Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Pest Control Service in Oklahoma City
Pest infestations are quite prevalent in the United States, with about 78 to 98 percent of urban homeowners reporting daily roach sightings in their homes, sometimes as many as 900 roaches per home. Hiring a properly licensed exterminator to tackle these pest infestations gives you a measure of assurance that the job will be done expertly, safely, and in accordance with relevant federal pesticide application standards and local pesticide laws. To this end, you should always ask the following questions before hiring exterminators in Oklahoma City to ensure that you retain the services of a professional that is aptly qualified to rid your home of bothersome pests:
- Are You Licensed to Practice as an Exterminator in Oklahoma City?
- Are You Registered with the Oklahoma State Pest Control Association?
- How Much Do You Charge for Pest Control Services and Why?
- Do You Comply with the Oklahoma City Regulations for Pesticide Application?
- What Type of Pest Control Method Are You Using?
- What Household Pests Do You Control?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Right Insurance Policy for Exterminators in Oklahoma City?
- How to File a Complaint Against a
- Choosing Between Local Pest Control Firms and Large National Chains: The Pros and Cons
Per the stipulations of the Oklahoma Combined Pesticide Law and Rules, exterminators that wish to do business in Oklahoma City must be certified and licensed as pesticide applicators by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry (ODAFF) before they can legally do so. Exterminators that fail to comply with this certification and licensing requirement can face penalties ranging from $100 to $10,000 in fines, 30 days to one year in jail, or a combination of both.
The ODAFF offers three license types, which are:
- Commercial applicator licenses: this license authorizes the holder to engage in the commercial application of pesticides or the commercial use of pest controlling devices
- Non-commercial applicator licenses: this license is required by individuals that are not commercial applicators and use or supervise the use of restricted-use pesticides. Note that non-commercial applicators have to be supervised by property owners or managers that have been properly certified by the ODAFF when using or supervising the use of these restricted-use pesticides
- Consultant licenses: this license is issued to individuals that make pesticide recommendations for compensation or hire. Note that holders of this license are not authorized to purchase or apply these pesticides
Similarly, the ODAFF also classifies pesticide applicators into three groups, namely:
- Certified applicators: these are individuals that have met the department's certification standards with respect to pesticides. Exterminators that wish to become certified applicators are generally required to complete a core exam as well as category exams for each category of certification that they apply for. Note that applicants are typically expected to attain a score of at least 70% in their written exams. Also, depending on the area of certification being applied for, additional practical examinations may be required
- Service technicians: these are individuals that are employed by licensed commercial or non-commercial applicators to apply pesticides or utilize pest controlling devices, but are not certified applicators. Service technicians are also typically expected to pass a service technician examination with a score of at least 70%
- Private applicators: these are individuals that use or supervise the use of restricted-use pesticides for agricultural purposes on their property or property that is owned or rented by their employer. Note that private applicators are also required to sit for and successfully pass a private applicator examination
The ODAFF provides interested parties with access to a Candidate Information Bulletin that can be used to get information on scheduling applicator and technician examinations, examination venues, and other relevant examination-related information. Successful candidates can subsequently apply for ODAFF-issued licenses by completing and submitting a Pesticide Applicator License Application Form, along with all stipulated fees, to the department at:Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food & Forestry
Consumer Protection Services
2800 N Lincoln Boulevard
P.O. Box 528804
Oklahoma City, OK 73152-8804
Note that exterminators and pest control companies that employ service technicians may also be required to submit a separate Application for Service Technician Identification Form. Likewise, pest control companies that wish to engage in the sale or distribution of restricted-use pesticides must obtain a Restricted Use Pesticide Dealer permit for each business location that will be involved in this activity. Applications for this permit can be made online or by submitting an Application for Restricted Use Pesticide Dealer Permit Form to the ODAFF at the address provided above.
