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Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Pest Control Service in Phoenix

Frequent pest sightings are common in all metropolitan areas in the US. Fifteen percent of households in Phoenix reported seen rats and roaches in their home in 2019. While you may want to save some money by attempting a DIY pest control solution, it is a smart choice to leave this challenge to professionals properly trained to handle the risks of using pesticides and complete the job in accordance with EPA standards. However, when you are in search of a professional pest control firm in Phoenix, ensure to ask the following questions to ascertain their expertise:

Are You Licensed to Practice as an Exterminator in Phoenix?

Individuals in Phoenix who wish to provide structural pest control services must obtain a license from the Arizona Department of Agriculture (AZDA) through its Arizona Pest Management Division (PMD).

The PMD-issued licenses will allow the licensee to carry out pest control services in the following categories:

  • Industrial and institutional pest management. This includes pest management in residential and commercial establishments.
  • Wood-Destroying Organism Management. This is done by inspecting the presence or absence of wood-producing organisms in a building or other structure.

The PMD issues two types of licenses to individuals interested in carrying out pest control services in the categories mentioned above:

Certified Applicator: A certified applicator is a pest management professional licensed by the PMD to provide exterminator services in households. These individuals may also apply restricted-use pesticides while working for a PMD-regulated business.

Qualified Applicator: These individuals carry out exterminator services in homes and offices and offer restricted pesticide use services. Individuals who wish to become a qualified applicator must meet either of the following experience requirement:

  • Must have a certification as an applicator for at least 24 months before the start of their application; or
  • Must have completed a 12 semester hours course
  • Must have completed 12 semester hours or its equivalent within the ten years preceding the application in pest management courses
  • A Bachelor's degree in agricultural sciences, biological sciences, or pest management with 12 semester hours or its equivalent in pest management courses

Individuals who wish to become a certified or qualified applicator must complete an application form, pay an application fee and upload other necessary documents, such as a statement of lawful presence via AZDA's online licensing and payment system. After reviewing the application submitted by the applicants, PMD will notify the applicant if they are eligible for certification. Qualified applicants must then take and pass a core and at least one category-specific PMD exam with 75% or higher in each.

Applicators with valid PMD licenses must also apply for a business license from the PMD before operating a pest management business. Applicants must submit a complete business license and qualifying party registration application via AZDA's online platform. In addition to the application form, applicants must submit the following:

  • The applicable fee
  • The proof of financial security
  • The name and physical address of the statutory agent of the business
  • A copy of the Articles of Incorporation or Organization, Certificate of Limited Partnership, trust, trade name certificate, partnership agreement, or other evidence of the form of business organization.

It is important to note that a pest management business can not be licensed unless they have a qualifying party registered with PMD. A qualified applicator can register as a qualifying party of a PMD registered business licensee. As a qualifying party, the applicator will be responsible for training, equipping, and supervising applicators of a PMD business licensee. To be licensed as a qualifying party, applicants must complete an application form and pay all applicable fees via AZDA's online platform.

If you have any inquiries regarding the licensing process for exterminators and their businesses, you can contact the Arizona Pest Management Division at (602) 542-3578. Before hiring an exterminator in Phoenix to carry out any type of pest control work in your home, make sure that they have the proper license. You can use the PMD's pest management professionals search platform to find a suitable exterminator near you. Likewise, you can also find a licensed exterminating company via the PMD's pest management companies search platform.

Are You Registered with the Arizona State Pest Control Association?

Asides from confirming if your intended exterminator holds a valid state-issued license to carry out pest control services, it is also important to find out if the individual is a member of the Arizona Pest Professional Organization (AZPPO). This group of professionals has a Code of Ethics that guides them. Being a member of this association also provides exterminators with various benefits, such as access to continuing education, insurance, and industry information.

This ensures that the exterminator you hire to provide pest control services is licensed and has the necessary skills to deliver a high-quality service. The AZPPO can also help resolve disputes involving its members and clients. In addition to state associations, these individuals may also belong to the National Pest Management Association, which can help provide them with additional resources and educational opportunities.

You can find local exterminating companies in Phoenix members of the Arizona Pest Professional Organization via its member list. You can also use the NPMA Find a Local Exterminator platform to find exterminators near you. However, before hiring any exterminator claiming to be a member of these organizations, you should ensure that they provide proof of their membership. Also, take further steps to authenticate such membership proof from the relevant organization.

