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.
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 theworld 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.