Inquiries concerning the ODAFF's certification and licensing procedure and requirements for exterminators and pest control companies that operate in Oklahoma City can be directed to the department at (405) 521-3864 and (405) 522-5974. You can also confirm that your intended exterminator and pest control company has been certified and licensed by accessing the online search portal that the ODAFF provides for this purpose.
In addition to ensuring that any exterminators you hire in Oklahoma City have been properly certified and licensed by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry (ODAFF), you should equally lookout for membership with the Oklahoma Pest Management Association. Membership with this association generally indicates that the exterminator or pest control company not only has a verifiable physical location but also follows a code of ethics, and has access to technical literature for training and consulting. This, in turn, provides you with an added measure of confidence that your pest control services will be provided professionally and competently.
Note that some professional exterminators in Oklahoma City may belong to other trade associations, such as the National Pest Management Association. Nonetheless, you should always verify claims of association membership made by any exterminator that you intend to hire by requesting proof of this membership and contacting the relevant organization to authenticate it. It is also a good idea to look up the association online to find out if they are well-known and have a good reputation in the pest control industry. This is especially important, as reputable pest control associations also provide an avenue for consumer mediation in situations where their members do not uphold relevant industry standards or provide unsatisfactory pest control services.
When looking for qualified exterminators to tackle your pest problems in Oklahoma City, you should always consider getting and comparing rates from at least three different exterminators in the city before making your final hiring selection. Per data published by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, exterminators in Oklahoma City are estimated to earn average wages of $17.58 per hour. However, the total amount of money that you can expect to pay for pest control services in the city is generally determined by a number of factors, including:
- The types of pests that need to be controlled
- The size of your home or the infested area
- The level of the pest infestation
- The urgency of the situation
- Your specific location within the city
- The type of pest control methods to be used
- The cost of materials and equipment needed for the pest control services
- The frequency of the required pest control services
Comparing price quotes and cost estimates for your required pest control services is a good way to guarantee that you are charged a reasonable rate for these services and also avoid being taken advantage of by unscrupulous exterminators in the city. However, when comparing these cost estimates, keep in mind that you should not automatically hire the exterminator that offers the cheapest rates. Be wary of exterminators who offer exceptionally low rates or discounts that seem too good to be true, and always conduct due diligence to confirm that they are legitimate.
Pest control workers in Oklahoma City earn an average annual wage of $36,570. The list below compares the average hourly wages of this category of professionals in the city with those in other parts of Oklahoma State and other locations across the United States:
Hiring an exterminator who is not only conversant with but also follows the provisions of the Oklahoma Combined Pesticide Law and Rules goes a long way toward guaranteeing that you receive satisfactory pest control services in Oklahoma City. This law regulates the sale, distribution, application, and use of pesticides in the city as well as several other pesticide-related activities, and violations of any of its provisions can result in civil and criminal penalties. Some areas of note concerning this law include:
- Exterminators and pest control companies must obtain valid certifications and licenses from the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry (ODAFF) before offering their services to residents of Oklahoma City
- Pest control companies that wish to sell or distribute restricted-use pesticides in the city must obtain state-issued permits before doing so
- Pesticides used within the city must be properly labeled and duly registered with the ODAFF. Certain pest controlling devices may also require registration as well
- Exterminators must notify the Oklahoma City Fire Department and other relevant local law enforcement officials before fumigating any buildings or enclosed spaces
- All spaces that require fumigation must be thoroughly inspected and evacuated before this fumigation and they must also be properly sealed to ensure that the fumigants do not escape. Warning signs must also be conspicuously posted at all entrances to the fumigated premises
- Unused portions and rinsates of pesticides must be properly disposed of
You can get additional information on the Oklahoma Combined Pesticide Law and Rules by contacting the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry at (405) 521-3864.
