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Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Pest Control Service in Seattle

In the United States, about 78 to 98 percent of homeowners experience some level of pest infestation, especially sightings of roaches. Many homeowners still choose to treat their pest problems using ineffective and potentially dangerous chemicals instead of hiring a professional pest control company. A licensed and properly trained pest control company will make sure your pest control problem is dealt with properly while also complying with applicable federal standards and local laws. However, before you hire an exterminator in Seattle, it is important that you thoroughly research their qualifications and experience so that you do not end up with a deceptive exterminator. To do this, you can ask your intended exterminator the following questions:

Are You Licensed to Practice as an Exterminator in Seattle?

The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) regulates the activities of licensed pest control companies and exterminators operating in Seattle. To legally offer pest control services in Seattle exterminators must obtain a license. Failure to get licensed is a violation that attracts up to a fine of $7,500.

This department offers several licensing options to interested parties:

  • Commercial Operator License - This allows an individual to apply pesticides to the land or property of another while under the employment of a commercial applicator company. To apply for this license, the applicants must complete an exam at a designated WSDA testing session. Applicants are to make their licensing application at a WSDA testing session and pay a licensing fee of $85 and a $25 testing fee.
  • Private Applicator License - This allows exterminators to apply or supervise the use of restricted pesticides on their employer's or their property to produce agricultural commodities. The licensing application must be submitted at a WSDA testing session where the applicants will take a pesticide licensing exam. The license costs $45 plus a $25 testing fee.
  • Private Commercial Applicator License - This license is for individuals licensed to use restricted pesticides on their employer's property or their land, property, or materials. These are not intended for the production of agricultural commodities. To be eligible for this license, applicants must pass the WSDA's pesticide licensing examination and make a license application at one of WSDA's testing locations. The license application costs $45, while the exam fee costs $25.
  • Public Operator License - This license is for employees of government agencies who are authorized to use restricted pesticides on private or public properties. The initial application for a license must be made at a WSDA testing session where the applicant has to take a pesticide licensing exam. The license fee for public operators is $50, while the exam costs $25.
  • Commercial Applicator License - This is for companies who want to apply pesticides in Seattle commercially. Before a company can start applying pesticides on another person's property or land, it must have a commercial applicator license. The applicants must also prove that it has the financial responsibility to carry out the work. Individuals who want to become commercial applicators in Seattle must pass a pesticide licensing exam administered by the WSDA. The cost of the exam is $25. The applicants must then fill out and submit a Commercial Applicator Pesticide License Application - Form A and Commercial Applicator Pesticide License Application - Form B alongside a license fee of $250 via mail to
Washington State Department of Agriculture
Pesticide Management Division
PO Box 42591
Olympia, WA 98504-2591
(877) 301-4555

Finally, the applicant must provide the Department of Agriculture (WSDA) proof that their business is legal by providing their Business UBI number.

Hiring an exterminator with the proper license issued by the WSDA is very important to ensure that you get the best possible pest control service. You can confirm if your intended exterminator possesses a valid license by utilizing the WSDA's pesticide licensing search platform. For more information regarding the licensing requirements and procedures for exterminators and pest control businesses in Seattle, you can contact the Washington State Department of Agriculture at (877) 301-4555 or by email.

Are You Registered with the Washington State Pest Control Association?

Aside from ensuring that the individuals you hire in Indianapolis are licensed and certified, you should also check to see if they belong to an organization dedicated to providing further training to exterminators in the city. You should confirm if they are members of the Washington State Pest Management Association (WSPMA). This organization's membership provides the pest control business with further education, training, and industry networking. This ensures that you're getting the best possible service when it comes to dealing with pests. It also gives you peace of mind that the company can provide you with the necessary expertise.

Some professional pest control firms in Indianapolis may also belong to other trade organizations like National Pest Management Association (NPMA). However, if your intended exterminator claims to be a member of any organization, you should always verify these claims by contacting the appropriate organization to confirm their membership. You can use the WSPMA's member search platform to verify if your intended Seattle exterminator is a member of the association. It is also advisable to check out the relevant association online to determine their standing in the pest control industry.

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

Before hiring an experienced pest control company, you must know how much they will charge you for pest control services. According to the United State Bureau of Labor Statistics, an average pest worker in the Seattle area can earn around $28.10 an hour. However, other varying factors affect the cost of services you will be charged, such as

  • The size of the infested area
  • Your locality in Seattle
  • The type of pest
  • The level of infestation
  • The type of pest control method to be used
  • The frequency of required pest treatments

When planning to hire an exterminator in Seattle, it is important that you get and compare quotes of multiple companies in the area to get their cost estimates. Doing so will allow you to compare the rates of these professionals and ensure that you are choosing the right exterminator, and protect you from choosing a deceptive exterminator. Ensure that you only receive quotes from exterminators who have inspected the infested area in your home. Note that you may be charged an additional fee for these inspections.

