Look for the license when engaging pest control

By Tom Hallman

The war rages on as it has for time immemorial: Ravenous bugs relentlessly assail your home, lawn and garden.

Thankfully, you can fight back with troops who are licensed to kill.

“Most homeowners probably aren’t aware that any commercial turf and landscape maintenance professional who applies any weed killer, insecticide or fungicide as part of his business must possess an approved South Carolina pesticide applicator’s license,” said Joe Krausz, head of the Department of Pesticide Regulation at Clemson University.

“If used improperly, pesticides can be dangerous to humans, pets and the environment. Children can be especially sensitive to certain pesticides if precautions are not followed,” Krausz said. “The pesticide licensing process ensures that the pest control professional has passed a qualifying examination evaluating the applicator’s knowledge about using pesticides safely, and that the applicator carries adequate liability insurance to cover mishaps that may occur due to the pest control activities.”

Identifying a properly licensed applicator is easy: Look for a bright yellow decal – in the shape of the state of South Carolina – on both sides of his vehicle, stamped with the words “South Carolina Certified Commercial Pesticide Applicator.”

Applicators who transport pesticides in their vehicles are required to display the decal.

“Before you sign a contract for lawn and landscape care, ask to see the lawn care professional’s license,” Krausz said. “The licensed individual may supervise an unlicensed applicator, but someone in the company must be properly licensed.”

Learn more about the Department of Pesticide Regulation