How Much Do You Charge for Pest Control Services and Why?

Before you finalize a work contract, you must know the exact cost of the intended pest control service. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly wage for an exterminator in Phoenix is around $21.37. However, this figure can vary depending on the type of work and other factors, which include:

  • The type of pests involved
  • The level of infestation
  • The size of the infested area where the work has to be done
  • How frequent the exterminator has to visit.

Before you hire an exterminator, it's important that you thoroughly research the different options available to find the best deal. To ensure that you get the best price, it is important that you get and compare the multiple estimates from different exterminators to find the most suitable professional for your specific pest service needs. Also, be aware that some unscrupulous individuals will try to get you to hire them by offering you the lowest estimate.

Pest control workers in Phoenix earn an average annual wage of $44,450. The list below compares the average hourly wages of this category of professionals in the city with those in other parts of the State of Arizona and other locations across the United States:

Phoenix Pest Control Workers Average Hourly Wage
$21.37
Tucson Pest Control Workers Average Hourly Wage
$20.69
Lake Havasu Control Workers Average Hourly Wage
$18.43
Prescott Control Workers Average Hourly Wage
$17.78
Yuma Pest Control Workers Average Hourly Wage
$16.51
New York City Pest Control Workers Average Hourly Wage
$21.35
Philadelphia Pest Control Workers Average Hourly Wage
$19.66
Houston Pest Control Workers Average Hourly Wage
$19.30
Chicago Pest Control Workers Average Hourly Wage
$19.05
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Do You Comply with the City of Phoenix Regulations for Pesticide Application?

Section R3-8-301 of the Arizona Administrative Code provides guidelines that exterminators must follow when using pesticide products and devices while carrying out pest services. Hiring an exterminator who is conversant with these laws will help prevent the violation of this law. Also, a knowledgeable exterminator will ensure that no danger is posed to your health and your household while using certain pest products. Some key requirements of this law include:

  • An applicator may only use a certain pesticide if it has been registered or approved by the Department. The product must not have passed its EPA end-use date.
  • An applicator must not misuse a pesticide or device. For instance, applying or handling a pesticide product or device in a manner inconsistent with the product or device labeling
  • Providing pest management service or handling a certain type of pesticide without wearing clothing is prohibited. Exterminators should always use equipment required by the label or label to protect themselves from exposure to harmful chemicals.
  • An exterminator must ensure that all equipment used to treat or mix a certain type of pesticide is in good working condition.
  • An exterminator should also clean a spilled pesticide following the directions and label of the product to avoid exposing it to humans. If a spill that can endanger lives does occur, the exterminator should follow the recommendations of local authorities and health officials.
  • An exterminator can only apply a certain type of pesticide at a rate provided by a Special Local Need registration issued by the Arizona Department of Agriculture and the pesticide labeling.

You can also get more information about the regulations relevant to your specific pest service by contacting the Pest Management Division of the Arizona Department of Agriculture (AZDA) at (602) 542-4373. You can also contact AZDA's consumer information line at (800) 223-0618 for more pest management information.

What Type of Pest Control Method Are You Using?

When you are planning to hire an exterminator in Phoenix, you must know the control method they will use. Also, ensure that the preferred method is suitable to get rid of the pest infestation in your household. There are various methods that professionals in the city commonly use to get rid of pests.