Pest control workers in Seattle earn an average annual wage of $58,450. 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 North Carolina and other locations across the United States:

Seattle Pest Control Workers Average Hourly Wage
$28.10
Portland Pest Control Workers Average Hourly Wage
$22.07
Bremerton Pest Control Workers Average Hourly Wage
$21.24
Kennewick Pest Control Workers Average Hourly Wage
$22.44
Olympia Pest Control Workers Average Hourly Wage
$22.29
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
Chicago Pest Control Workers Average Hourly Wage
$19.05

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

There are laws and rules that govern the use of pesticides by licensed professional exterminators and the actions of pest control companies in Seattle. Laws and regulations like the Washington Pesticide Application Act and the Washington State General Pesticide Rules. Hiring an experienced and knowledgeable pest control professional is very important to ensure that there is no violation of this law and rule while offering you pest control services. Some key requirements include:

  • All pesticides labeled with the word "danger" and their containers should be stored in secure and enclosed structures. These containers should be constructed and locked to prevent unauthorized persons and animals from entering.
  • Pesticide use must be consistent with the description on the label.
  • When a certified applicator wants to purchase or receive restricted use pesticides, they must provide the pesticide dealer with the necessary information to identify themself, including their certified applicator license number
  • All apparatus must be in good shape. Only an apparatus capable of performing all the necessary functions should be used. They should also be cleaned to prevent any residue from remaining on the surfaces of the containers to avoid contamination with humans.
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) must be used when applying pesticides. These include safety glasses, masks, and gloves.
  • Only a licensed professional exterminator should apply pesticides and perform structural pest control work.

If you need additional information about the laws and regulations related to the use of pesticides and other structural pest control services in Seattle, contact the Washington State Department of Agriculture at (360) 902-1800.

What Type of Pest Control Method Are You Using?

One of the most crucial factors that will determine if or not your pest problem will be resolved is the type of control methods that your Seattle exterminator uses. Exterminators utilize several pest control methods in the city. Meanwhile, most professional pest control companies in the city use an integrated pest management strategy, which involves a combination of various techniques and methods, which include:

  • Organic control: This refers to the use of various equipment and techniques such as traps and baits to prevent and get rid of various pests. Exterminators typically use effective organic pesticides that contain one or more substances like Limonene, Ryania, Pyrethrins, Boric acid, and Kaolin Clay.
  • Chemical control: This involves using various chemicals to get rid of a pest infestation. However, this method is only used when other pest control methods can no longer curtail the infestation. Exterminators use chemicals that contain active ingredients like boric acid, fipronil, and piperonyl butoxide to rid an area of pest infestations. Note that this chemical must only be handled and applied by a professional exterminator because it poses a danger to human health if improperly used.
  • Cultural Control: One of the most common types of control methods an individual can utilize is cultural control. This involves modifying an area to make it inhospitable for pests. This can involve improving the sanitary conditions in the area or creating obstacles that can prevent the pests from entering.
  • Biological control: This involves using various organisms such as parasites and predators to fight the population of the pest in the infested area. For instance, lacewings can be used to suppress an aphid infestation.

Be careful of companies that do not give you a clear description of the pest control method they intend to deal with pests. A good exterminator should also thoroughly inspect the infected area to identify the most effective pest control method to eliminate the pests. You can easily find local Seattle exterminators that use various methods and techniques through the Washington State Pest Management Association's member search. You can also find a good pest control company in Seattle through the National Pest Management Association and the Better Business Bureau.

What Household Pests Do You Control?

Pest control services carried out by exterminators in Seattle are generally grouped into three:

  • Pest removal
  • Pest extermination
  • Pest prevention.

While pest removal and extermination involve getting rid of these pests in areas where they already have established their presence, pest prevention refers to identifying and preventing pests from spreading and infesting the area again.

Before you hire a professional to carry out a pest control service in Seattle, it is important that you thoroughly research the type of pest services offered by the company to ensure that they meet your specific needs. Confirming the company's service area of specialization helps ensure you get the best possible service and helps eliminate the stress of hiring another professional to do the job properly. In addition, you should confirm how much you will be charged for the services. The below list provides estimates for various types of pest control services in Seattle:

Ant control
$101 - $392
Aphid control
$117 -$398
Bat removal
$178 - $259 per visit
Bed bug treatment
$296 - $687
Beehive removal
$107 - $418
Bug and insect treatment
$136 - $165 (for initial treatment for standard four-bedroom home)
Mosquito control
$119 - $173(for one-time treatment)
Mouse/rat extermination
$92 - $268
Roach extermination
$101 - $392
Rodent inspection and trap setting
$156 - $172
Silverfish extermination
$142 - $393
Small animal removal
$330 - $410
Spider removal
$136 - $227
Termite extermination
$466 - $2,442
Termite treatment
$6.72 - $9.20per linear foot (for chemical treatment)
Tick control
$187 - $468
Wasp control
$132 - $818

These estimates are based on the various factors that affect the cost of pest control services, such as the scope of the problem, the company's reputation, and the location of the facility. As such, how much you will be charged will be determined by the peculiarity of your pest problems.

