Pest Control Not Found In Any Manual

To get a professional pest control applicators license you’ve got to go through quite a bit of training. Books books and more books, on the job training, ride alongs, training classes, videos, in house testing and more. All of this and all it gets you is the chance to take a whopper of a test, which if you pass, you finally receive certification and can legally apply pesticides on your own. This cert however comes with restrictions and penalties if you don’t live up to its standards. Your certification is usually not recognized in other states,(some are reciprocal) if you don’t attend continuing education you won’t be able to renew it, if you break the rules or laws that go along with the license you may be fined, in order to perform pest control using your certification you must carry insurance, if you mis-apply a product or do other certain egregious things- it could be revoked completely.

The typical homeowner on the other hand doesn’t get any training whatsoever. Well that’s if you discount the fact that they saw a picture of the bug they want to kill on the label of a pesticide sitting on a stores shelf. They are free to buy and dispense what they will and until a problem arises, there is very little consequence. About the only thing they can’t do is (legally) apply pesticides for money but– have a few fleas? no problem they can and do get everything I can buy and treat the same areas where kids and pets play and live. Feeling earth friendly today? No worries-3 boxes of Borax in the carpets isn’t that expensive. German roaches? c’mon, who needs a license?- a gallon and a half of hosing down the kitchen where they prepare foods, a few dozen moth balls and they’re good to go. Bed bugs? a good ol recipe of rubbing alcohol on every surface and bada bing-done.

On an open shelf--Can you spell dichlorvos?

So I’m not sure why it comes as a surprise to anyone why I really don’t support DIY pest control (as a whole) even when it is “green” products being used. Or why I get nasty comments & e-mails whenever I shine a light on the way these “safe organic” products are strewn about. I’m the one whose gone through all of the hoops to professionally do what I do but still I have to endure the constant mantra of uninformed opinions as if I don’t have a clue. I’m also a bit mystified that those professionals who have chosen the organic approach aren’t just as up in arms about this as me. Isn’t their license worth something to them? And no! I’m not just picking on the green movement here- I’d venture to say that FAR more “less than earth friendly” DIY products are bought and used by homeowners. My point is, what is my certification worth? How about yours?

I doubt the day will ever come when pesticide use by homeowners is ever banned- there’s far to much money in it. But certification tests are actually becoming harder and enforcement of rules for our industry seems much more strict then in times past. With the

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world wide web everybody now a days is a termite tech, a rat catcher or a self described bed bug expert. It’s just somewhere between reading an article and grabbing their “auto trigger” spray gun, they forget everything they’ve read in their version of the manual.

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. Pestcemetery.com 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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  •  I agree, I agree and I agree but here in lays the BIG problem at least for me. I never thought that I would feel this way but if they are going to by it anyway they might as well by it from me. The snotty nosed kid at the big store will tell them anything they want to hear about which bug it will kill and they will by it and probably not read the label or apply it correctly. So in jumps ME, I can sell, explain it and get additional work from it later.

    Now I know you’re still not happy with the outcome but they were going to by it somewhere else anyway, period. So I get a piece of the proverbial pie as well.  The sweet part is when it doesn’t work and they come to me, or when they promise to faithfully do it monthly and they don’t – they come back to me.

    Hopefully they apply it correctly because at least I practice good stewardship by telling them to read the label I just gave them. They sometimes even write notes to themselves when I’m explaining not to gloog gloog it but tip and measure.

    But I agree with you,  but the soapbox will only go so high and we will never stop consumers from buying pesticides…

  • I see DIY all the time, my favorite is the duck tape on bed seems, even though this has nothing to do with chemical.  It has lots to do with false information.

  • Stuto1

    Its only a matter of time before one of these online pesticide sales companies goes down with a big thud. Go ahead and keep selling to non-licensed professionals and one of them is going to miss use it and sue them into non-existance. The lawyers will be waiting!

    As an industry we should be asking the Pesticide Manufacturers why they are selling to them. They are a big part of this problem.

  • I thought about this same thing today- sort of like a bar tender who is responsible for selling the drink to a person who then has a wreck…. I don’t subscribe to that per se but it is a fact of life.

  • You gave me a great idea for an article– I have some funny pics of DIY attempts at exclusion etc. I’ll credit you when it’s out.

  •  People misuse products all the time. It’s not a matter of when it’s going to happen, it happens daily. Ever ask a homeowner the last time he read the use instructions on the bottle of Malathion he has on his shelf in the garage?

  • Actually I have- can you say ‘confused look?’ Not sure if they were confused BECAUSE they read it or confused BECAUSE I asked. Excellent point.

  • At least I’d know that if you sold it to someone- they’d get a label and a course on how to apply it but then I think, how many Keith’s are actually out there? How about this idea– only licensed and reputable certified operators can also own and operate DIY stores. And the homeowner would have to sign a statement that all the pertinent information was explained to them.

  • Grant

    there is a big hardware store chain here in australia that have a whole isle just for pest control products, which are extremely over priced , and marketed to to do it yourself crowd,  a few months ago i gave a termite quote to the manager of a commercial customer of ours andwhen i asked if she was still interested in having us do the work for her  stated that she can buy the products online a lot cheaper and was going to try doing it herself.

  • I’ve ran into similar situations many times. We have those same type of stores with pest products from floor to ceiling. If you need help or have a question–they just call somebody over from plumbing to ‘expertly’ guide you through.

  • Mel

    I just read a bait recipe for ants from a mommy type blog. A lot of the information was good. It contained information for sanitation, wiping up pheromone trails, exclusion, non toxic reppellents, and even informed her readers spraying with soap does not have a residual effect. Then came the ant bait recipe. equal portions or sugar to borax, and add water until its a paste. Then had to laugh.  Im sure you guys can figure out why.

  • I think I know– could there be a turkey baster involved? lol