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Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Pest Control Service in Charlotte

Pest infestations are a valid concern for residents of Charlotte. Termites alone are estimated to cost homeowners more than $2 billion annually in control and preventive measures. While there are several effective DIY pest treatment options available, improper application of these treatments can render them ineffective and even dangerous, thereby necessitating the need for professional pest control services. Asking the questions provided below can help ensure that you hire exterminators in Charlotte that can expertly identify, treat, manage, and prevent ongoing pest problems in your home:

Are You Licensed to Practice as an Exterminator in Charlotte?

The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) regulates the activities of exterminators that operate in Charlotte through its Structural Pest Control and Pesticides Division. This division consists of a Structural Pest Control Section and a Pesticide Section, and these sections offer several licensing and certification options to interested parties:

  • Registered Technician: individuals with this license type must work under the direct supervision of a licensed structural pest control operator or a non-commercial certified applicator
  • Certified Applicator: certified applicators are authorized to use or supervise the use of restricted-use pesticides in and around structures. However, they cannot perform commercial structural pest control work unless this work is being done on behalf of a licensed structural pest control operator. Certifications may be earned in at least one of the three categories namely, Phase P - Household Pests, Phase W - Wood Destroying Organisms, and Phase F - Fumigation
  • Licensed Structural Pest Control Operator: individuals with this license type are authorized to provide structural pest control services to members of the public. Structural pest control operators can be licensed in at least one of three phases, which are Phase P - Household Pests, Phase W - Wood Destroying Organisms, and Phase F - Fumigation. Note that these licenses are only issued to certified applicators that have attained a minimum of two years' work experience in the appropriate phase
  • Commercial Ground Applicator: this license is required by individuals that apply any types of pesticides for compensation
  • Public Ground Operator: this license is issued to federal, state, county, or municipal employees that apply pesticides as part of their jobs
  • Aerial Applicator: this license type is issued to individuals that wish to apply pesticides through the use of planes, helicopters, or UAVs
  • Private Pesticide Applicator: this is required for farmers, or their employees, that apply restricted-use pesticides for agricultural purposes, on land that they own or lease
  • Pesticide Dealers: this license is required for individuals that wish to sell, distribute, hold, or make restricted-use pesticides available for use to end users
  • Pest Control Consultants: this license is required by individuals that offer or supply technical advice, supervision, or recommendations on the use of pesticides. Note that this license type can only be obtained by individuals that hold a Bachelor's, Master's, or Ph.D. degree in a biological or agricultural science and also have specific course work relevant to the area of consultation

Exterminators that wish to obtain the aforementioned licenses are typically required to meet certain eligibility requirements, which include:

  • Being at least 18 years old
  • Completing a training program or relevant certification courses
  • Passing a core examination as well as any applicable certification examinations
  • Providing proof of adequate educational or work-related experience, where applicable
  • Paying all stipulated fees
  • Providing proof of adequate insurance coverage
  • Submitting any relevant documentation that may be required at the time of the license application

Applications for examinations and licenses can be made by completing the appropriate structural pest control, pesticide exam, or pesticide license application forms and submitting these completed forms, along with all necessary fees and documentation, to the NCDA&CS via the submission channels indicated on the respective forms. Queries related to the NCDA&CS's licensing and certification process for exterminators can be directed to the department's Structural Pest Control and Pesticide Division at (919) 733-6100 and (919) 733-3556.

Confirming that your intended exterminator has been properly licensed by the NCDA&CS is an important step to take in ensuring that you receive satisfactory pest control services. You can do this online via the License Search platform that the department maintains and makes accessible to members of the public for this purpose.

It is important to note that, per the provisions of the state's Structural Pest Control Law and Pesticide Law of 1971, providing pest control and pesticide-related services in Charlotte without proper licensing or certification is considered a Class 2 Misdemeanor. In addition to the statutory punishments for this offense, violators of the aforementioned laws can also receive civil penalties of up to $2,000.

Are You Registered with the North Carolina State Pest Control Association?

In addition to licensing and certification, membership with the North Carolina Pest Management Association (NCPMA) is an important criterion to consider when looking for professional pest control services in Charlotte. The NCPMA is the leading pest control association in the city and across the State of North Carolina, and exterminators that belong to this association typically have access to relevant education and training resources on the latest pest control methods and technologies. This training and education, as well as the high standards that the association holds its members to, results in exterminators that are generally more experienced and skilled than their counterparts.

