Engaging a licensed pest control business and pest management technician

Most people will undertake pest control around their home, property or business at some stage, using pesticides purchased from a hardware store or supermarket. Sometimes you might have pest problems that will be too difficult for you to manage yourself. For these jobs, you should hire a licensed pest control operator. If you need professional pest control services, it’s essential to check that both the registered business and pest management technician are licensed.

Pest control licensing

Licensing ensures pest control operators are competent to use pesticides safely to prevent harm to people, pets, native animals and the environment.

Licences carry ‘Endorsements’ which show that the pest control operator has successfully completed training to deal with particular pest problems.

Any business who offers pest control services in South Australia for fee or reward must hold a Pest Controller’s licence.

Anyone who applies pesticides in South Australia for payment (fee or reward) must hold the appropriate Pest Management Technician’s Licence.

Types of pesticide licence

There are three main types of pesticide licence, including a:

  1. Pest Controller’s licence which is the business licence under which all Pest Management Technicians must work.
  2. Full Pest Management Technician (FPMT) licence which is someone who is licensed to undertake pest control work unsupervised. FPMTs have attained an appropriate qualification relevant to the type of pest control work to be undertaken.
  3. Limited Pest Management Technician (LPMT) licence which is someone who is licensed to undertake pest control work under the supervision of a FPMT. LPMTs have not yet attained all appropriate qualifications.

What to look for when checking a pest control business and pest control technician’s licences

If you need professional pest control services, contact a company that has a valid SA Health Pest Controller licence issued by Controlled Substance Licensing (CSL). No other entity in South Australia, other than SA Health, can issue these licences.

What to look for when engaging a pest management technician

For the consumer of pest control services, the most important licences are the FPMT and the LPMT. The person who physically undertakes the pest control work must hold one of these licences, so ask to see it.

  • FPMTs are issued a photo ID card:

On the back of the card, you will see the types of pesticides and types of pest control work the FPMT is authorised to undertake.

In this example photo ID, the FPMT is authorised to use fungicides, herbicides and insecticides (excluding arsenic trioxide) for control of weeds and plant pests. These licence endorsements show the technician has obtained qualifications specific to that type of pest control work and are very important in helping you make an informed choice.

  • Photo ID cards are not issued to LPMTs. LPMT’s do not have photo ID cards, as they are only authorised to work under the supervision of a FPMT.

Paper licences

Both FPMTs and LPMTs are issued with a paper licence (which they may or may not carry with them). The paper licence contains the same details as the photo ID card. An example FPMT licence is shown below.

Some LPMTs can undertake pest control work without their supervisor being physically present. These LPMTs have completed the pesticide safety component of their studies and may be authorised to work under Indirect Supervision. This means they must be within sight and/or sound (including telephone) of a supervising FPMT.

CSL issues approval to work under Indirect Supervision in writing, so you can ask to see the letter of approval or contact CSL for confirmation by emailing HealthControlledSubstances@sa.gov.au.

Commercial pest control licence look-up

If you have undertaken a search but remain unsure, contact CSL (via HealthControlledSubstances@sa.gov.au) to verify the company and/or technician's pesticide licence details.

Making a complaint

SA Health may investigate pest control operators for breaches of the Controlled Substances (Pesticides) Regulations 2017 or conditions of licence, including undertaking pest control work:

  • in South Australia without an appropriate licence(s) or exemption
  • their licence is not endorsed for
  • contrary to mandatory statements on the pesticide label.

SA Health does not assist with compensation claims for damage. Any compensation claims must be made through civil action.

To make a complaint about pest control services an initial report may be made by telephone on (08) 8226 7100. However, to initiate further action, information in writing should be submitted.

If you believe your consumer rights have been infringed contact Consumer and Business Services (CBS). For more information visit sa.gov.au website.

If you are concerned about the misuse of agricultural chemicals, contact the Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA). For more information visit Reporting chemical misuse - PIRSA.

What to check for when engaging a pest control operator

  • Use the licence look-up tables to find a licensed Pest Controller.  Once you have engaged a Pest Controller ask the name of the Pest Management Technician(s) who will be doing the work and use the look-up tables to check they have the correct licence and endorsements.
  • Research the pest control business you are thinking of engaging e.g. use the internet, contact professional pest control bodies or associations.
  • Talk to friends, family or neighbours who may be able to recommend a licensed business.
  • Obtain several quotes for the work and compare costs, services, products and techniques.
  • Is the company affiliated with a professional pest control organisation?
  • Make sure the business you are dealing with is a bona fide company – check that the business has a legitimate business address, is willing to provide a written quote, check if the invoice will be sent using the same business name as the business you have contracted, ensure you know the cost of the services and make sure the company holds the appropriate licences.
  • Can the company provide references?
  • Request a written inspection report and treatment plan.
  • What is their after-sales service policy if you are not satisfied with the work?
  • What do any contracts or guarantees cover, and what conditions are attached?
  • Request written information on the pesticides to be used e.g. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), treatment methods, evidence that the treatment method is effective, and what its limitations are.
  • Ask what to expect and what precautions to take during and following treatment.
  • Ask if the technician who will be doing the work is licensed and authorised to do the job, and confirm these details when they arrive by checking their licence endorsements and expiry date.
  • Is the company prepared to point out how you can help prevent future pest problems occurring?
  • Consider allergies, sensitivities and the age of occupants, and discuss any concerns with the company prior to the work being done.

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