|Consumer Advice - Pest Control Services|
|State Govt Pest Control Licensing is inadequate -
unfortunately, it is far too easy to start up a pest control business
employing people to use the more toxic pesticides who do not have the training
or skills to provide a safe and effective service.
State Govt Pest Control Licensing system is subject to National "competency" assessment guidelines. Mediocre testing can be carried by private Workplace Assessors who are not part of the TAFE system. The so-called competency assessment can be a combination of oral, written and visual tests. This means the assessment can be 1% in writing and 99% oral / visual test, with little audit trail.
Private assessors are given general guidelines in the National competency standards but there is no set standard test or specific knowledge requirements. Once privately assessed as "competent" the relevant State Authority (either Health Dept or WorkCover) will issue a pest control licence. There is no published list of the private Workplace Assessors so it is difficult to gauge the extent of the problem or if the Workplace Assessors are qualified in pest control.
The system is NOT working: Rumours run rife of individuals being assessed over the phone. Such rudimentary "competency" testing appears aimed more at the private assessors getting paid than protection of the consumer. Consumers regularly complain of unskilled ineffective and unsafe practices by licensed pest controllers.
Unrealistic price cutting and resultant inadequate servicing regularly occurs throughout Australia, with some companies operating from a rented residence using a mobile phone number - here today - gone tomorrow.
Using the cheaper more toxic pesticides? BEWARE of very low prices, as this may indicate use of unskilled technicians applying the cheaper old style more toxic pesticides. A hazard to themselves and the general public.
Modern pest control technologies are safer and more environmentally friendly but are more expensive and require a higher level of skill to ensure an effective result.
In most cases a serious pest infestation will require the use of some chemicals, in order to minimise the risk of on-going pest infestation. However, there are modern products and technologies available to suit environmentally sensitive situations.
Firstly - a thorough inspection of the premises particularly likely target pest habitat areas, the pest controller should recommend a range of pest control methods suited to your particular circumstances, with an emphasis on safety and an effective result.
| Termites? REMEMBER: home and building insurance does NOT cover
termite damage to the structural and other timbers in a building. For most types of construction a chemical soil barrier treatment
using Termidor or Premise will provide totally effective protection for over five years.
The most common complaint about some fly-by-night pest controllers is that "the service has not worked - the pests are back" or "the termites are still active in the house" and the business has disappeared.
Will the business likely be around in the future? Your enquiries should focus on whether the company has a solid reputation. If a problem arises in the future will the company still be in existance.
Review and assess the company's credentials track record, level of staff training and expertise, insurance cover, warranties offered and safety aspects employed.
several quotes and check out each of the companies First enquire
as to how long the business has been established. Do they have a good reputation
in the market-place. Are they a member of a recognised Pest Control Association?
Ask questions: about the relevant pests in your ptremises and the different treatment options the company employs, the chemicals used, their toxicity and safety aspects. Compare notes. Which company seems the more professional?
Insured? Make sure the company carries professional indemnity and public liability insurance particularly if you are seeking termite control services and inspection reports.
Be present during the termite inspection: Study the general presentation of the inspector, such as, was the inspector in company uniform, with proper identification? Did he/she arrive in a tidy motor vehicle and use quality equipment, including a moisture meter? Was a thorough inspection carried out? Were you presented with informative documentation regarding the inspection findings and treatment proposals? Did he/she adequately explain the alternatives so you are confident he/she knew his/her subject matter? Were there any other aspects that may indicate professionalism or otherwise? Make notes and comparisons.
Enquire re qualifications and experience of termite inspector: Does he/she have a TAFE Pest Control Certificate and a current State Govt WorkCover issued pest control license. Is the technician a Trainee? You should cite his/her WorkCover pest control license, noting name, number and expiry date.
Does the company use employees or sub-contractors: Be wary of companies with sub-contractors as problems often occur as the sub-contractors are obliged to pay for the supply of chemical and other costs but do not assume responsibility if the service proves to be inadequate at a later date.
Ask about any applicable back-up service period: For example, a company may provide you with a twelve month "FREE service period" for a chemical soil barrier treatment where the termite controller is confident a complete barrier is in place around the entire foot-print or perimeter of the building. This annual service period may be extended annually thereafter (at the customers option) provided necessary regular inspections and other essential control measures are carried out as recommended.
Be wary of companies that offer a 10 or 20 year warranty for termite protection as this commits you for that period, so you have to obtain (pay for) regular inspections and other work whether or not you want it. Such a long term warranty offer is usually unrealistic and a sign of short-term intentions.
|Books & References on Professional Pest Control|
Handbook on Pest Control by Arnold Mallis - the leading industry text book in the United States of America since 1945 - a most detailed textbook urban pest control -
exceeds 1,400 pages.
Termites - Biology and Pest Management by M.J. Pearce. An authoritative text on termites, their biology and termite control methods world-wide.
Termites and other Common Timber Pests by Phil Hadlington. This is an excellent book on Australian Termites and Timber Borers and their control - written by a leading pest control educational expert.
Trueman's Scientific Guide to Pest Control Operations A publication of Purdue University in Indiana, USA. A comprehensive text of more than 500 pages.
Wood-Destroying Insects, Wood Borers and Termites by J.W. Creffield. Another excellent publication by Australian experts from CSIRO Australia.
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