You can find exterminators in Charlotte that are active members of the NCPMA online via its Find a Professional platform. Note that some exterminators in Charlotte may also belong to other reputable pest control associations, such as the National Pest Management Association, to gain access to additional pest control-related resources. Regardless of this, you should always verify claims of pest control association membership made by any exterminator that you intend to hire and also confirm that they hold valid licenses issued by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS).

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

You should always find out how much your preferred exterminators charge for their services before you reach any final agreements with them. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, exterminators in the Charlotte area earn estimated wages of $18.41 per hour. However, several other factors will determine the actual cost of your requested pest control services, such as:

  • The pest type
  • The size of the infested area
  • The level of infestation
  • The type of pest control method to be used
  • The frequency of required pest treatments
  • Your location within the city

It is advisable to get cost estimates from several exterminators in the city and compare these estimates before making your final hiring choice. Doing this helps you get an idea of the going rates for your required pest control service within your vicinity and also ensures that you do not end up being bilked by unscrupulous exterminators. Note that professional exterminators will usually require an inspection of your home or the infested area before coming up with their estimates, and you may be charged separately for these inspections.

Pest control workers in Charlotte earn an average annual wage of $38,290. 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 North Carolina and other locations across the United States:

Charlotte Pest Control Workers Average Hourly Wage
$18.41
Raleigh Pest Control Workers Average Hourly Wage
$18.78
Winston-Salem Pest Control Workers Average Hourly Wage
$16.52
Greensboro Pest Control Workers Average Hourly Wage
$19.45
Fayetteville Pest Control Workers Average Hourly Wage
$16.99
Chicago Pest Control Workers Average Hourly Wage
$19.05
Houston Pest Control Workers Average Hourly Wage
$19.30
Los Angeles pest Control Workers Average Hourly Wage
$20.91
New York City Pest Control Workers Average Hourly Wage
$21.35

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

Several laws, regulations, and rules govern the use of pesticides, the actions of exterminators, and other pesticide-related activities within Charlotte. These include, but are not limited to, the North Carolina Pesticide Law of 1971, the North Carolina Structural Pest Control Law, Title 02 of the North Carolina Administrative Code, and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. Hiring an exterminator that is familiar with these regulations ensures that your pest problems are not only handled satisfactorily but also within the confines of the law.

Some key requirements of these pesticide and pest control laws and regulations for pesticide application in Charlotte include:

  • Pesticide products to be used, sold, distributed, or offered for sale in the city must be registered with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS)
  • Commercial pesticide application and structural pest control work in the city must be done by or under the direct supervision of state-licensed and certified professionals
  • Excess pesticides, pesticide containers, and other pesticide-related wastes must be safely disposed of per the labeling requirements of the product as well as any relevant rules of the North Carolina Commission for Public Health
  • Written proposals detailing the nature and scope of the proposed pest control service must be issued to property owners or their authorized agents before any work involving wood-destroying organisms is commenced
  • The NCDA&CS must be notified at least five days before fumigations are performed on residential structures. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, the Charlotte Fire Department, and all occupants and paces of business within 10 feet of the residential structure must also be informed before any fumigation is done
  • Proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) must be used during pesticide applications

You can get additional information or make inquiries concerning pest control and pesticide application laws and regulations in Charlotte by contacting the Structural Pest Control and Pesticide Division of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at (919) 733-6100 and (919) 733-3556. Queries on this subject can also be directed to the Charlotte CharMeck311 Customer Contact Center between the hours of 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m., Mondays to Fridays by calling 311 for callers within Mecklenburg County and (704) 336-7600 for callers outside the county.

What Type of Pest Control Method Are You Using?

Another crucial criterion that will determine whether or not your pest problem will be satisfactorily resolved is the type of pest control methods that your exterminators use. Professional exterminators in Charlotte typically implement an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach to effectively manage pest infestations and ensure that already treated infestations do not re-occur. This IPM approach usually includes a combination of multiple pest control tactics and methods, which include:

