Does an Exterminator Need a License?

Jan 01, 2011
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If you are experiencing bugs, rodents or any other type of pest, you often need the help of a professional pest control expert. While there are non-chemical pest control methods available, as well as chemicals which can be purchased in hardware stores, these are usually not as effective as a treatment from a well-trained, professional exterminator.

For one, an expert knows how to locate the root of the problem and attack it. Additionally, he can spot openings and weak points in your home through which the bugs can enter. Lastly and most importantly, a professional has access to special tools and chemicals, and knows how to operate them safely and effectively. That is, of course, if he’s licensed.

Licensing Requirements

All U.S. states require exterminators to be licensed, though each state has its own conditions and terms. In Jersey City, New Jersey, for example, exterminator applicants must undergo a pesticide course, pass a test, and partake in at least 40 hours of on-the-job training. However, in cities like Irvine, California state law only demands that exterminators pass an exam. To renew their licensing they then have to show proof of at least 20 hours of continued education every two years.

Advantages of a Licensed Exterminator

Aside from it being against the law to administer pesticides without a license, there are a number of additional reasons as to why a licensed professional is the preferred choice. For one, a licensed exterminator will have liability insurance that will cover property damage and bodily injury. Additionally, having undergone the acceptance requirements, the exterminator is more knowledgeable both about industry standards as well as safety precautions. What’s more, in some states he’ll have undergone on-site training and therefore has experience in the field.

A professional exterminator also provides a much higher quality of service. Firstly, he will routinely examine your entire home to locate entry points or additional problems. This can be very useful, if he finds, for example, that you have rotting wood as a result of termites. The exterminator will be able to get rid of the ants, and you can hire a carpenter before the damage gets worse. Furthermore, he knows from experience how long the treatment should be effective for, and sometimes even provides guarantees. Additionally, he can offer long-term plans and maintenance coverage so that your home will be pest-free all year.


When selecting a pest control service be sure to ask for their license number and look it up. Additionally, if possible, get recommendations from friends and family, or ask the exterminator to provide his own references – and call them! A single phone call can be a very informative experience. Ask for a contract in writing, and make sure any guarantee – if there is one – is in writing as well. Finally, for any payments you make, be sure to get a receipt.

Having your home fumigated or your yard treated with pesticide is a serious procedure involving dangerous chemicals. Therefore, when searching for an exterminator, don’t settle for anything less than an experienced, licensed professional in order to ensure a safe home for you and your family.

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