Unwanted guests

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 June, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 June, 2008, 12:00am

What you need to know when choosing a pest control company

Surprisingly for an industry that can disperse toxic chemicals in and around schools, homes, restaurants and businesses on a daily basis, laws in Hong Kong do not require pest control operators or companies to be licensed.

Jackson Chan, honorary president, Hong Kong Pest Management Association and the honorary president and executive director of the Federation of Asian & Oceania Pest Managers Associations, said licensing was necessary because any individual, trained or untrained, could provide pest control services to the public after obtaining a business registration certificate.

He pointed out that other countries, including the mainland, had much stricter regulations. 'In the United States, anyone not following instructions of a pesticide label is committing a violation of law and is subject to prosecution.'

Make sure to choose a pest management company carefully and follow Mr Chan's advice: Always look for an established pest control provider with a long history.

Do not hesitate to ask questions about pest problems, including the biology of insects, method of treatment and safety procedures. Use your judgment and do not accept illogical answers.

Do not expect to eliminate all insects after one treatment. Most insects have been on Earth longer than humans and have developed methods of survival. Sanitation is the most important factor to avoid them, so specialists should provide you with recommendations to make environmental improvements. They should use toxic chemicals only when necessary.

Specialists only use approved and registered pesticides under the HKSAR Pesticides Ordinance. All pesticides must have a registration number.

Most western countries are applying 'integrated pest management' concepts. For example no one can kill all the rats in the world but you can keep them out of your house by eliminating all possible entrances.

Professional operators should provide a written report on your pest problems on request, but with a fee.