  • Organic Pest Control: This involves using various methods such as traps and sprays. This method can help limit pests' damage to your property and prevent other plants and animals from being affected. However, it can also be ineffective in properly removing the pests. Nonetheless, exterminators in Phoenix use organic pesticides that contain natural substances like Neem oil, Boric acid, Kaolin Clay, Limonene, Ryania, Pyrethrins, and Diatomaceous earth. Other leading organic products used by these professionals include:
    • Eco Defense Organic Home Pest Control Spray
    • EcoRaider Ant & Crawling Insect Killer
    • EcoSmart Ant & Roach Killer
    • Essentria IC3
    • Verdana Cold-Pressed Organic Neem Oil
  • Biological Pest Control: This is a type of pest control that involves introducing a new living organism to control the pest population. Exterminators may introduce ants, mites, aphids, and lacewings to control pests. This method is considered to be safe and environmentally friendly. However, its effectiveness is dependent on the species that it introduces and the conditions under which it will be utilized.
  • Chemical Pest Control: This is a more effective method of getting rid of pests. It involves using various chemicals, which can be found in different forms such as liquid, solid, or aerosol. These chemicals can be hazardous to people and other living organisms. They need to be handled appropriately by an expert. Most of the chemicals used by professional pest control agents for their work are based on active ingredients like hydramethylnon, acephate, carbaryl, and permethrin. Exterminators in Houston commonly use these types of products Bifen IT Concentrate, Suspend SC Concentrate, Termidor SC Concentrate, and CimeXa Insecticide Dust for their pest control services
  • Electronic Pest Control: This is a type of pest control that uses devices that emit sound and electromagnetic signals to repel the insects and rodents residing in your home. Some of the most popular electronic pest control products professional exterminators use include the MaxMoxie, Pest Soldier, and the Victor M756K.
  • Hygiene Control: This type of control is carried out by ensuring that the environment is kept clean and free of pests. It eliminates the possibility of pests breeding and growing in the area.

Getting a licensed and properly trained professional to handle your pest problem is the best way to ensure an effective solution to your pest problem. Several online directories provide listings of licensed pest control companies in Phoenix. You can use the Arizona Pest Professional Organization member list to find exterminators near you or online review websites like the Better Business Bureau to find exterminators and read reviews of their work.

What Household Pests Do You Control?

Exterminators offer various types of pest control services in Phoenix, including pest extermination and pest removal, which involves getting rid of pests that have already established themselves in your home. Then there is pest prevention which involves taking the necessary steps to prevent these pests from entering the house in the first place.

Although many professionals can provide effective and efficient pest control services in the city, some have an area of specialization. Before hiring an experienced exterminator in Phoenix, you must confirm the type of pest services they provide. In addition, make sure you confirm how much the services will cost you. Below are cost estimates that are available for each type of service that exterminators in Phoenix provides in Phoenix:

Ant exterminator
$208 - $458
Bats removal
$167 - $242
Bed bug exterminator
$158 - $358 per room
Bugs and Insects treatment
$128 - $154 for initial treatment (standard 4-bedroom home)
Carpet beetle exterminator
$208 - $358
Cockroach exterminator
$258 - $950
Flea exterminator
$56 - $255
Exterminator for mice, rats, and other similar rodents and small animals
$255 - $1,400
Mosquito exterminator
$113.51 - $164 (for one-time treatment)
Rodent inspection and trap setting
$146 - $161
Spider exterminator
$147 - $308
Termite exterminator
$930 - $2,900 (excludes cost of repairs for damages caused by these insects)
Tick exterminator
$108 - $143
Wasp exterminator
$140 - $470
Weevil exterminator
$80 - $250

Depending on the type of infestation, you may need multiple treatments and visits from an experienced exterminator.

Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Exterminators in Phoenix?

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were four fatal and 2,820 non-fatal injuries among pest control workers in the United States in 2020. Adequate liability insurance and workers' compensation coverage are two of the most important factors you should consider when hiring an exterminator. Hiring an insured exterminator protects you from being financially or legally responsible for any bodily injury or property damage while an exterminator is working in your household.

To be licensed as a certified or qualified applicator by the AZDA's Pest Management Division, an exterminator must provide proof of financial security. The following financial security will be acceptable, provided it will be adequate for the exterminator's protection and that of the clients who may sustain bodily injury or property damage due to their operations. These include:

  • A general liability insurance, self-insured retention, or surety bond all issued by an insurance provider with a valid certificate of authority or permitted to transact surplus lines in Phoenix or the State of Arizona generally.
  • A bank statement must be provided with proof of financial security. It should contain a money deposit equal to or over the required amount.
  • A certified check containing an amount equal to or greater than the excess required amount.

Before hiring an exterminator, make sure that you confirm the exterminator is licensed and has met their financial security requirements. Also, request a copy of their valid insurance certificate and bonding documents. Ensure that you confirm the validity of these documents with the issuing insurance company. In Phoenix, every pest control or exterminator business with employees must carry workers' compensation insurance. To find out more about these requirements, contact the Phoenix office of the Industrial Commission of Arizona at (602) 542-4661. For general information regarding proof of financial security and insurance requirements for exterminators, you can contact ADZA at (602) 542-4373.

