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Environment Protection Authority

Don't get stung by unlicensed pest controllers, says EPA

Media release: 13 October 2016

Port Stephens and Newcastle residents should check their pest controller is licensed following a report of a rogue operator in the area.

EPA Executive Director of Hazardous Incidents and Environmental Health Sarah Gardner said people should demand to see an operator’s Pest Management Technician licence before they agree to any work being done.

“Pesticides can pose a serious threat to the health of operators, people and pets and the environment if not used properly. The right product needs to be matched to the job,” she said.

“By engaging a licensed pest technician, you can have confidence that that person has undertaken the appropriate training to apply pesticides safely in your home.”

The advice follows a tip-off to the EPA’s Environment Line about an alleged rogue operator in Port Stephens. The EPA’s investigations found the technician had left the area, abandoning an office leased to manage its operations.

The EPA is conducting a state wide campaign to check for unlicensed operators. There are currently 123 licensed Pest Management Technicians registered in Newcastle and 49 registered in Port Stephens.

Mrs Gardner suggested checking the Pest Management Technician licence to verify that the photo on the licence matches the person carrying out the work and that the expiry date is current.

“If the pest controller refuses to present their licence, then it is time to contact the EPA’s Environment Line on 131 555. We can confirm if a current licence exists or take a report to investigate potential unlawful activity.”

Information that will assist the EPA with its enquiries includes:

  • explaining your interaction with the pest controller including the date, time and location
  • describing the physical appearance of the operator and/or any contact details you have gathered
  • photographs or video recordings
  • symptoms of harm to people, plants or animals
  • the name or type of pesticide used
  • how the pesticide was applied, for example knapsack
  • names and contact details of any other witnesses

“If practical and safe, try not to wash equipment and areas that have been sprayed until you have received advice from the EPA as they may be important evidence,” she said.

The EPA can take regulatory action against unlicensed Pest Management Technicians including prosecution for serious cases with a maximum fine of $60,000.

In September 2015 licensing arrangements for pest management technicians were transferred from Safe Work NSW to the NSW EPA. There are currently over 4000 licenced Pest Management Technicians in NSW.

Contact: EPA Public Affairs

Page last updated: 13 October 2016