illustrative purposes only. Staff of National Pest Control, pest control treatment with heat on their site in Mazel Tower 2, Sharjah. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News Archive

Abu Dhabi: Authorities in the emirate have cautioned residents against using the services of unlicensed pest control companies or personnel. This could prove dangerous to health and even fatal at times, they warned.

Always hire licensed bug sprayers and cross examine their identification before permitting them to fumigate your premises; private pest controlling staff can be identified through their uniform and identity cards, the Centre of Waste Management (Tadweer) told Gulf News in a statement.

To spread awareness among residents, the centre said: “Only workers with adequate skills and appropriate equipment and pesticides are allowed to deal with pest problems.”

Replying to a question about unauthorised pest controllers in Abu Dhabi, the centre stated: “They didn’t identify any unauthorised pest controllers so far this year.”

All the existing pest control staff, including managers, supervisors and technicians are well-trained professionals, continuously monitored and managed by Tadweer, it said.

Past incidents

In 2015, the Abu Dhabi Court of First Instance found a pest control company owner guilty of causing a woman’s death, and ordered him to pay Dh30,000 on the manslaughter charge, Dh100,000 in blood money and Dh100,000 from his company because his staff had failed to follow the proper procedures while handling pesticides.

Also in 2015, a three-week-old Syrian baby boy died after the wrong pesticide was used, while a Filipino girl died in Dubai in 2014. In 2013, three people died and two fell seriously in Ajman after a company used unauthorised pesticides. In 2011, a man was killed in Dubai, and in 2012, 10 people were treated in hospital in Dubai, while in 2010, two boys were killed in Ajman and their sister fell very sick.

There are around 1,616 pest control operators in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. Residents can find the registered pest control operators on the website of Tadweer.

However, residents in Abu Dhabi appeared satisfied with the pest controller’s services. They had earlier complained about the companies exploiting residents.

An Abu Dhabi resident, Aboobker Mohammed Ansar said: “Nowadays, the municipal authorities have tightened the noose on unlicensed and untrained pest control operators, so now they are doing the job properly. Earlier, there were a number of unlicensed, untrained pesters who used to exploit us of our money and were not doing the job properly,” he said.

“Just a month back, I had pest treatment done at my apartment and the guys did the job properly,” said Ansar, an Abu Dhabi resident for 26 years. He paid Dh250 to the pest controller and gets it done twice a year.

The centre asserted that it regularly carries out awareness campaigns across the emirate of Abu Dhabi to educate the public about the dangers of using unlicensed pest controllers.

Tadweer also urged residents to complain at the Abu Dhabi Government contact centre’s toll free number 800555, round-the-clock.