Experts from the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) are getting the word out to Floridians that the time to call a pest management professional (PMP) is before pests take over.
It issued a press release to journalists and newspaper outlets across the state this week, advising residents to contact a professional before an emergency arises or when public health issues or structural damage is a concern. Also included was a graphic that illustrates the message.
“Florida’s pest pressure tends to be higher due to multiple factors including our climate, rainfall and more,” said Dr. Faith Oi, Pest Management Professional editorial board member, UF/IFAS Extension entomology and nematology scientist, and director of Pest Management University (PMU). “Pests enter our homes because we keep areas comfortable for us which means our homes are also comfortable for pests.”
In the press release, Dr. Oi recommended residents select a PMP before they have a pest-related problem, and offered resources to make the task easier.
“There are a lot of things homeowners can do to prevent pests,” she said. “Do not feel pressured to buy pest control services on the spot. Do your homework. Florida has the largest pest control market in the U.S. and at UF/IFAS Extension, we have developed a resource to help select a pest control company that is right for you.”
The publication, titled “Homeowner’s Guide to Selecting a Pest Control Service,” offers tips on how to find a reputable pest control company, questions to ask before signing on with a company, and home maintenance tips to help ensure success with an integrated pest management (IPM) program. It also provides answers to frequently asked questions pest control customers may have.
The press release also mentioned PMU, a voluntary program that enables pest control companies to partially fulfill the 40-hour state initial training requirement for new technicians or existing employees who seek to advance their skill set, including those who qualify for the state certified operator exam.
UF/IFAS provides pest control companies in the PMU program training that is focused on science and compliance with laws, Dr. Oi said. UF/IFAS PMU does not develop company policy for attendees’ companies.
Florida residents can find PMU alumni — pest management companies that have gone above and beyond the minimum training required for state licensing — by visiting the PMU alumni locator.
“A PMU alumnus represents dedication from the company that supported the training and that they value continued learning to improve the industry,” said PMU instructor Joe Jonovich.
“One of the things we hear consistently from pest control companies is that they want homeowners to ask questions and be engaged,” he added. “We encourage homeowners to ask for IPM, a more sustainable method of pest management.”
In the press release, Dr. Oi stressed the importance of hiring the right company.
“There are a lot of reasons people want to move to Florida, but the pests like it too,” she said. “Pests have an amazing ability to survive our winters, but sometimes they do slow down this time of year. We have a lot of good companies in the state, so it is the right time to shop and do your homework to find the best fit.”