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Why Technicians Can’t Give Pesticides to Customers

By Chris Williams on January 18, 2012.

Q. I’ve asked the pest control technician that comes to my apartment to leave me some of those cockroach bait stations so I can use them between his visits. He says he can’t do that. Why not? These look just like the same bait stations I could buy in the grocery store and our property pays for his services.

A. There are several very good reasons why the technician can’t leave pesticides with you (and yes, the bait stations do contain pesticides).

1) While the pesticides may look like the ones you could buy in the store, they’re not. The products that pest control professionals use are usually formulated differently, are sold only to professionals, and are often stronger than those sold to citizens. Consequently, the use and safety directions may be different than what you are used to.

pest-control2) Some products that professionals use are labeled as restricted use products by the Environmental Protection Agency. The labels say, “For retail sale to and use only by Certified Applicators or persons under their direct supervision…” Anyone using these products who does not meet these requirements is violating the law. The technician would be liable for providing the pesticide to a noncertified applicator.

3) The technician cannot give you pesticide products (restricted use products, or not) because, once he does, he loses control over the use of those products. Even if he were to explain to you how to use the product, he has no guarantee that you would then use it correctly or safely. If there was a misuse or a pesticide poisoning, the technician would be held liable. His reputation and his company’s reputation would suffer.

4) It’s illegal to give away (or sell) any pesticide unless it’s in its original container with original label attached. Loose cockroach bait stations do not have the box’s original label attached and cannot be legally distributed to customers. In many states, it is illegal to give away any pesticide product, labeled or not, without a dealer’s license.

Your pest control technician is specially trained and certified to apply professional products in a professional manner. You are not. It’s his job to resolve your pest problem and he has a vested interest in doing so. If you feel his work isn’t thorough enough or you are not getting the result you expect, call his company. They will make sure you’re satisfied. But please understand the reasons why your technician has to say “sorry, no” when you ask him for pesticides.

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