Scottish householders beset by pest problems are being urged to be wary of another type of infestation - cowboy traders.
The British Pest Control Association (BPCA) has described the pest control industry as “awash” with people who are not true specialists, costing millions of pounds in failed treatments.
And while the association freely admits that anyone keen to get rid of an infestation is likely to look for the cheapest solution it warns that could be a false economy.
Simon Forrester, chief executive of the BPCA, warned that while the cowboys might submit the lowest quote: “They might not be fully trained or keep their knowledge up to date.
“The job might not be done properly or effectively and that can create big problems further down the road.
“Pest control is a specialised industry in which treatments can be complicated and if people bring in unqualified controllers because they’re cheap, infestations can rapidly get out of hand.”
Mr Forrester advised: “Homeowners would be well advised to look beyond headline costs before reaching for the phone.”
He added: “Most simply want the job done right first time and, by employing a company or individual affiliated with the BPCA, they can be sure they’re using an expert in the field.
The BPCA introduced new rules at earlier this year, which make it obligatory for every member of the BPCA involved in the eradication and control of pests to hold at least one of a list of industry-standard qualifications and keep their professional knowledge up to date.
All members must follow Codes of Best Practice covering issues including contract work, surveys, live capture, wildlife management and the use of specialist pesticides.
Mr Forrester gave assurances about the BPCA’s role: “We check and regularly re-check all our member companies to ensure they’re legitimate, professional and fully insured. We look at their books and make sure all staff are both fully trained and maintaining that knowledge.
“It means anyone using our members can rest assured their job is in safe and capable hands.”