  • Physical and mechanical control: Physical and mechanical pest control methods utilize tools and equipment like baits, alarms, electromagnetic and ultrasonic emitters, traps, and other similar devices to detect, prevent, and get rid of pests in an area. Examples of common devices used for physical and mechanical pest control include MaxMoxie, Pest Soldier, Avantaway, and Authenzo SX-5006
  • Cultural control: Cultural pest control methods involve making modifications to an area that ultimately make this area inhospitable or inhabitable to pests. These habitat modifications typically include improving sanitary conditions and creating obstacles that block the target pests from entering the area
  • Biological control: Biological pest control methods utilize organisms like predators and parasites to control or suppress pest growth in an area of interest. An example of this is the use of insects like lacewings to curtail aphid infestations
  • Chemical control: chemical pest control methods utilize pesticides and chemicals that contain active ingredients like fipronil, boric acid, and piperonyl butoxide to rid an area of pest infestations. These chemicals can be hazardous if handled improperly, and thus this particular pest control method is usually only used in situations where the pest infestation has gotten beyond acceptable threshold limits

Be wary of exterminators that claim to have a one-size-fits-all approach to pest control and always find out the specific types of pest control methods that your exterminator intends to use for the job. Note that the most effective combination of pest control methods will largely depend on the nature and scope of your pest problem. Thus, it is a good idea to get the exterminator to thoroughly inspect the infested areas before recommending any pest control treatments. You can find exterminators in Charlotte that professionally combine the aforementioned pest control methods to get optimal results online via the North Carolina Pest Management Association's Find a Professional platform. The National Pest Management Association and the Better Business Bureau also provide online directories that you can use to find professional exterminators in Charlotte.

What Household Pests Do You Control?

Pest control services in Charlotte are broadly grouped into three categories, namely:

  • Pest prevention
  • Pest removal
  • Pest extermination

Pest prevention involves taking steps to forestall pest infestations in an area of interest while pest removal and pest extermination involve detecting and getting rid of pests in areas that have already been infested and mitigating the effects of these infestations.

As such, it is important to determine the types of pest control services that your intended exterminator is equipped to offer and confirm that these services align with your specific pest control needs before concluding any arrangements with them. Professional exterminators in Charlotte generally provide services that cover a wide range of household pests, such as rats, mice, ants, cockroaches, termites, weevils, bed bugs, and mosquitos. Confirming your intended exterminator's area of specialization ensures that you receive satisfactory pest control services and spares you the expense and stress of searching for another exterminator to re-do the botched job properly.

The list below provides estimates for commonly requested pest control services in Charlotte. Note that the actual costs of these services will be determined by factors like the nature and scope of your pest problem, the exterminator's reputation, and your location within the city:

Ant control
$85 - $375
Aphid control
$100 -$380
Bat removal
$160 - $235 per visit
Bed bug treatment
$280 - $670
Beehive removal
$90 - $400
Bug and insect treatment
$123.50 - $150 (for initial treatment for standard four-bedroom home)
Mosquito control
$105 - $155 (for one-time treatment)
Mouse/rat extermination
$75 - $250
Roach extermination
$85 - $375
Rodent inspection and trap setting
$140 - $155
Silverfish extermination
$125 - $385
Small animal removal
$70 - $370
Spider removal
$120 - $210
Termite extermination
$450 - $2,425
Termite treatment
$6.05 - $8.30 per linear foot (for chemical treatment)
Tick control
$170 - $450
Wasp control
$115 - $800

Do You Carry the Necessary Right Insurance Policy for Exterminators in Charlotte?

Exterminators that operate in Charlotte are required to maintain general liability insurance policies with a minimum single limit coverage of $100,000 per occurrence for property damage and $300,000 per occurrence for bodily injury, or a combined single limit of $300,000 per occurrence. Exterminators that run pest control businesses with three or more employees are also mandated to carry workers' compensation insurance for their employees.

The importance of ensuring that your exterminators are properly insured cannot be overstated. Over 2,800 pest control workers across the United States were injured on the job in 2020 alone, with about four of these injuries resulting in fatalities. Hiring an exterminator that is not properly insured makes you liable if any of these injuries happen in your home while they provide their services. In addition, you may also have to cover the costs of any property damage that occurs during the job.

Therefore, you should always confirm the insurance status of your intended exterminators by requesting copies of their insurance certificates and validating these documents with the appropriate insurance provider. Make sure that the exterminator's premiums are paid up and that their coverage limit is adequate for the scope of the job.

You can get additional information on the general liability insurance requirements for Charlotte exterminators by contacting the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at (919) 733-6100 and (919) 733-3556. You can equally contact the North Carolina Industrial Commission at (919) 807-2501, toll-free number (800) 688-8349, or via email, to get more information on the mandatory workers' compensation insurance requirement for exterminators that have three or more employees.

