The pest control industry, like many others, has a mix of service providers from large household names down to sole traders. Some technicians are highly qualified others are unqualified. The reality is there is very little statutory control within the pest control industry and even less enforcement. We are however a relatively safe industry, but Brussels and Westminster see many of the products we use as being dangerous.
There has been a lobby to ban biocides which includes rodenticides (for treating rats and mice). The Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use (CRRU) has been tasked by the HSE with developing a stewardship scheme for rodenticides in the UK to minimise the impact on wildlife. Combined with ever tightening labelling requirements, the restrictions and limitations on the use of rodenticides, particularly external use, will be increasing. This will have an impact on the delivery of pest control services to our clients.
The stewardship scheme is most likely to require competence to be demonstrated. The continueing professional development (CPD) scheme, BASIS Prompt, has now passed 2,000 members, demonstrating that development is happening in this area. Clients are now encouraged to include this in contract specifications.
Moving on to pest control companies, the draft CEN European Standard for Pest Management Services has now been published. For those of us already delivering professional services, this standard will be a way to prove it to prospective clients.
So with CPD, a European Pest Control Standard, and an HSE Rodenticide Stewardship scheme, there is a lot happening that will improve the professionalism of the pest control industry. As a Board member and Chair of the BPCA Servicing Committee I absolutely support these initiatives.
But I’m an Environmental Health Officer at heart therefore we also need to maintain enough in our armoury of pest control techniques to control rats and minimise the associated public health risk. This is further complicated by the ever increasing local government cuts that are reducing free pest control services. Fewer treatments with tightening household budgets must increase the public health risk from rats.