Are Trappers Unfairly Limited?

Every three months the licensed pest control firms in Florida get a report from the state listing all the violations and those who committed them for that quarter. It’s a public list and one that I hope I’m never on. Many of the infractions seem ticky tacky but I understand rules are rules. Violations range from the seemingly harmless like not having proper paperwork but go all the way up to things like performing pest control without a license. Penalties also vary and can be as mild as a warning letter or as final as a cease and desist order. There is however a violation that has come to my attention a few more times lately than I remember in the past & it involves our friends the trappers. That is unlicensed pest control operations and my question is. Can there be exceptions to the rule and is this even fair?

Pest control disciplines can be broken down into multiple categories from state to state. There’s bird, rodent, termite, termite inspectors, pest control, bees, fumigation, trapping, weed, lawn, fumigation and more I’m sure. With as many distinctions of pest control service there can also be many different ways these are categorized for license purposes. Some licenses will allow for multiple pests included while a few are almost always separate. For the most part, this makes sense & I agree with the distinctions but when it comes to trappers should we allow some wiggle room?

Now I can see the argument of a lawn spray company not doing an airport for bird control but what about a trapper? Who better to have access to animal control products right? What about a home of a client who has birds in the attic? Can a trapper perform mouse control? Isn’t this an animal? Silly question but I’ve received more than a few letters from frustrated trappers indicating this was in some areas either a direct violation or at best, in the gray area.

In my state I’m licensed for pest control, termite and lawn and I am registered with the state for their list of trappers but I have never taken nor been required to have formal testing to show competency for trapping. Still, with just my pest license I have every right to charge you money for trapping an animal on your property such as a raccoon, armadillo, bats, squirrel and even the most commonly associated for a pest control man, rats and mice. After the animal(s) have been taken care of my license allows me to spray pesticide for any parasites the critters may have brought along with them. The trapper on the other hand cannot be so versatile and is not allowed to spray at all and in some areas not even use a glue board for mice.

To me something seems a little skewed with this approach. Even state agencies trying to cut budgets allow for special certificates so their employees can do limited pest control procedures on government facilities. These limited certs require testing, annual renewals and ceu’s to assure the applicator has at least the basic knowledge to apply the products safely. Couldn’t this be done for trappers?

I realize that trapping rules are very different from state to state and for some-you have no problems like I’ve described at all. But for the trapper that can’t put down a glue board for a mouse or spray pyrethrin for bird mites once he’s taken out a nest. I believe this is unfairly limiting a valuable and skilled service.
What say you?

About The Bug Doctor

Jerry Schappert is a certified pest control operator and Associate Certified Entomologist with over two and a half decades of experience from birds to termites and everything in between. He started as a route technician and worked his way up to commercial/national accounts representative. Always learning in his craft he is familiar with rural pest services and big city control techniques. Jerry has owned and operated a successful pest control company since 1993 in Ocala,Florida. While his knowledge and practical application has benefitted his community Jerry wanted to impart his wisdom on a broader scale to help many more. was born from that idea in 2007 and has been well received. It is the goal of this site to inform you with his keen insights and safely guide you through your pest control treatment needs.

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  • Mel

    We also have pesticide categories for public (gov. employees) and private (land owners) applicators but they can not apply pesticide for profit. For profit applications fall under commercial operator licensing requirements and a trapper spraying for mites is petforming a service which requires the appropriate license. It is no different than me having to fullfill the requirements to obtain a wildlife license. However, I do not think he should have to be licensed for non chemical control such as trapping commensal rodents or heat treatments. I have a questionfor you. Yesterday as I was placing nontoxic mouse glueboards, I noticed a NY EPA number on them. Why is that?

