Pest Control: Experts Speak
fmME talks to experts in the UAE pest control industry
While pest control is a service that many of us have made use of to protect our homes and offices, there seems to be an overwhelming lack of awareness about the same, with respect to everything from how one can rate the quality of the service, to the health, safety and environmental considerations one should take care of before employing a pest control service provider.
Keeping this scenario in mind, and given the tragedies that recently occured in the UAE owing to improper pesticide use, fmME went to some of the leading experts in the pest control industry to put together a list of general guidelines that customers for this line of service, be it home owners or facility managers, should carefully consider before employing the services of a pest control company. Find out what they told us in the next few pages.
This may seem like a pretty basic thing to do, but asking pest control service providers for proof of their commercial licenses and credentials should be the first thing one should be doing when scouting around for services of this nature.
“Only use a fully-licensed pest control service business,” says Baker, noting that customers in Dubai and Abu Dhabi can make informed decisions in this matter by looking at the monthly grading lists from the Dubai Municipality Pest Control Section and the Abu Dhabi Centre for Waste Management, which regulate and monitor the performances of pest control businesses.
In addition, customers should also keep an eye out for the chemicals that pest control companies use in their operations. “Ask for the actual municipality-approved document for the chemicals,” says Tate. “As standard, we are required to provide that to every commercial client, and we are obliged to share that with domestic clients as well, if they do wish.”
Even the technicians employed by the pest control company should come under your scrutiny—pest control operators are allowed to work in this field only if they have passed a test carried out by Dubai Municipality. “Just because a pesticide may be approved by the local authority doesn’t mean it’s safe,” Baker notes. “A relatively safe product could become dangerous in the hands of an untrained technician who is using inadequate equipment.”
Assess the company’s reputation and references
“Not everything that glitters is gold,” notes Othman. “So, make sure you assess the reputations of the companies you are considering to employ. For example, check out the number of years they have been working in the country. Look into their earlier projects; ask for references, and follow up on them—such things don’t take a lot of time, and they can help you make the right decision in the end.”
Baker agrees with Othman’s suggestion, saying, “Good pest controllers should be able to demonstrate their resources, technician minimum standards and training records, training facilities, experience in the market, call centre, in-depth management support, and proper standard operating procedures for handling pesticides.”
Othman also suggests looking at the geographic scope of the pest control company as an indicator of its service standards—a healthy presence in the market is almost always a good sign. In the UAE, since each emirate has its own set of rules to be followed by pest control companies, the number of certifications the company can be a good gauge of its reach in the market.
Ask for a site survey
“For a commercial property, make sure you always get a salesperson to carry out a pest control survey of the premises,” says Tate, highlighting that every pest issue is different, and so, a number of parameters to be considered before a treatment is decided to control the same.
Tate says that such a survey would thus allow customers to get a comprehensive idea of the problems they face, and also learn how their pest control service provider aims to tackle these issues.
Baker says that it is a good idea for clients to provide pest control companies with a general scope of work that will cover key points, such as areas covered, pests to be controlled, expected site presence, response levels, etc.
“However, allow the potential pest control provider to demonstrate their ability to understand the project and how best they can support you and your client,” Baker adds.
When it comes to doing site surveys, Othman says that it is a good idea for commercial customers to do this activity with more than one pest control company. “I would suggest getting 2-3 site surveys done by different companies, and compare their reports and recommendations,” he says. Such an exercise would also allow for customers to compare prices offered by various companies.
But Othman stresses that the price should not be the main factor to consider when hiring the services of a pest control company. “The price is important, but it should not be the first thing you consider when making your decision—match the price with the benefits you get,” he says, noting that most low-priced pest control solutions, while perhaps good for the wallet, can cause more harm than good.
Ask questions, and make sure they get answered as well
“Don’t hesitate to ask any kind of question, be it regarding the pest, or the chemicals, or even the treatment plan,” Othman says, adding that this advice applies to all kinds of customers, be it a facility manager or a property owner. “If you find that they are cooperative and answer your queries satisfactorily, then that’s a good sign,” he adds.
Tate also suggests asking if the pest control employs Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies in their line of work. “Basically, IPM is used to deliver effective pest control, while at the same time, reducing the volume and toxicity of the pesticides used,” he explains. “So when technicians go to a site, they should be assessing the least toxic way to deal with its infestation.”
Asking pest control companies questions of this nature can thus help customers get a better understanding of who they are dealing with, and how professional their brand of services is. “Will the provider give you peace of mind?” Baker says. “Will you trust that they will do things honestly and correctly, and also protect your own business reputation and that of your clients?”
Othman agrees, saying, “Don’t hesitate to ask any kind of question, be it regarding the pest, or the chemicals, or even the treatment plan.” According to him, this advice applies to all kinds of customers, regardless of whether they are facility managers or home owners. “If you find that they are cooperative and answer your queries satisfactorily, then that’s again a good sign,” he declares.
fmME’s panel of pest control experts
• Sean Baker, managing director, National Pest Control
• Mohammad Molham Othman, managing director, ETS Pest Control
• Paul Tate, sales manager, Rentokil
ETS Pest Control
ETS Pest Control is one of the most established pest control companies in the UAE, with the organisation employing over 50 dedicated people working in the field and behind the scenes as well. The business today boasts of an excellent integrated pest management (IPMS) programme, with an impressive portfolio of clients that include big names like Nakheel, Emirates Group, Engineer’s Office, etc.
Company profile: Rentokil
Rentokil, which was formed more than 80 years ago in the UK, currently operates in more than 60 countries around the world, and it had its UAE branch established in 2012, which today provides local services to all of the Emirates in the country. The company’s years of experience in this sector has allowed Rentokil to build up extensive knowledge of all types of pests and also develop technical expertise in dealing with them, from exclusion and detection to capture, identification and elimination.
Company profile: National Pest Control
National Pest Control is a recognized industry leader in providing high quality and reliable pest control service solutions to all types of businesses and home owners across the UAE. Established in 1992, NPC today covers all Emirates with municipality approved operations running from Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. NPC’s in depth experience, technical and resource capability allows it to provide its clients with the best solutions for their issues.