The cost of pest control treatments can vary by many hundreds of dollars, the latest Consumer Affairs Price Check survey has found.
When pest control firms were asked to quote for treating a small three-bedroom house in the northern suburbs for termites and cockroaches, prices ranged from $230 to $625.
And the cost of annual termite maintenance treatment ranged from $75 to $135.
Consumer Affairs Minister Yvonne Henderson announced the results of the survey today, and said the results also showed there appeared to be no connection between the size of the operation and the price quoted.
"As well, of the 19 pest control companies who came to give a quote on the treatment, some took half an hour, inspecting tree trunks and garden beds as well as the brick-and-tile house," Mrs Henderson said.
"Other operators took 10 minutes, offering little advice and information.
"Ten provided written quotes and treatment details. Three provided a brief written quote. Two others wrote their quotes on the back of a business card. Two gave verbal quotes only, and two offered quotes that could not be used for comparison.
"The dearest quote for initial treatment for termites and cockroaches was $625 from Flick Pest Control and the cheapest was $230 from B & P Pest Control," the Minister said.
The dearest quote for annual maintenance was $135 from Economic Pest Control and National Pest Control and the cheapest was $75 from Westate Pest Control and G & K Pest Control.
"Clearly, the advice that consumers should shop around holds good for the pest control industry, as with other consumer areas," Mrs Henderson said.
"Consumers need to be aware that the only approved chemical for termite treatments in existing homes is an organophosphate called Chlorpyrifos.
"Operators must be licensed by the State Health Department, and working for registered firms.
"Consumers should follow a check list from the Health Department.
"It says, for instance, that consumers should ask to see the operator's licence, and insist on written confirmation of the chemical to be used, as well as the concentration and method of application.
"Warranties on treatment depend on annual inspections being carried out, and if you cancel the annual inspections your warranty against termites will be invalid.
"Remember too, that there may be non-chemical ways of fixing your pest problem, and think about the possible alternatives."
Mrs Henderson announced the survey results at the Health Department's Pest Control Unit in Graylands.
The results will be published in the `West Australian' tomorrow.