This column is regarding service tickets that the pest control industry uses, or is supposed to use.
Whenever you have a professional pest company apply pesticides of any kind on your property, it is supposed to put on the service ticket exactly what it used, how much and what for.
When I checked the service tickets produced by a pest control company that services some city property in Santa Fe, the tickets were terrible. They had the date of the service, how much it cost and a thank you note for allowing them to service the building.
Companies are required to put the trade name of the pesticide they used, the technical name of the active ingredient, the EPA registration number of the pesticide and exactly how much they used.
They also have to put where they applied it, how they applied it and what the target pest was. It is irresponsible of them to say they just treated for “ants.” There are many different kinds of ants, they have different habits and pest persons should tell you exactly what species they are treating for. The same goes for any insect. Companies should put the name of the cockroach species, fly species, spider species or whatever they are treating for. Companies that don’t know the exact species of your pest should not be applying pesticides. The label of the pesticide will tell you what species they can treat for, so you should ask for a copy of the label as well. If the species of ant that they say they are treating for isn’t on the label of the pesticide they are using, then they are not using the right pesticide.
If you have a pest control service, check your most recent service ticket. If it doesn’t have the information I mentioned, then you can legally break any contract and hire a true professional company.
When a pest control person is treating around the outside, make sure he or she tells you what they are treating for as well and ask for a guarantee beneficial insects won’t be killed with the method being used.
If a pest control service uses rodenticides (which is ridiculous), make sure the bait station is labeled with the technical name of the rodenticide, the trade name, how much is in the bait station, the company name and phone number, and a poison control number. If this information isn’t available, don’t let it use the rodenticides. Also ask for a label of that pesticide and make sure the rodents it is trying to control are listed on the label.
Rodenticides shouldn’t be used because if a deer mouse or pack rat gets into the poison and dies where you can’t find the body and it has fleas, a health hazard could exist as those rodents carry plague fleas. Deer mice also can carry hantavirus and if it dies in a shed or someplace similar, a dangerous situation could develop. Mice and pack rats should be trapped only.
Also, check the operator license if a technician is using rodenticides to make sure the person has a 7B category on the license, which is Vertebrate Animal Control. Someone without that designation cannot legally set a mouse trap, much less use rodenticides. The person has to have a 7A designation to control insect pests in your home and a 7D to control termites.
Most companies are honest and competent and will have the proper licenses and will fill out service tickets properly as I have outlined, but there are some that are not qualified to be in the business and they should not be applying potentially dangerous pesticides if they are not properly licensed and if they can’t do the paperwork properly.
If you have any pest questions, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.