Pest Control & Exterminator Jobs
Pests are a real nuisance. The little buggers affect people's health, the environment, and the economy.
Pest control workers prevent, eliminate, mitigate, and manage pests. Pests like aphids, spider mites, beavers, mealybugs, whiteflies, and fungus gnats cause damage to plants and crops. Signs of pests may include suspicious chew marks or speckles on leaves. Sometimes, you may only notice your plants are dying. This is when you need to call a professional pest control worker.
The first step of pest management is to properly identify the pests so you can understand the pest-host relationship. Often a pest control worker will only be told that some plant pest is destroying a garden. After the pest is identified, he will monitor the environment and apply any pesticides or tricks to eliminate the pest.
The big problem with pest management is that it involves the use of pesticides. Pesticides include herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, and several other "-cides" that kill pests like algae, birds, bacteria, fungi, weeds, insects, mites, slugs, snails, nematodes, rodents, and viruses. Pesticides are applied by spray, dust, or vapor. When the pest comes into contact or consumes the pesticide, they are eliminated.
Pesticides are typically made out of synthetic chemicals and have earned a very bad reputation because they are toxic to humans. They leave a chemical residue on plants. Pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, and other species. Eventually they end up in kitchens around the world and this is why it's imperative to wash your fruits and veggies.
There are lots of natural ways to deter pest populations. How did they get rid of pests before Raid or Roundup were on your store's shelves? Natural pest control includes salt, boric acid, dried blood, and crushed eggshells. Ladybugs help reduce aphid populations. Plants with smells help too. Mint, marigolds, sage, garlic, chives, and onions all are known to reduce certain pests.
Pests eventually become resistant to pesticides. There is a continual scientific pursuit to find new pesticides and alternative methods of pest management. One solution is biopesticides.
Biopesticides are natural deterrents like species introduction, non-synthetic chemicals, hot water sprays, crop rotation, and soil steaming. It does away with dangerous chemicals and is equally effective. This option is readily available and is used in organic growing.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates labeling, sales, distribution, usage, and disposal of all pesticides. It demands that all pesticides have a minimal impact on the environment and reviews them every 15 years. After EPA approval, most pesticides can be bought in garden centers.
Many landscapers and gardeners use pesticides at work. Only professionals can apply certain restricted pesticides. Pesticides applicators are licensed to handle, use, and dispose of restricted pesticides. It is up to individual states to license and regulate pesticide applicators.
If you are interested in working in the pest control industry, beware of the potential health issues. Pesticide applicators need to always wear full protective suits, goggles, and masks. Even landscapers using over-the-counter pesticides need to cover up their skin just in case the wind picks up while they're spraying.
Pest control workers make about $12 per hour or about $30,000 per year. Often they are self-employed, but many work for landscaping firms. One exciting pest control niche is that of a crop duster. Crop dusters are agricultural aircraft pilots who apply pesticides from the air over large fields.
Whatever plant you have, there is a pest that enjoys it. There are humane ways to get rid of the creepy crawlies that give you such a headache. If you think you want to find a pest control job, learn about pesticides and pest control techniques and see where it takes you...
Quick Facts About Pest Control Work
Job Title: Pest control workers, Pesticide applicators
Description: Eliminate pests
Employers: Self-Employed, Landscaping Companies
Pay: $12 per hour or about $30,000 per year
National Applicator Certification Core Manual
National Pest Management Association
Association of Biocontrol Producers
National Pesticide Information Center
Enviornmental Protection Agency: Pesticides