  • David McDaniel

    I am glad this observation has been posted. The process of getting the catagories you need to operate a pest control business is no where near fair. The wildlife management field has come a long way over the years and many of us know that we operate in a gray area of the law. Actually in some states pest control as defined comes into effect on routine jobs. For example the term device makes it illegal to install bird spike or wire to prevent roosting. Odor neutralizers are pesticides, trapping mice, advising clients on best methods is illegal but not enforced. Personally I am getting licensed but have run into the training issue and that has me stumped. Being forced through the private sector after twelve years owning a business is a HUGE issue ethically. I do not want to use anyone, lie or decieve a potential employer yet I am realizing the system encourages this action. I have explained my situation to no less than twelve companies and have beeneen rejected for two reasons. 1) “I don’t know you” or.2)We do not hire potential competition. I have been told I had to do this the “hard way”. After some investigations every company I spoke with that went the hard way either worked for or their family member worked for another company and quit to open shop. This is not hard it is wrong. Especially if purposely they set out to do that from the beginning. I am needing to volunteer or observe a pest control for a few months to get my required training. Hope to make headway by networking at pest world. Will anyone please help me get through the policy process without me having to be dishonest. I really want this and don’t mind moving somewhere for the training. It is a personal goal. To answer your initial question. YES. Trapping is only one tool of our work. Thank You.

  • David McDaniel


    A glueboard is a device that works upon itself to mitigate. You must be licensed to use them for commercial purposes. FIFRA must have also made this decision by advice from lobby. Just guessing. Take care.

  • Hey David- That sounds frustrating as hell. Here in my town there are a few good companies that will allow for someone to get “carded” & get the time they need for another license category. I’ve done it for someone myself.  In this circumstance it’s just a matter of participation in a certain amount of jobs and then taking the test. I would hesitate & understand why others do as well for  someone who has no license at all– Here you need 3 years total and if I had to ride someone that long on my insurance etc. –well I might have the same kind of answer– That brings me to my point. Government employees-namely prisoners, can get ‘special ID’  and even some landscapers I think. I KNOW golf courses can spray things I’m not even allowed to by or use and yet none of these folks make their living in pest control. As a trapper you are involved in control of unwanted pests so I believe at the very least you should be afforded the chance to apply for and receive a limited  pesticide application license to go along with your trapper credentials. Ceu’s, standards and fees to renew should be part of it and I don’t think you or anyone else would have a problem with that. If we let these other (in my mind) less qualified people in on a limited scope we should also let in the trappers. It’s time we recognize their contributions to pest control and bring em in out of the GRAY.

  • Sounds to me like your boss bought glue boards on line…. lol   I don’t know why but I’ll look into it more-David may have the answer in his comment.  Is a trappers license hard to get in Washington?  I believe Oregon isn’t bad as I looked into it once for my brother who lives in Portland. 

  • Mel

    The glueboards where purchased from Terminix, oops I mean Univar! I searched our state wish and wildlife’s website and wrote an email enquiri.g. If I remember correctly its easier to get a pest applicators license than it I as a Commercial trapping license.

    I do feel bad for guys living in states where they progect the status quo and have rediculous hurdles to overcome but a solution for David might be to rent-a-license. Which state is he in?

  • Mel

    I hope you can decrypt my typos. Please forgive. Smart phone+ big fingers= typos:)

  • I have that affliction as well  😉

  • I think he’s from Colorado–  That would be interesting to know about the requirements and ease/lack thereof on acquiring a trapper cert.  Trapping is fascinating to me and I do a limited amount but these guys who grab raccoons by the scruff or a snake by the tale are my heros.  

  • David McDaniel

    Hi guys…..In Colorado and in many states there is absolutely no licence to trap pest animals. I have asked for a regulating authority and neither the division of wildlife or the department of ag wants us. Many in the animal damage control field do not want any type of regulation. There is much in fighting to block this and we will never be credible as long as we are kept in the grey. For now I am in Mississippi and was hoping to find help here in training. So far no such luck. If this does not resolve I will have to move again soon. Where I don’t know yet but I can never be faulted for doing my best. Also, I heard the term “rent a license” before. Not sure how this exactly works but if it is what I think it is leads me to the question of how do you as a license holder follow up to make sure pesticides are applied properly? All good info and thank you doc for providing a forum to discuss this.

    “will travel for training”

  • “rent a license” is perfectly legal in most areas– it’s just not carried out in a legal way– ie; the ‘renter’ hardly ever sees or interacts with the ‘rentee’ unless the check doesn’t clear. I would be in favor of banning the practice except it is of benefit to the industry and those in need when done correctly……….