At some point in a homeowner’s life, one or another sort of pest or weed will unfortunately invade the property—inside or outside. In most cases, homeowners mowing lawns in Antioch, Tennessee or cutting grass in Apopka, Florida can effectively control the surrounding environments by safely applying over-the-counter pesticide products. However, for larger infestation problems, hiring a licensed professional may be the only option. So why is it so important to hire a licensed pesticide professional? Pesticide certification provides an individual with a license to purchase highly potent, highly toxic, restricted-use pesticides for residential and commercial use. But the real value of the certification is that the Pest Management Professionals (PMP) learn to protect the natural environment, themselves, and the inhabitants of the property—especially children—against harmful chemicals.
Children are at increased risk of pesticide effects because they are smaller and brain, liver, and immune systems are still developing. On top of that, children spend more time in constant contact with grass and are more prone to putting hands in their mouths after playing in the lawn. Besides an increased risk of childhood cancers, research has shown that exposure to certain environmental chemicals can contribute to increased risk of childhood disorders such as autism and ADHD. With so many negative health implications surrounding pesticides and their application, how does a homeowner know whom to hire? Following the steps below can help any homeowner ensure he/she is hiring a true pesticide pro.
Ask thy neighbor—Ask friends, neighbors, and co-workers for the names of companies they have used in the past and with whom they had positive experiences. With that information in hand, seek estimates from multiple companies who take the time to explain the pest problems, the best options for treatment, and how to achieve positive outcomes. Stay away from “special” deals or high pressure sales tactics as the lowest price may not be the best value and could possibly be the result of cutting corners on safety.
Select a company to target exact needs—Seek a company that will meet the pest control needs of the specific problem. Trusted pesticide professionals will outline a tailored program to the property owner’s identified pests, extent of the infestation, pesticides to be used, and steps to minimize future infestation. Avoid any treatments with “secret” chemicals or are explained as “discounted chemicals” if work is done immediately.
Check references—Along with asking providers to present their license, which should be on their person at all times, inquire about the integrity of the pesticide management company. Just because an individual has earned his/her license, does not mean the PMP has been without a complaint. Check the firm’s reliability with the Better Business Bureau and/or local Chamber of Commerce. Also, confirm with the Pesticide Program in the state where the service is being performed to verify if complaints have been raised or been filed against the company or applicator. In addition, most trusted PMP’s are members of national organizations, like the National Pest Management Association, that offer the latest trainings, safety, research, and regulations and require members to follow best practices. Ask about any involvement in these national organizations because this shows a company’s commitment to said craft.
Require a list of chemicals—Review the pesticide’s ingredients with PMPs and discuss what chemicals will be used during the process. Another important factor is where the pesticides will be sprayed. Inside the home, under the home, around the home, or directly on the lawn, are all locations where these toxins could be sprayed. Homeowners need to keep these locations in mind to ensure safety and avoid inadvertent exposure. Have the PMP note any special safety concerns in the contract that should recognize family members with any health problems including allergies, infants, elderly, pregnant women, and pets.
With so many home professionals lurking in an area, one must be aware of the dangers of hiring one that is not properly licensed to handle and apply these hazardous chemicals safely. The health of children and other loved ones should be the main purpose to ensure any hired help has the proper certifications and licenses. By following these guidelines, homeowner’s can rest assured knowing they can keep the pests away and children at play.