companies use the fine print to mention the homeowner’s role in pest management, Eco-Wise includes your participation in its battle plan. Customer education is a key point in their IPM approach. In addition to providing your technician full access to your property, Eco-Wise also asks that you assist in creating a written document that outlines the pest problem, the steps decided on to deconstruct the pest’s environment, and your ultimate goals. Eco-Wise emphasizes the homeowner’s active role in pest management; because of this, it promises greater success in eradicating the current infestation and avoiding future ones.
Points to consider
Not available in 11 states
Eco-Wise boasts outposts in a sizable number of states: well over half, and many of the most populated. It also has an outpost in Washington, DC. But if you live in one of the 11 states it doesn’t service (Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Hawaii, Montana, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, or Wyoming), you’ll have to find another company.
Guarantees vary by franchise
Because Eco-Wise is not a united corporation in the sense of Orkin or Terminix, you’ll need to check with your local branch for specific work guarantees, discounts, and response times. Those vary somewhat from business to business, which makes it slightly harder to gather information about your prospects. That said, we spoke with a service rep who assured us of a 30-day work guarantee and the availability of wildlife removal.
Pest Control for Southern States
Why we chose it
Pests, like all other living things, alter their behavior depending on the weather. In the summer, you may be plagued with a certain species of creepy crawly; in the winter, something furrier may have moved in. Truly Nolen operates in states with extreme weather and offers quarterly treatments that target pests according to the season. While other national providers are present in all of the same states as Truly Nolen, that company’s dedicated presence in Southern and urban regions speaks to their specialized preparedness for a harsh environments.
Your home, climate, and specific pest problem all affect the bill you receive from pest control professionals. That said, according to reviewers and past customers, Truly Nolen can typically cut you a better deal than more nationally recognized brands such as Orkin and Terminix.
Present in 30 other countries
Whether you live across the border year-round or are just hoping to have one name to call for pest problems in all of your properties, it’s nice to know that Truly Nolen also operates in 30 countries, including Puerto Rico and Canada. You can expect the same work guarantees and seasonal treatment plans in those locales.
Points to consider
Not available in 33 states
Truly Nolen does business in just 17 states: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, and Utah.
Because of this, Northerners will have to turn to one of our other top picks to rid themselves of pests. However, if you are suffering from an infestation, chances are actually high you aren’t a Northerner. According to data collected for Forbes by Statista, America’s most pest-infested cities largely lie in Truly Nolen’s coverage areas: the Mid-Atlantic, the South, and the Southwest. Where it’s hot and densely populated, you’ll find pests. You’ll find Truly Nolen there, too.
No industry-specific plans for commercial pest infestations
While other providers have bespoke plans for commercial spaces like restaurants, hotels, packing plants, and offices, Truly Nolen offers only two commercial plans — one for food-handling businesses and one for non-food-handling businesses. If you seek them out for a commercial infestation, you may not experience the same level of personalization as you would with another provider like Terminix.
Year-Round Pest Control
Why we chose it
A year-round lockdown on infestation
The company goes by a lot of names — Rentokil Steritech, Rentokil, Steritech, Ehrlich. All of them offer Pestfree365. This unique year-round service provides scheduled defense against pests, meaning you can play both defense and offense against the critters that crop up at different points in the year. In addition to planned visits, you can call and get a technician there within 24 hours. What’s more: They’ll keep coming back until your problem is solved.
A huge range of specialty services
Most companies offer the usual extras: wildlife management, fumigation services, termite monitoring. Rentokil Steritech steps it up by also providing heat treatments, odor management, drain line service, bird deterrent solutions, electronic fly killers, and vegetation management. No matter your issue, it’s likely that Rentokil has you covered.
An impressive research and development arm
Rentokil points to its research and development headquarters as the basis for its enduring — and expanding — expertise. The company has made many recent acquisitions, solidifying its stature in research. While it hasn’t been in business as long as Orkin and Terminix, Rentokil plays a larger role in more recent innovations, like a device that emits electronic waves that encourages pests’ departure. Rentokil’s entomologists are frequently noted in breaking research stories. As pesticides are refined for efficacy and environmental concerns, you can feel confident that you are working with a company deploying the best new findings.
Points to consider
Not available in four states: Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, North Dakota
Residents of Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, and North Dakota do not yet have Rentokil Steritech offices in their region. If you live in one of these states, you will need to turn to either Orkin, Terminix, or a local agency for your pest control needs. Rentokil is in the process of acquiring more and more small pest control businesses, so these last four states may be broached soon.
Excludes some of the more uncommon pests
Rentokil tends to focus on the main pests. The website offers a list of Top Ten Pests, and the 36 pests included in the year-round pest control contract that originally caught our attention doesn’t come close to the hundreds that can plague any given environment. You will be well-protected from the main threats, but know you may need to expand your coverage if the bug Rentokil turns up isn’t the bug it expected.
Guide to Pest Control Services
How to choose a pest control service
Decide how important natural pest control is to you
If you’re keen on ensuring that the measures you take against pests are organic, you want to secure a company that aligns with Eco-Wise. If you would prefer the immediate efficacy of pesticides, you’ll be fine calling in one of the more standard national providers. All of our top providers utilize IPM, so any one you choose will still deploy a balance.
Do some reconnaissance of your own
Start collecting data about the nature of the damage you find, what critters you’ve seen (appearance, number, location), and anything you can discern about their behavior. By the time a technician arrives, you’ll be better prepared to ask smart questions about their proposed treatments and help devise a more effective battle plan.
Use a pest control service with work guarantees
Because treatment methods are often targeted at a single developmental stage, it can take many treatments before a pest population is thoroughly cleaned out. Make full use of work guarantees and pick up the phone whenever you see a resurgence in damage — it’s a sure sign that another generation is hard at work. That said, experts advise basing your decision off of presence of pest, not damage levels.
What about pest control for Alaskans?
None of the otherwise “national” pest control corporations we appraised do business in Alaska. However, we’ve pulled together a short list of local candidates that fulfill our criteria.
Pest Control Service FAQs
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How can I prevent a pest infestation?
The Best Pest Control Service: Summed Up
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