Engaging a pest management technician

Whether you are a householder or represent a school, childcare centre or residential block, there are steps you should take if you engage a pest management technician (pest controller) to manage pests at your premises.

Check that a pest controller is licensed

By law, a person carrying out prescribed pesticide work must hold a licence. Pest management technician licences are issued by the NSW EPA. 

Some similar licences from other states and territories are also acceptable, with the exception of those issued in Queensland.

Licensed pest controllers must ensure they only use registered pesticides covered by a label or permit and take all measures to avoid harming other people, animals or damaging the environment.

Search the EPA’s public register

To check that a pest controller is licensed, search the EPA’s public register for records on pesticide licences and permits.

You can search using any, or a combination, of terms, such as a licence holder’s name or a licence number, to confirm they are licensed.

Some other states and territories also operate public registers.

Ask to see a pest controller’s licence

To double-check a pest controller is licensed, ask to see their licence before agreeing to any pest control work.

Check that

  • they have a photo licence card
  • the photo on the licence matches the person carrying out the work
  • the expiry date on the licence has not passed

If you can’t find a person or licence, or a pest controller is unable to produce their licence, contact the 24/7 NSW Environment Line on 131 555 or info@epa.nsw.gov.au.

The EPA can take regulatory action against unlicensed pest controllers, including prosecution for serious cases with a maximum penalty of $60,000.

Sample NSW pesticide licence issued by the EPA

Ask for the full product name and safety data sheet for the pesticide

Ask the pest controller for the full product name of the pesticide to be used.

All pesticides sold in Australia must be registered by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).

For details on pesticides registered for use in Australia, visit the APVMA’s public chemical registration information system.

For details on pesticides which may be available for off-label use under a permit, search the APVMA’s permits system.

Safety data sheets are documents that provide vital information about how a pesticide may be used safely. A pest controller must provide the relevant safety data sheets for the pesticides being used on request.

The full product name and the safety data sheet will assist you if you are concerned that your health may have been affected by a pesticide, or if you think pesticides may have been misused.

Pesticide application and your health

Pesticides can be dangerous if incorrectly applied or managed. Consider non-chemical pest control measures. The key is to make your house and garden unattractive to pests.

If you do engage a pest controller, it is important to understand the risks associated with pesticide exposure. These are dependent upon two factors: the hazard (toxicity) of the pesticide and the amount of exposure to that pesticide.

In other words, Risk = Hazard x Exposure.

The level of hazard reflects how toxic or poisonous a chemical is. Read the labels to find out which products are poisonous. For example, ‘Caution’ means low potential for causing harm, while ‘Dangerous Poison’ means high potential for causing harm.

Exposure occurs when a pesticide is inhaled, ingested, or touched and increases with concentration and/or the time over which the exposure occurs. Pesticides can negatively affect your health after a single exposure or repeated exposure over time.

It is also important to understand the steps you can take beforehand to minimise exposure around the home, for example

  • prepare your home by covering kitchen utensils, bench surfaces or removing furniture
  • cover or remove bird cages and fish tanks and relocate other pets before pesticides are used
  • use the smallest amount of pesticide possible
  • leave the treatment area while the pesticide is taking effect and keep away sensitive people such as young children, pregnant women and the elderly
  • before you re-enter the treatment area, ensure it has dried and has been well-ventilated
  • do not eat, drink or smoke in the treatment area until it is safe to do so

For more information, see

If you are concerned about your health and direct exposure to pesticides, seek medical attention immediately.

  • in an emergency call triple zero (000)
  • contact a doctor immediately or your nearest hospital
  • call the 24/7 NSW Poisons Information Centre on 131 126

Compulsory notification

Public authorities; property managers and strata managers; and pest management technicians are required to give notice that they intend to apply pesticides in situations including

  • public places such as parks and ovals
  • common areas of multiple occupancy, such as residential complexes
  • places with young children, pregnant women or the elderly, for example, schools, childcare centres, nursing homes, hospitals and community health centres, and NSW universities

See more information about compulsory notification of pesticide use.

Use of restricted bird control products

Only a pest management technician that has completed bird management training can use bird control products containing alphachloralose or 4-aminopyridine (trade name ‘Scatterbird’). Before such products are used on your property ask to see proof that the pest management technician has completed the required training.

Reporting pesticide misuse

If you believe pesticides are harming other people, damaging the environment or being misused, contact the 24/7 NSW Environment Line on 131 555 or info@epa.nsw.gov.au.

To help the EPA with their enquiries

  • explain your interaction with the PMT including the date, time and location
  • describe the physical appearance of the operator and any known contact details
  • send any relevant photographs or video recordings
  • describe the incident or incidents you are concerned about
  • describe symptoms of harm to people, plants or animals
  • provide the name or type of pesticide used
  • explain how the pesticide was applied, for example, from a knapsack
  • provide names and contact details of any other witnesses

If you have concerns about pest control work at your premises, contact the pest management company that carried out the treatment or contact NSW Fair Trading.

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