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Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Pest Control Service in El Paso

Due to the city's mild climate, pests like mice and rats, ants, and cockroaches do not necessarily wait until winter is over before they creep into homes in the El Paso area. Pest infestations often lead to serious health issues and financial liabilities that can only be avoided by hiring a pest exterminator to rid your home of pests. However, pest extermination may be counterproductive if you do not hire a competent hand. As a result, homeowners in the El Paso area should ask the following questions to ensure they are hiring the best hand:

Are You Licensed to Practice as an Exterminator in El Paso?

Professionals that offer pest control services for hire in El Paso are required to obtain the appropriate state license from the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA). The Texas Department of Agriculture issues different types of pest control licenses, and interested persons must meet the requirements of each license type to be eligible for licensing. These license types include:

  • commercial applicator license for individuals who operate a business or is an employee of a business that offers pest control service for hire,
  • noncommercial applicator license for individuals who are not affiliated with a business but performs pest control services for compensation, and
  • private applicator license for individuals producing agricultural commodities.

Note that performing pest control services without holding the appropriate license in El Paso may attract fines of up to $2000 for first-time offenders, and up to $3000 and $5000 for second-time and third-time offenders respectively.

To avoid attracting unnecessary fines, pest control workers can apply for the appropriate exterminator license on the Texas Department of Agriculture's eApply portal. Anyone who does not wish to apply online can complete their application by downloading, filing, and mailing either the application form for a commercial applicator's license or the application form for a noncommercial applicator's license to:

Texas Department of Agriculture
1700 N. Congress, 11th Floor
P.O. Box 12076
Austin, Texas 78711

Applicants for commercial applicator license must provide proof of financial responsibility in the amount of $100,000 property damage and $100,000 bodily injury per occurrence or a general aggregate at a minimum of $200,000 for each occurrence. These persons must also submit a pesticide applicator business registration form to the above-listed address.

Furthermore, commercial applicator businesses and private pest control licensees can choose a number of TDA pesticide applicator categories. These include, but are not limited to, agricultural pest control, lawn, and ornamental pest control, regulatory pest control, public health pest control, and aerial application. You can contact the TDA for more information on obtaining a pest control license in El Paso at (512) 463-7476. You can also find out if a pest control professional is licensed by the TDA by calling the aforementioned telephone number.

Having obtained the appropriate pest control license, pest control workers who wish to apply or supervise the use of restricted-use pesticides must be certified as private or commercial applicators based on Federal Certification Standards. The certification is performed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). To obtain a private applicator certification, applicants must demonstrate a practical understanding of agricultural pest problems and treatment strategies, alongside adequate knowledge of pesticide storage, use, handling, and disposal. To obtain a commercial applicator certification, on the other hand, applicants must demonstrate that they understand basic pesticide use and safety, as well as adequate knowledge in at least one specialty application area. Queries concerning the requirements for obtaining pesticide use-related certification can be directed to the EPA via email or by completing this online form.

Are You Registered with the Texas State Pest Control Association?

When considering an exterminator in El Paso, it is important to note that checking if the individual is licensed is only one of the several precautionary steps you can take. Another important step is to find out if your preferred professional is a member of a statewide pest control association like the Texas Pest Control Association (TPCA). Making sure that the individual you intend to hire is a member of the TPCA guarantees better service. This is because members of the TPCA have access to affordable workshops and training across the state, industry updates, and multiple resources that enable them to provide their services seamlessly.

Most El Paso exterminators are also members of their city's TPCA chapter and the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), a national organization that provides numerous educational and business resources to professionals in the pest management community. Nonetheless, it is very crucial to find out if the individual you are considering is a member of these associations before signing an agreement with them.

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

Pest control workers in the El Paso area earn an average hourly income of $16.74. However, it is important to note that the above-mentioned average hourly rate may change in certain situations. Pest control workers may demand more than the average hourly cost for pest control services in El Paso because of the size of the area to be treated, the severity of the infestation, the type of pest control method to be used, or the number of visits required to complete the job. Note that unscrupulous professionals may lie about the real cost of a pest control service by exaggerating the impact of any of the abovementioned factors. As a result, homeowners should always discuss the service they need with at least three different pest control professionals in the city and ask each to submit an estimate for the service afterward.

Furthermore, homeowners should compare these estimates to determine the actual cost of the service. However, homeowners should also be on the lookout for professionals offering low prices. This is usually a trick used by unscrupulous professionals to persuade unsuspecting homeowners.