You should always inquire about the pest control methods used by the exterminator you intend to hire during the course of their work and ensure that these methods are appropriate for the nature and scope of your specific pest problem. Exterminators in Oklahoma City commonly employ several types of pest control methods during the provision of their services, and these can be collectively grouped into the following:
- Biological pest control: biological pest control involves using the natural enemies of a pest to control its growth and spread in an area. These natural enemies may be predators, pathogens, or parasitoids. An example of biological pest control is the use of lacewings and predatory beetles to control the population of aphids, spider mites, and other similar insects in an area. A major drawback of this method is that in some cases, the natural enemies introduced into the area can end up becoming pests themselves
- Physical pest control: this involves the use of devices like traps, baits, blockers, rodent catchers, and ultrasonic or electromagnetic emitters like Pest Soldier and MaxMoxie to catch, repel, or stop pests from infesting an area. This pest control method is generally considered environmentally safe, however, it may not be very effective when used alone
- Cultural pest control: cultural pest control focuses on using lifestyle modifications and physical changes to make spaces inhabitable to pests. These changes typically involve improving the hygienic conditions of the space in question
- Chemical pest control: chemical pest control involves the use of pesticides and other chemicals that contain active ingredients like boric acid, carbaryl, and permethrin to get rid of pest infestations in affected areas. Some common pesticide products used in the city include CimeXa Insecticide Dust, 50% Malathion Spray, Home Pest Control Spray, and Natria 706230A Insecticidal Soap Organic Miticide. Note that chemical pest control methods are typically used as a last resort and require professional application as the chemicals used in these methods can be hazardous if handled improperly
It should be noted that many professional exterminators in the city usually combine two or more of these pest control methods when providing their services through the use of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies. These IPM strategies are typically designed to effectively control pest populations or completely rid an area of specific pests while also targeting and fixing the underlying cause of the pest infestation. You can find professional exterminators in Oklahoma City that expertly implement IPM strategies for their pest control services by contacting the Oklahoma Pest Management Association at (405) 726-8773 or toll-free number (855) 813-7378. Alternatively, you can utilize online directories provided by organizations like the National Pest Management Association and the Better Business Bureau to find professional exterminators in the city.
It is always a good idea to confirm the types of household pests that your preferred exterminator specializes in controlling, as well as the types of pest control services that they are equipped to offer, before concluding any hiring arrangements with them. Professional exterminators and pest control companies in Oklahoma City typically offer three main types of pest control services, namely pest extermination, pest removal, and pest control.
Pest extermination and pest removal generally involve getting rid of pests that have already inhabited an area and are also growing and spreading in this area. On the other hand, pest prevention focuses on preventing common pests found in the city, such as cockroaches, rodents, termites, and spiders, from inhabiting, growing, or spreading in your home in the first place. Confirming the types of pest control services offered by your prospective exterminator, as well as if they specialize in exterminating the specific species of pests that may have infested your home, ensures that you receive optimal service at the end of the day. It is also advisable to agree on the cost of these pest control services, as well as how you will be billed for these services, before the exterminator starts any work in your home.
The list below provides cost estimates for common pest control services provided by professional exterminators and pest control companies in Oklahoma City. Note that the exact cost of these services will be influenced by variables like your location within the city and the nature and scope of your pest infestation:
Exterminators in Oklahoma City are statutorily required to maintain liability insurance in an amount of no less than $50,000 bodily injury, $100,000 bodily injury per occurrence, and $50,000 property damage. Similarly, pest control companies in the city must also carry workers' compensation insurance for their employees. Note that exemptions to this workers' compensation requirement may be given to pest control companies that have no more than five employees that are all related by blood or marriage.
Considering that exterminators are frequently exposed to hazardous chemicals on the job, as well as the risk of disease transmission via rodent and insect bites, it is in your best interest to ensure that your preferred exterminators are properly insured. Doing this protects you from financial and legal consequences if they are injured in your home, or damage any property, during the provision of your requested pest control services. Therefore, you should always confirm the insurance status of any exterminators that you intend to hire by requesting copies of their insurance certificates and validating these certificates with the appropriate insurance company.
You can contact the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry at (405) 521-3864 and (405) 522-5974 to get additional information on its liability insurance requirements for Oklahoma City exterminators. You can also get information on state-mandated workers' compensation insurance requirements by contacting the Oklahoma Workers' Compensation Commission at (405) 522-3222.
