You want to hire someone to implement a weed control and fertilizer program for your home. You’ve got two options available to you:
- Hire a licensed, experienced company that’s up-to-date with training and government regulations.
- Get a guy with a tank and a nozzle.
While that sounds extreme, there are individuals who claim to have the proper weed and pest control equipment and certification, even though they don’t.
But if you don’t know what to look for or ask, it’s almost impossible to tell.
As a homeowner, that puts you at risk in more ways than you realize.
Incorrect application or accidental exposure
The biggest risk to using an unlicensed technician is that they simply don’t know what they’re doing.
- Proper pesticide and herbicide classification.
- Identifying invasive insects and weeds.
- Correct transportation and storage procedures.
- Required permits for high-risk/special use products.
Most importantly, they’re also aware of the risks associated with the products they use.
Therefore, they take precautions to protect themselves, the general public at large, and you from accidental exposure, such as:
- Adjusting nozzle settings as needed.
- Accounting for wind and weather.
An untrained technician won’t have the experience or know-how to ensure only the right areas get sprayed with the right products in the correct manner.
Lack of information
The first thing any licensed technician should do is inspect your residential property, make recommendations, and submit a proposal.
You do not want someone to just show up and start spraying blindly.
Before agreeing to any service contract, you should be given the following information:
- Pests and/or weeds to be controlled.
- Products to be used.
- Application schedule.
- Steps or products to reduce further infestations.
Additionally, you should be given a concrete warranty and/or guarantee. And if you ask for alternative options, a properly trained technician should be able to provide them.
If the person you’re considering cannot answer your questions or provide this information, steer clear of them.
No formal training or insurance
According to the Ontario Guide to Pesticide Licensing, in order to even be considered for a license, prospective technicians must:
- Be considered physically fit.
- Be at least 16 years of age.
- Have, at minimum, grade 10 education.
- Pass a pre-approved certification course within the last 12 months.
From there, becoming properly licensed is a multi-stage process:
- Trainee: Someone who has yet to receive their license. They must work under the supervision of a licensed contractor.
- Technician: A person who has completed the course and received real-world training from a licensed spray technician.
Now, if someone claims to own a pesticide or herbicide application business, they must possess the following:
- Up-to-date license.
- Insurance coverage.
- Operator sticker for company vehicles.
- Public notification requirements.
- Written notice to the fire department regarding where products are stored.
That’s a lot. And that just covers the basics.
Why avoid unlicensed technicians
Sure. It’s possible that using a guy with some chemicals and a tank will save you money up front. But there are long-term risks you need to consider, such as:
- Potential exposure to pets and children.
- Accidentally spraying non-infested areas or neighbour’s property.
- Improper handling of products which can lead to spills or other accidents.
If illegal products are used, YOU could be charged
Not many homeowners know this, but if a technician uses illegal or prohibited products, they can be charged under the Ontario Cosmetic Pesticide Use Ban.
The Ontario Cosmetic Pesticide Use Ban is designed to control “non-essential” pesticide usage and it supersedes all other municipal by-laws throughout the province.
Wright Landscape Services. Trained. Certified. Experienced.
There’s no sugar-coating it: Pest and weed sprays are chemical products. They need to be handled with care and expertise.
The technicians at Wright Landscape Services have the up-to-date training and experience to give you peace of mind.
For more information, contact us with your questions or comments.