Local Authority or Council Pest Control:
Much has been made of the Government cutbacks effecting pest control services. I have had a lot of dealings with Council run pest control services, in fact I started my pest control career back in 1978 with Wokingham District Council. First I must point out that just because a pest control department is privately run by an outside contractor (such as SDK, who run Slough, Windsor & Maidenhead Pest control service as well as High Wycombe) it does not actually act any differently. This is because often the company will take over the staff (with their working attitudes and practices) who will carry on in the same way just under a different name.
It is also wrong for council run pest control services to get involved in private contracts as they will often undercut private companies as they don’t have to show they are making a profit but just take the contracts to keep their technicians busy in the winter.
Demand for pest control services varies greatly. The number of jobs taken per day can be low as 3-6 in December but can be over 100 in July. At PEST UK the technicians may work from 8am to 8pm 6 days a week in the Summer to get as many jobs done as possible. Large companies or Local Authorities will not have this flexibility so the service suffers with long waiting lists and disgruntled customers. The Local Authority (or company carrying out the work on their behalf) loses out. The customer phoning in is not happy because the Council is charging for a service and then not doing it very well.
A problem with doing ‘free’ pest control (not really ‘free’ because some one has to pay in the end, the taxpayer) is that people often do not take any action to prevent pests. A good example is bird feeding. This is one of the main reasons for the increase in rat populations and when people are paying for a service and told that they will be wasting their money and the treatment will fail unless they stop, they usually do so as they do not want to waste their money. If a person knows that they can just pick up the phone and get the service for free they won’t bother to stop bird feeding. This scenario can apply to many aspects of pest control as treatment is only part of any pest problem.
The way to provide satisfaction for the public is for the council to send customers to the BPCA. They can then make their own choice from a list of reputable companies. This would cut the councils costs and council tax bills and make more pest control companies join the BPCA (they have strict criteria for joining) which would lead to a better quality pest service all round.
For advice or a pest control treatment please phone PEST UK on 0330 100 2811. Alec Minter