How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Exterminator in Phoenix

The complaints about pest control businesses, deceptive exterminators, and wrong application of pesticides in Houston are usually handled by the Arizona Department of Agriculture and the Office of the Arizona Attorney General.

In July 2020, the Arizona Department of Agriculture, through the Pest Management Division, opened a complaint against Desert Foothills Landscape for violating various pest control regulations by carrying on business as a pest control company without a business license or a registered qualifying party. The company was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine for the violation.

Even though many legitimate companies in Phoenix offer efficient pest control services, some deceptive individuals will still try to scam you. Some of the techniques utilized by deceptive exterminators to defraud unsuspecting homeowners in the city include

  • Unsolicited door-to-door service. These deceptive individuals may show up to tell you your home needs immediate attention after showing you planted proof to convince you further.
  • They request for full payment upfront and always prefer to be paid in cash.
  • They avoid executing a written contract with you.
  • They claim to offer œgreen pesticides and then use regular chemicals. They charge a premium rate for these services and then use toxic chemicals.

When hiring an exterminator in Phoenix, you can take the following precautionary steps to ensure your intended exterminator is suitable. Doing so can help prevent you from falling victim to the fraudulent practices of the professionals. These include:

  • Get referrals from friends and family members on local and reliable exterminators in Phoenix. You can also check out third-party websites like the Better Business Bureau and Arizona Pest Professional Organization.
  • Avoid hiring door-to-door exterminators. Before you hire an exterminator, make sure that you thoroughly research the conditions of the pest problem you have. This will allow you to identify the right exterminator to carry out the work.
  • Get and compare multiple estimates of different exterminators. Ensure these exterminators inspect the affected area they may be working to enable them to provide you with a more accurate estimate.
  • Make sure that your intended exterminator is fully insured and bonded.
  • Ensure you research the types of pesticide the exterminator will be using for the job. This enables you to rule out if the product contains any allergen that may cause harm to you and your household.
  • Confirm if your intended exterminator has a valid license via AZDA's pest management professionals search platform. To search for an exterminating company, you can use AZDA's pest management companies search platform.
  • Before you hire an exterminator, make sure that the contract includes all the details of the service and the deal's cost. Also, make sure that the terms and conditions of the contract are communicated.

You can file a complaint against a deceptive exterminator in Phoenix with the Pest Management Division of the Arizona Department of Agriculture by filling and submitting a complaint form to:

Pest Management Division
1688 West
Adams Street,
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
Phone:(602) 542-4373

Upon receipt of the completed form, PDM will review the information and determine if this matter falls under its authority. If it is, an investigator will then contact you to arrange an interview for further investigation.

You can also file a complaint about detective dealings with an exterminator with the Arizona Attorney General by filing a complaint online or contacting the office at:

Office of the Arizona Attorney General
2005 North Central Avenue,
Phoenix, AZ 85004
Phone: (602) 542-5025

Choosing Between Local Pest Control Firms and Large National Chains: The Pros and Cons

After checking various factors such as the reputation of the company, the services they provide, licensing status, and the coverage they offer, choosing an appropriate and effective pest control firm can be a bit challenging. Usually, people are stuck between choosing a local or large firm like Orkin, Terminix, Arrow, Bulwark, Aptive, and Viking for pest control services in your structures.

To help you make a credible choice, you can consider the pros and cons of using a local firm or a big national brand:

Pros

Local Pest Control Firms
For a low price, you can treat and maintain your pests.
Affordable and customizable pest control plans for different pests.
Understands the local environment's seasonal and climatic conditions that bring about pest infestation.
Due to the proximity of the service area, it is quicker to get a response to your call.
Provides more personal customer service.
Nationwide Pest Control Brands
Ideal for treating large areas such as houses and offices. It can also be used for other commercial establishments.
Standard pricing and a plan.
Ideal for treating specialized pests which requires sophisticated tools that will be effective.
Retain the services of various professional pest control experts.
The scope of the service offerings of a professional pest control company is also broader.

Cons

Local Pest Control Firms
Specialized pest control equipment is limited.
Manpower is limited.
Nationwide Pest Control Brands
It is not affordable because it involves experience in pest control plans.
Customers are treated the same way.