Local authorities in Oklahoma City do not typically have jurisdiction over matters concerning fraudulent exterminators. Nonetheless, you can file complaints regarding these types of issues with the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry.
While several legitimate exterminators and pest control companies operate in Oklahoma City, there are also a number of bad exterminators and pest control companies in the city that seek to deceptively obtain money from consumers through various underhanded methods. Scam techniques that these fraudulent individuals and businesses typically use include:
- Going door-to-door and offering free pest control services. In many cases, these unsolicited exterminators may wear official-looking uniforms to get you to invite them into your home, where they subsequently plant proof of non-existent pest infestations
- Providing pest control services without a valid state-issued license or providing services outside the scope of their license
- Demanding payment for their services before they commence any work and subsequently providing unsatisfactory services or not doing any work at all
- Downplaying the importance of written service contracts or including malicious clauses in contracts and pressuring you to sign these contracts before you can properly review them
Consumers across the United States reportedly lost over $5.8 billion to fraudulent activities in 2021, with consumer complaints made during this period increasing by more than 70 percent from the previous year. You can protect yourself against fraudulent activities when searching for pest control services in Oklahoma City by noting the following tips:
- Be wary of door-to-door exterminators. If you notice a pest problem in your home, get referrals to professional exterminators and pest control companies in the city from trusted sources like close friends and relatives or via platforms like the Oklahoma Pest Management Association, the National Pest Management Association, and the Better Business Bureau
- Get and compare costs for your required pest control services from at least three different pest control companies
- Always verify the certification and licensing status of any exterminators and pest control companies that you intend to hire
- Request references from your preferred exterminators and be wary of any exterminator or pest control company that cannot provide you with at least three local and verifiable references
- Make sure that your exterminators are properly insured
- Beware of exterminators and pest control companies that claim to be endorsed by state agencies or institutions
- Beware of exterminators that claim to have leftover pesticides and chemicals from a previous job and offer to use them for your required pest control service at a discounted rate provided that you hire them immediately
- Beware of exterminators and pest control companies that use high-pressure, emergency, or scare-tactics sale methods to get you to hire them
- Make sure that you are given a written contract for your requested pest control services before any of these services are rendered. Read and understand the terms and clauses of this contract before signing it
- Beware of exterminators and pest control companies that request full payment upfront
The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry (ODAFF) is the lead agency charged with regulating the activities of exterminators and pest control companies in Oklahoma City. You can file complaints concerning bad exterminators, pest control companies, and other pesticide-related matters with this department by completing and submitting a Pesticide Complaint Statement online. Complainants are typically contacted within three to four days to schedule an investigatory inspection and will be subsequently notified once the investigation is completed and final actions have been taken. You can direct inquiries or get additional information on the ODAFF's complaint submission and investigation process by contacting its Consumer Protection Division at (405) 522-5974.
Complaints involving unsatisfactory pest control services and fraudulent exterminators or pest control companies can also be filed with the Oklahoma Attorney General's Office by completing and submitting a Consumer Complaint Form either via email or mail-in to:Oklahoma Attorney General's Office
Consumer Protection Unit
313 NE 21st Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
Consumer representatives from this office can also be reached at 1-833-681-1895 for consumer-related assistance.
Choosing Between Local Pest Control Firms and Large National Chains: The Pros and Cons
Even after reviewing criteria like an exterminator's licensing status, area of specialization, pest control methods, and reputation, the task of selecting certified and licensed exterminators and pest control companies in Oklahoma City can be intimidating. Often, you may end up torn between hiring a local exterminator for the job or retaining the services of national pest control companies like Orkin, Terminix, Bulwark, Aptive, Mosquito Joe, Arrow Exterminators, Hawx, Ehrlich, Truly Nolen, and Viking. However, weighing the pros and cons of selecting a local or national pest control company in light of the following factors can assist you in making an informed decision: