What does an Exterminator do?

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What is an Exterminator?

Also known as: Pest Control Practitioner, Pest Control Exterminator, Pest Exterminator, Pest Control Technician

An exterminator (or pest control technician) has the varied and sometimes interesting job of exterminating roaches, mice, mosquitoes, wasps, spiders, termites or any other animals which are considered pests. They can be self-employed, or work for organizations that do large scale pest control for government institutions, school facilities and food manufacturing businesses.

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What does an Exterminator do?

An exterminator's main job is to get rid of pest infestations, but they also have to deal with distressed customers and educate them about the various methods that may be used when dealing with the pests. An exterminator spends a great deal of time working in pest-infested areas that usually consist of places like basements, attics and other crawl spaces. Though extermination is by no means a glamorous career, there is enough diversity in the types of pests and their various hideouts, that it is certainly not boring. In fact, exterminators might even find their jobs much more interesting than office-based, white-collar employment.

An exterminator usually works according to a specific plan. He/she usually talks to the customer about the issue first, and then conducts a thorough examination of the infested area which involves carefully examining all suspected places in the house. Exterminators also check nearby conditions to look for possible sources of the pests, like maybe a garbage or sewage disposal issue. An exterminator then discusses his findings with the customer and also informs them about the various methods that are available to solve the issue. With the customer's consent and approval, the exterminator drafts a complete plan of action, with the most drastic being the sealing of the house and thorough gassing. Mostly, however, the process is much simpler and involves spraying insecticides and/or pesticides in the correct quantity or simply setting traps. Thereafter, the exterminator must teach the customers how to prevent similar issues in the future.

The job requires a lot of patience in dealing with customers who are often distressed about the infestations. Thus, an exterminator must have knowledge of how to deal with such people and their emotions. There might also be children in the house who might find the idea of killing things disturbing, and it is the exterminator's job to gently explain to them the various diseases and problems that can be caused by an insect infestation in the house.

What is the workplace of an Exterminator like?

Self-employed exterminators can have a varied schedule and set their own working hours, while those that are employed by a corporation have a fixed working schedule. In both cases however, a lot of time is spent driving to and from various appointments.

An exterminator mostly works in cramped and possibly dirty places that include basements, attics and house foundations. They also sometimes have to identify the source of an infestation and this may include trips to equally unpleasant places including garbage disposal sites and sewage systems. Therefore, an exterminator must be comfortable working in non-traditional workplaces and should have proper protection and safety equipment.

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Further Reading

  • Exterminator/Pest Control

    The work of extermination requires traveling to customer sites and consulting with building and home owners.

  • 10 Qualities of Outstanding Pest Control Employees

    As pest control operators it can be challenging at times finding extraordinary employees and technicians to work for your company. Showing up to work everyday and performing adequately is expected, but it doesn’t make for an outstanding employee.

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