Over the years, wildlife control has become a viable career option, either as a standalone business or as an addition to a pest control business. A more recent trend is standalone wildlife control businesses adding traditional pest control to their services.
Wildlife control and pest control are actually very much alike: Both are service businesses offering clients solutions. And just as the structural pest control industry has the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), the wildlife control industry has the National Wildlife Control Operators Association (NWCOA). Both nonprofit trade associations advocate for their industries, fight restrictive regulations, set industry standards and provide training for their members. Many operators have membership in both NWCOA and NPMA.
GROWING MARKET SEGMENT
That said, the professional wildlife control industry is fairly young. As such, it is still going through some growing pains. Some states have testing and other licensing requirements that are so restrictive, it almost seems like they were designed to restrict competition. Other states have no testing and a free permit system with no insurance, training or basic level-of-competence requirements. Neither are optimal for a viable industry.
Some of the “advice” we see online concerning wildlife control is so sketchy that it’s just one bad outcome away from creating a knee-jerk reaction from regulators that could affect operators statewide. NWCOA has worked hard on creating industry standards to help avoid the spread of bad practices and misinformation that could negatively affect our industry.
At the center of this is NWCOA’s Wildlife Control Operators Training Course (WCOTC), which will take place Feb. 6-7, 2023, during Wildlife Expo at the Marriott Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Resort & Spa at Grande Dunes. This certified course covers inspection, removal, safety, repair, ethics and more. It was designed to help both new and established operators avoid potential issues associated with wildlife control, giving them a level of competency to provide clients with a safe and effective approach to wildlife control. The Expo itself, which NWCOA co-hosts with the NPMA, goes from Feb. 6-9, 2023, at the resort.
Bat Standards, Certified Rodent and Bird Management courses also were created to provide operators with a level of competence to protect themselves, their clients and, most of all, bats and wildlife. Visit NWCOA.com/events, as the association offers these courses frequently, both online and in-person.
All of these courses are starting points, or prerequisites, with additional classes providing more in-depth information on professional repair, removal techniques, sales, zoonotic diseases and more. These courses are being accepted and/or required by states for licensing; they were created by experienced operators who have implemented these best management practices in their own successful businesses.
For 2023 and beyond, we look forward to seeing more pest control and wildlife control companies joining forces, offering services and elevating the professional status of both industries as they protect the structures, health and peace of mind of their customers. See you at the Wildlife Expo in February — you can register today online at Wildlife.npmapestworld.org.