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

In 2020, over 2,800 pest control workers were injured in the United States, while four of these injuries resulted in fatalities. By hiring an exterminator who is not insured, you are placing yourself at risk. Aside from being liable for any injuries in your home, you also have to cover the costs of property damage that occur during the job.

In compliance with section RCW 17.21.160 of the Washington State Legislature, local pest control companies must provide the Washington State Department of Agriculture with proof that the company has the necessary financial responsibility through a $100,000 insurance liability policy or $50,000 surety bond. Pest control businesses must also carry workers' compensation insurance for employees.

Before hiring an exterminator, ensure that the individual has the proper insurance coverage. This can be done by asking for copies of their insurance documents and verifying their status with the appropriate insurance provider.

To learn more about the insurance requirements for pest control companies in Seattle, contact the Washington State Department of Agriculture at (360) 902-1800. You can contact the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries at (360) 902-5800 for more details about workers' compensation insurance for pest control business employees.

How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Exterminator in Seattle

Although you may not be able to file a complaint against an exterminator with local authorities in Seattle, you can report your complaints to state agencies charged with this. These include the Washington State Department of Agriculture and the Washington State Office of the Attorney General.

The number of complaints about fraudulent activities in the United States increased by over 70 percent in 2021, with more than $5.8 billion lost. This figure represents the total amount of money consumers lost due to fraudulent activities. When looking for a professional pest control company in Seattle, it is important that you thoroughly check the company's operations and business practices. This is because some of these individuals posing as exterminators or pest control companies are fraudulent and are only looking for ways to swindle you of your money. Some of the signs that you may encounter when dealing with a fraudulent organization include:

  • Door-to-door solicitation by pest control service
  • Employ high-pressure tactics into trying to make you sign a contract without even reviewing the terms of the contract
  • Reluctant to provide verifiable references of past client
  • Provide cost estimates without even inspecting the infested area.
  • Offer to use leftover pesticide products in your home at a discounted price.
  • Downplays the importance of a written agreement and insists on verbal agreements.

Before you hire a professional pest control company in Seattle, follow these tips to protect yourself from potential scams and fraudulent organizations.

  • Ensure that you take the time to understand your pest problem before hiring an exterminator.
  • Get referrals from your friends and relatives of local pest control companies and exterminators. You can also check the Washington State Pest Management Association's member search platform, National Pest Management Association, and the Better Business Bureau for local pest control firms and exterminators in Seattle.
  • Be wary of unsolicited exterminators or pest control businesses.
  • Always confirm the licensing status of your intended exterminator or pest control business before hiring them.
  • Get and compare multiple quotes from different pest control companies and exterminators before settling for the one suitable for your budget
  • Make sure your intended exterminator is properly insured.
  • Avoid making full payment upfront for the required pest control services
  • Make sure that you have a signed written contract between you and the exterminator or pest control company. This contract should clearly explain the company services, including the cost of services
  • Keep a record of the contract, receipts, invoices, and other documents executed during pest control services.

You can file a complaint against an individual or company in Seattle for violating the regulations related to the use of pesticides by reaching out to the Washington State Department of Agriculture at (360) 902-1800. Likewise, you can make a complaint in person by visiting the physical location of the Department at

Washington State Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Building
P.O. Box 42560
1111 Washington Street Southeast
Olympia, WA 98504-2560.
Hours: Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5: 00 p.m.

You can file a consumer complaint against pest control companies and exterminators in Seattle using the online consumer complaint form provided by the Washington State Office of the Attorney General. Alternatively, you can fill out and submit a consumer complaint form via mail to:

Office of the Attorney General
Consumer Protection Division
800 5th Avenue,
Suite 2000
Seattle, Washington 98104-3188
Phone: (800) 551-4636 or (206) 464-6684

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

Asides checking off various criteria, such as licensing, certification, and specialization, of your intended exterminator or pest control business you may still be faced with the decision of the professional to hire among the many qualified options. Most homeowners in Seattle are usually torn between hiring a local pest control company or retaining the services of a national pest company such as Orkin and Terminix. When caught in this type of dilemma, you can rely on the pros and cons of a local or national pest company before making a decision:

Pros

Local Pest Control Firms
Cheap for treatments and maintenance services.
Customizable and affordable pest control plans
Understand the local environment's climate conditions and seasonal pests, which helps identify and treat them effectively.
Quick response time because of proximity
More personal customer service
Nationwide Pest Control Brands
Ideal for treating various types of pests in large homes and commercial establishments.
A standardized plan and pricing.
Ideal for those who require specialized equipment and techniques to treat pests effectively.
Works with many types of pest control professionals
Scope of services are wider

Cons

Local Pest Control Firms
Limited supplies of specialized equipment
Lack of manpower and resources
Nationwide Pest Control Brands
Cost of a comprehensive pest control plan be expensive.
All customers get the same treatment approach.