How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Exterminator in Charlotte

You may not be able to file complaints against bad exterminators with local authorities in Charlotte. Nonetheless, complaints of this nature are handled at the state level by agencies like the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) and the North Carolina Department of Justice (NCDOJ).

When searching for professional pest control services in Charlotte, you should always look out for signs of deceptive or fraudulent business practices on the part of the exterminators or pest control companies that you contact. Some signs that may indicate that you are dealing with fraudulent exterminators include:

  • They offer unsolicited pest control services
  • They use high-pressure and scare tactics to try to get you to sign up for their services
  • They offer cost estimates for their services without inspecting the infested area
  • They are evasive about their licensing and certification status
  • They request full payment for their services upfront, usually in cash or in checks made out to them personally and not a pest control company
  • They insist that verbal agreements are binding and downplay the need for written contracts

In April 2020, the NCDA&CS announced that it had reached settlement agreements with several exterminators that had been accused of fraudulent business practices, including a local Charlotte exterminator that had been operating with an expired pest control license. Similarly, in January 2022, the NCDOJ announced that it had received more than 28,000 complaints from aggrieved consumers across the state the previous year, with complaints concerning unsatisfactory professional services ranking amongst the top ten consumer complaint categories.

The following tips can help you protect yourself against fraudulent exterminators and potential pest control scams in Charlotte:

  • Do not rush into hiring exterminators when you notice a pest problem. Take your time to understand the problem and reach out to trusted friends and relatives for recommendations to reputable exterminators and pest control companies in the city. You can also get referrals to exterminators in Charlotte online via the Better Business Bureau and the North Carolina Pest Management Association's Find a Professional platform
  • Be wary of door-to-door exterminators
  • Always verify the licensing status of any exterminators that you intend to hire
  • Get and compare estimates for the required pest control work from up to three different exterminators or pest control companies
  • Make sure that your preferred exterminator is properly insured
  • Request a written service contract. Make sure that you read this contract thoroughly and have it explained carefully to you before signing it
  • Never make full payment for your required pest control services upfront

You can file complaints against bad exterminators and improper pesticide use in Charlotte by contacting the Structural Pest Control and Pesticides Division of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at (919) 733-6100 and (919) 733-3556. Note that you may be required to write and submit a brief letter detailing the nature of the problem and requesting an official investigation from the division. This letter should include your name, address, and contact phone number as well as the name and location of the exterminator or pest control company involved. You can submit this letter, along with copies of relevant documents related to the incident, via fax to (919) 733-0633 or via mail-in to:

North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services
1090 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1090

Consumer complaints concerning fraudulent, deceptive, or unfair business practices involving exterminators and pest control companies in Charlotte can also be filed with the Consumer Protection Division of the North Carolina Department of Justice via an online complaint form. You can also contact this division via toll-free number 1-877-5-NO-SCAM from within North Carolina or (919) 716-6000 from outside the state to file consumer complaints.

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

Although the process of selecting a professional exterminator can be narrowed down by checking off criteria like licensing, certification, reputation, areas of specialization, trade association membership, and pest control methods used, you may still be faced with several qualified choices at the end of the day. At this point, many homeowners in Charlotte are typically torn between retaining the services of a local exterminator and hiring a more-established national pest control company like Orkin, Terminix, Aptive, Mosquito Joe, Hawx, Ehrlich, Bulwark, Truly Nolen, Arrow Exterminators, or Viking. When faced with this dilemma, weighing the pros and cons of going with either a local or national pest control company in light of the following aspects can help you make an informed decision:

Pros

Local Pest Control Firms
Cheap for routine pest treatment and maintenance
Affordable and highly customizable Pest Control Plans
Deep understanding of the local environment's climatic conditions and seasonal pest infestations
Quicker service turnaround due to proximity
More personal customer service
Nationwide Pest Control Brands
Suitable for routine pest treatment of large homes, offices, and other commercial places
Standardized Pricing and Plan
Perfect for specialized pest treatments requiring sophisticated tools
Retain the services of a wide range of Pest Control professionals
Broader service offerings

Cons

Local Pest Control Firms
Limited specialized equipment for pest control
Limited manpower and resources to clean large areas
Nationwide Pest Control Brands
Expensive pest control plans
Same-treatment approach to all customers