When you have a pest problem that becomes too much for you to handle, you may have to call in a professional. You should be aware that there are many state and federal laws relating to exterminators and the pest control industry.
The Georgia Pesticide Use and Application Act regulates the use of pesticides in nearly all types of pest control situations. Private and commercial pesticide applicators and pesticide contractors are required to be licensed, and all of the pesticides used are licensed as well. The law also provides for the licensing of wood treatment facilities, inspections of irrigation systems for chemigation, and the coordination of a pesticide container recycling program and waste pesticide collection program.
To qualify for a license, the law requires a certain level of training and experience. Pest control licenses can be obtained through the Georgia Department of Agriculture, which is also responsible for regulating pesticide use in the state. To find a listing of local companies or acceptable pesticides, please contact the Structural Pest Control Division (404-656-3641).
For any complaints or questions involving the quality of a company’s service or product, you should get in touch with the Agriculture Department’s Office of Public Affairs at 404-656-3600 (Atlanta) or 800-282-5852 (statewide).
The Georgia Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division enforces the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act. If an individual or company represents that your home was treated when in fact it was not, or otherwise engages in unfair or deceptive business practices, you may file a complaint with Georgia Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division.
Federal law limits which pesticides can be applied in specific areas of the country. In certain Georgia counties, for example, use of a particular pesticide is prohibited in order to comply with the Endangered Species Act. The application of some pesticides can harm animals, plants, and especially your own health. For a complete listing of what can be applied, please refer to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
To research the reputation of a pest control company, you can contact the Better Business Bureau.
Tips for Consumers
If you have an agreement with a pest control company, be sure to read your contract.
- If you are renting, check your lease agreement to see who is responsible for pest control. You are responsible unless it states otherwise.
- When choosing a pest control company, always do your homework. Ask friends, relatives or coworkers for a referral. Get estimates from two or more companies, and compare the treatment plan and cost before deciding on one. Note the annual renewal fees, the type of warranty that is offered, and what damages will be paid for if your home is infected by termites.
Beware of companies or individuals who…
- Offer to include pest control as a package deal with other home services that will be discounted if you decide to sign up for them immediately.
- Solicit business door-to-door only and do not list a business phone number. Always verify their credentials and identification.
- Come to your home uninvited and show you insects they claim are from your neighbor’s house and part of a larger neighborhood problem.
- Quote a per-gallon price for termite control, which can require several hundred gallons of pesticide to treat properly.
- Claim to have a “secret formula.” All pesticide products must be registered with the EPA and the Georgia Department of Agriculture.
- Tell you there could be structural damage to your home if you do not sign a contract allowing them to begin treatment right away.
- Offer you a reduced price for immediate treatment because they claim to have excess material from a previous job.
- Claim to be endorsed by state or federal government agencies, which in fact do not endorse any specific company.