Pest control workers in El Paso earn an average annual wage of $34,810. 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 Texas and other locations across the United States:

El Paso Pest Control Workers Average Hourly Wage
$16.74
Dallas Pest Control Workers Average Hourly Wage
$19.76
Houston Pest Control Workers Average Hourly Wage
$19.30
Austin Pest Control Workers Average Hourly Wage
$19.95
San Antonio Pest Control Workers Average Hourly Wage
$18.21
Fort Worth Pest Control Workers Average Hourly Wage
$19.76
San Diego Pest Control Workers Average Hourly Wage
$20.67
New York City Pest Control Workers Average Hourly Wage
$21.35
Philadelphia Pest Control Workers Average Hourly Wage
$19.66
Chicago Pest Control Workers Average Hourly Wage
$19.05
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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

There are no locally established rules regulating the application of pesticides in El Paso. However, professionals or businesses who wish to apply pesticides for compensation must comply with the Texas Department of Agriculture guidelines for the use of pesticides. Some of these guidelines include:

  • Proper and adequate storage of pesticides to avoid inadvertent exposure,
  • Adhering to pesticide label instructions
  • Exercising utmost caution when there is a perceived risk of exposure to pesticides

Applying pesticides in a way that violates the regulations of the Texas Department of Agriculture attracts administrative penalties of up to $4,000 per incident and civil penalties of up to $25,000. For more information concerning the regulations guiding pesticide use in Texas, contact the Texas Department of Agriculture via email or visit their regional office at:

Austin Main Headquarters
1700 North Congress, 11th Floor
Austin, TX 78701
Phone: (512) 463-7476

What Type of Pest Control Method Are You Using?

Pest control professionals in El Paso make use of a variety of pest control methods for dealing with specific pest problems. Note that the choice of which pest control method to use is decided after the professional has identified and studied the type of pest they are dealing with. The most common pest management methods used by exterminators in the city are as follows:

  • Organic Pest Control: This method is commonly used to eliminate insects that feed on plants. Organic pest control strategy relies on the use of pheromone traps, the release of beneficial insects, use of trap crops, and other organically approved techniques to eliminate pests in an area. Items like spinosad, pyrethrin, neem oil, diatomaceous earth, bacillus thuringiensis, or sulfur are used as alternatives to man-made chemicals like pesticides.

Exterminators employ a variety of organic pest control solutions, including:

    • EcoRaider Ant & Crawling Insect Killer
    • EcoSmart Ant & Roach Killer
    • Verdana Cold-Pressed Organic Neem Oil
    • Eco Defense Organic Home Pest Control Spray
    • Wondercide All-Purpose Organic Home & Garden Insect Control
    • Essentria IC3
  • Biological Pest Control: This involves the introduction of natural enemies of the pest, such as pathogens, parasites, and predators, to control the spread as well as eliminate pests in an area. A good example of a biological pest control strategy is the introduction of decapitating flies in an area infested with fire ants. While biological control strategies are generally safer compared to the use of pesticides, their success is dependent on the exterminator's accurate diagnosis of the problem and the use of the right biological strategy.
  • Physical and Mechanical Pest Control: This strategy is generally recommended when you are dealing with larger pests like rodents, snakes, and raccoons. It involves the use of devices to control pests in an area. These devices include screens, fences, barriers, traps, and mulches.
  • Chemical Pest Control: This strategy involves the application of chemical pesticides to eliminate pests in an area. However, this pest control method requires a great deal of expertise because it can result in various health problems when it is not done properly. As a result, you should always look for a pest control professional who knows when to apply pesticides and also the type of pesticide that is required for a particular pest infestation. Common chemical pesticides used by exterminators include:
    • Suspend SC Concentrate
    • Termidor SC Concentrate
    • CimeXa Insecticide Dust
    • BioAdvanced 3-in-1 Insect Disease & Mite Control

You can find competent and experienced pest control professionals in your locality by utilizing the Better Business Bureau. However, before hiring an individual from the directory, make sure that you check if any complaints have been filed against the professional in the past.

What Household Pests Do You Control?

Most pest control professionals in El Paso offer a variety of pest control services to interested persons. These services are generally categorized into pest extermination, pest removal, and pest prevention. In addition to the above-mentioned services, some pest control professionals also specialize in dealing with specific pests such as termites, bed bugs, rodents, mosquitoes, and bats. Pest control workers who specialize in controlling specific household pests are usually more experienced in dealing with the problem than professionals who provide general services. As a homeowner, it is wise to hire a professional that specializes in offering the specific type of pest services you need.

Once you identify a professional that is experienced in handling your pest problem, the next thing is to find out what it will cost to get rid of that particular type of pest in your home. Always ensure that the professional provides a breakdown of the work to be done and the cost of the service. Based on the type of pest involved, the following are cost estimates for pest control services per one-time visit of exterminators in El Paso:

Bats and bird exterminator
$156.39 - $226.90
Bed bug exterminator
$119.78 - $144.63
Bee exterminator
$96.00 - $600.00
Carpenter ant exterminator
$75.00 - $700.00
Carpet beetle exterminator
$75.00 - $700.00
Cockroach exterminator
$146 - $600
Flea exterminator
$64.00 - $650.00
Exterminator for Mice, rats, and other similar rodents and small animals
$132.51 - $146.97
Mosquito exterminator
$104.86 - $151.87 (for one-time treatment)
Spider exterminator
$71.00 - $738.00
Termite treatment
$5.88 - $8.05 (per linear foot for chemical treatment)
Tick exterminator
$46 and $150 (per treatment)
Wasp exterminator
$91 - $1,100

Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Exterminators in El Paso?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, a total of four fatal and 2,820 nonfatal on-the-job accidents were recorded among pest control professionals in the country in 2020 alone. The statistics given above show that pest control workers are often victims of on-the-job accidents. Homeowners should understand that these accidents can result in significant financial responsibilities if the pest control worker is not insured. As a result, homeowners should always ensure that the individual they intend to hire is insured. As a homeowner, you can confirm whether the individual you intend to hire is insured by asking for their insurance certificate and contacting the insurance company that issued the certificate to verify the information. Note that hiring a pest control worker that is insured in El Paso not only guarantees protection against liabilities that results from on-the-job accidents, it also means you are hiring a law-abiding professional.

According to the Texas Department of Agriculture, the agency responsible for statewide licensing and certification of pest control professionals, anyone who intends to obtain a license that qualifies them to provide pest control services for compensation must maintain a minimum insurance.

Applicants are required to file a policy or contract of insurance for at least $200,000 in personal injury and property damage coverage, with a minimum total aggregate of $300,000 for all incidents with the Texas Department of Agriculture. However, if a pest control professional claims to have the abovementioned insurance policies on file with the Texas Department of Agriculture, do not hesitate to verify their claim from the Department. You can do this by calling (866) 918-4481, sending an email, or visiting the Department's physical office at:

Texas Department of Agriculture
1700 N. Congress, 11th Floor
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 463-7476

How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Exterminator in El Paso

While you should contact a pest control professional as soon as you spot a pest problem in your house, you should also take your time evaluating the individual you wish to engage before signing an agreement. This is due to the fact that El Paso has its fair share of unscrupulous individuals that prey on households in need of pest control services. These individuals employ various tricks such as collecting upfront payments and not showing up to the work, inflating the price of pest control services, and persuading customers to sign long-term contracts. To avoid falling for these tricks, residents of El Paso should always be on the lookout for warning signs or red flags when dealing with a potential pest control worker. Some of these signs include:

  • The pest control worker appears in front of your door uninvited
  • The pest control worker shows up in an unmarked truck
  • The pest control worker refuses to provide adequate information about their qualification
  • The pest control worker insist on performing a free inspection
  • The pest control worker insist on long term contracts

Even if your preferred pest control worker did not do any of the aforementioned, it is still advisable to take precautionary steps to avoid falling victim to a pest control scammer. These include:

  • Get Recommendations From People: Requesting recommendations from individuals you trust for a pest control specialist near you can alleviate the burden of finding a qualified professional while also ensuring that you do not fall into the wrong hands.
  • Get Multiple Estimates: Always obtain and compare quotations from at least three different exterminators before deciding on the one that best fits your budget
  • Hire Only Professionals That Are Licensed: Pesticide applicators in El Paso must be licensed by the Texas Department of Agriculture. Always check the status of your selected profession's license with the Department by contacting (800) 735-2989.
  • Hire Only Professionals That Are Insured: Always check with the insurance company that issued the certificate to verify a professional's insurance status
  • Ask Questions About the Service: There are several pest control services, and it is always a good idea to know what you are getting. Furthermore, find out the chemicals that the pest control specialist intends to use and how they will be sprayed. Confirm that the pesticides are acceptable for your project.
  • Avoid Paying Full Price Before the Job is Completed: Scammers frequently demand full money from customers with no intention of performing the service.
  • Always Insist On A Written Contract: If pest control services are not handled properly, they can cause major damage to your property or family. Before inviting a pest control professional inside your house, it is always a good idea to have a formal contract outlining the nature of the service and the expectations associated with it

Victims of pest control-related frauds should contact the Texas Attorney General's Office at (800) 621-0508 or (214) 969-7639. Homeowners who do not want to report the incident over the phone can file an online complaint, or visit their office at:

Attorney General of Texas Consumer Protection Division
300 W. 15th Street
Austin, TX 78701

Similarly if there is an issue involving pesticide exposure or misuse, residents can contact the TDA's Structural Pest Control Service at (866) 918-4481 or by email.

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

Homeowners can either hire a local exterminator or a large corporation like Arrow, Aptive, Orkin, and Bulwark each time they are in need of pest control services. However, to get the best service, the decision to use either a local exterminator or a large corporation should be made after they have assessed the advantages and disadvantages of using one over the other. Listed below are the advantages and disadvantages of hiring a local or national brand.

Pros

Local Pest Control Firms
Adequate understanding of the pest infestation in the community
Pest Control Plans that are affordable and flexible
Service is personalized
Focus is on quality of their work
Available for work any time of the day
Nationwide Pest Control Brands
Suitable for pest infestation that requires the use of advanced tools
Price and Plan are usually fixed
Services options are more varied
Focus is on customer satisfaction
Fixed working hours

Cons

Local Pest Control Firms
Inadequate pest control equipment
Shortage of laborers and resources to handle a big project
Nationwide Pest Control Brands
Cost of pest control plans is high
No personalized service