How to become a Pest and Weed Controller

Pest and weed controllers kill or control plants, animals and insects that are considered troublesome or harmful to agricultural, industrial or domestic activities.

Personal requirements of a Pest and Weed Controller

  • Good communication and customer service skills
  • Able to work independently and solve problems
  • Free from breathing problems and related conditions
  • No known allergies to the chemicals used
  • Safety-conscious
  • Able to make accurate observations and calculations
  • Responsible attitude

Education & Training for a Pest and Weed Controller

You can work as a pest and weed controller without formal qualifications, but you will need to obtain a special licence, which requires some study. You will probably get some informal training on the job. Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have qualifications. You may like to consider a VET qualification in conservation and land management, urban pest management, vertebrate pest management or weed management. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. You can also become a pest and weed controller through a traineeship in Pest Management, Conservation and Land Management, Vertebrate Pest Management or Weed Management. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10. For more details, see Section 2. Ask your career adviser about the possibility of starting some of this training in school.

Duties & Tasks of a Pest and Weed Controller

Pest and weed controllers may perform the following tasks:

  • inspect properties, identify problems, determine treatments and provide estimates of costs at the request of landowners or government authorities
  • advise on preventative measures
  • apply appropriate pesticides (including sprays, gels, dusts, baits and fumigants) to infested areas
  • handle, mix and store chemicals following safety precautions and regulations set by manufacturers and government legislation
  • operate generators, compressors, and manual and electric pumps to inject or spray liquid and gaseous pesticides and herbicides
  • take care to minimise damage to other plants, animals and the environment
  • carry out simple maintenance practices to prevent pests entering buildings, such as bird-proofing roofs, and filling cracks and crevices
  • maintain equipment in safe, efficient working order
  • maintain work records of each property inspected, the pest or weed problem, chemicals used and the amount of time spent at each location
  • write reports for clients.

Working conditions for a Pest and Weed Controller

Pest and weed controllers have a lot of contact with chemicals and wear protective clothing such as overalls, gloves and masks. Pest controllers work both inside and outside and are sometimes required to work in cramped conditions, such as under houses or in attics. Weed controllers usually work outside. Pest and weed controllers usually have a lot of contact with clients.

Employment Opportunities for a Pest and Weed Controller

Pest and weed control is largely seasonal work, with high demand for experienced staff in the summer months and less demand in winter. Controllers may work for large pest control companies servicing a wide geographical area, or they may be self-employed, operating in a relatively small area or specialising in a particular type of control. Demand may also be affected by the level of housing construction as new houses are required by law to be treated.

Additional Information
All persons who apply herbicides or pesticides for a fee or reward must have, or work under someone who has, an appropriate licence.
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