There are two varieties of pest control services: Landscape and structural.  For landscape IPM, consider using Bay Friendly Landscape Maintenance Specifications in your contract, check for the right licensing (#1 below), and ask the right questions (#3 below), To choose a structural pest control company (for pests in and around buildings), follow all three steps:

1) Confirm the pest control company is licensed.

Structural pest control:
All companies controlling pests in and around buildings are regulated by the California Structural Pest Control Board. You can check whether a company has appropriate licenses, and view their record of violations.

Landscape pest control:
Make sure that on pest management staff have either a Qualified Applicator License or an Agricultural Pest Control Advisor license (check state listings).

2) Look for a certified company (structural pest control only).

Seek third-party certified companies that follow Integrated Pest Management principles.

 If no certified companies are available in your area, review company surveys.

3) Ask the right questions.

  • Does the company try alternative approaches before turning to pesticides?
  • If they want to apply a pesticide (insecticide, fungicide, or herbicide) can they explain their reasons in an understandable way?
  • What kinds of preventive practices do they use?
  • If they have to use pesticides, how do they select least toxic products?
  • Do they use regular chemical treatments to prevent problems or treat only when weed, disease or insect threshold levels are exceeded?
  • Can they explain what will happen if the pesticide is not applied?

Additional questions can be found at Beyond Pesticides or Biointegral Resource Center.


Related Content

What Is Integrated Pest Management?
Starting a Safer Pest Control Program for Your Building
Pest Management Resources

Additional Resources

How to prevent and manage pests in your building or garden (Our Water, Our World)