Farmers suffering problems with pests are being urged to be wary of cowboy traders.
Anyone keen to rid themselves of an infestation is likely to look for the cheapest solution in a bid to balance the budget.
But the British Pest Control Association (BPCA) says ignoring the professional approach simply to save money can prove to be a false economy.
Simon Forrester, chief executive of the industry’s leading trade body, said: “The pest control industry is awash with people who are not true specialists in the field.
“While they might submit the cheapest 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.
“Farmers and farm managers would be well advised to look beyond headline costs before reaching for the phone.”
Millions of pounds is wasted every year on failed treatments and Mr Forrester insists only by using recognised professionals can businesses be sure of a professional job.
He added: “Most people 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.
“We’ve established strict criteria to ensure the professionalism of our members.
“It sends out a strong message that when people use members carrying our logo, they can have peace of mind that the job will be done properly and professionally and are assured safe, effective and legal treatment.”
The new rules, introduced at the start of the year, 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 a variety of issues including contract work, surveys, live capture, wildlife management and the use of specialist pesticides.
Mr Forrester added: “Our rules act as an assurance that BPCA members are fully qualified to deal with all species of rodents and insects and will be well versed in integrated pest management as well as the use of chemicals and health and safety issues.
“And because we insist members take part in a recognised training scheme, they’ll always be up to date with the latest techniques and developments.
“That’s particularly important in an industry where changes happen so quickly in terms of new products, new legislation and even new pests.”
The criteria has further positive implications as BPCA-registered companies must agree to regular audit and assessment as part of their membership of the body.
Mr Forrester said: “We check and regularly re-check all our 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.
“The BPCA logo has become the mark of a true expert and anyone/businesses who ignores such a professional approach could be leaving themselves open to a fall.”