1. What are pests?

Pests are living things, which are harmful to humans. But some pests are also called “vectors” because they transmit diseases and cause public health concern.

2. Why are they pests?

They are pests because they and their presence are responsible for:

  • Annoyance
  • Contravention of legislations
  • Damages
  • Diseases
  • Fear
  • Loss of goodwill
3. How can I prevent a pest problem?

You must ensure:

  • Proper sanitation / housekeeping.
  • Correct defective engineering / architectural design to prevent pest entry and harborage.
  • Treatment by licensed and PAL/APAL certified pest management professionals.

PAL = Pesticide Applicator License
APAL = Assistant Pesticide Applicator License

4. If I notice some pest activity (e.g. rats, cockroaches, mosquitoes, insects), what should I do?

If these are the common vectors (i.e. rats, cockroaches, mosquitoes flies and fleas that are capable of transmitting diseases) you should alert the people who are responsible for managing these pests to have them eliminate quickly and safely, without harming the environment.

If you are responsible for this role and need professional help, we suggest that you contact a reliable pest management company immediately. If these are not vectors and you can live with their presence, please leave them alone. Remember we have to share our planet Earth with other living things.

5. Where can I find more information on the various pests?

Please visit the website of our Member Companies List. Many of them have archives that contain interesting and helpful information. Alternatively, some companies have a help line and can help answer some of your pest concerns.

6. Are high rise building safe from pests?

Unfortunately, no. Pests are extremely adaptable. Cockroaches, house ants and flying insects are still found in many high-rise apartments & buildings. Mosquitoes have been found in flats 22 storey up; rats have been know to damage wires 30 floors up; and even termites can make their way to the 48 th storey. The way high-rise apartments are built explains how pests can gain access. Boxed –in pipe runs, concealed ducts for service conduits, false ceiling, rubbish chutes and built-in cabinets all provide well-concealed highways for cockroaches, rats, ants and termites.

7. Should I treat my apartment/house when my neighbour doesn’t treat his?

It depends on the pest involved. A termite inspection and treatment contract for an individual unit is usually useful. Though there is no way to prevent termites moving up the service conduits (unless soil treatment or preventive treatment has been commissioned by the developer or management corporation) the contract can do much to protect you. It will provide rodent management contract which involves the placement of baiting stations within your premises, whilst a cockroach spray treatment alongside all walls will help to reduce rampant cockroach movement in your premises. Thus, a pest management contract within your own apartment unit/ house is still extremely useful, but can be further enhanced if the common areas are also treated especially for condos and apartments.

8. Do we have to vacate the premises when treatment is carried out?

No, a pest management job is usually a simple procedure. In most cases, you don’t even need to move out all. Only when insecticidal gassing or misting is involved, then it becomes necessary to move out, and that is for just a few hours.

9. Are all the chemicals that are going to be used on my premises for vector control approved by the Pesticide Board, (PB) Jabatan Pertanian, Jln Sultan Salahuddin, 50480 K.L.

Only chemicals approved by PB should be used for vector management services. Please refer to the PB for details.

Go to

10. What is fumigation?

Fumigation involves the use of a poisonous gas (eg. Methyl Bromide), and as such, it involves stringent safety requirements. The fumigator must be licensed by the Ministry of Health. Any other form of chemical treatment is not fumigation (eg. thermal fogging, misting, spraying, etc.)

11. Are pest management field staff qualified?

In Malaysia, all vector management field staff are required to be licensed or certified by the Pesticide Board of Malaysia, Kementerian Pertanian. PCAM strongly recommends that you insist on PAL/APAL-trained staff to service you premises. The Association provides PAL/APAL training twice a year usually in March and September before the Pesticide Board’s licensing examination.

PAL = Pesticide Applicators License
APAL = Assistant Pesticide Applicators License

Go to: for more details on the exams.

12. How do I go about selecting a pest management company?
  1. As a trade association we recommend that you select any PCAM Members listed in our Website Yellow Pages, Super Pages and other media advertisements under our PCAM Umbrella.You may wish to call up more than one company and select the one that you are comfortable with based on how they respond to your queries , their track record, the service they offer and of course, their price and so on.
  2. You may want to check their licenses issued by the Pesticide Board. There are 3 licenses available for checking:-
    1. Pesticide Applicators License (PAL) staff license ( Plastic card like a credit card with the Lesen No: PA1021 for example with the Staff photo, IC No. and Company’s name & address and the Pesticide Rules )
    2. Pest Control Operator’s license – Company’s license Pesticide Rules 2004 ( Sub-rule 6[3] )
    3. Pesticide Sales/Storage License – Pesticides Act 1974 ( Sect.17[2] )

    Download samples of the licenses

  3. You may even check with the Pesticide Board and the chemical supply company the pesticides/chemicals used, whether it is approved by the Board and the guarantee given by the chemical supply company. Always used chemicals that are of quality and the RIGHT dosage applied and approved by the Pesticide Board of Malaysia.
    • Pesticide Board of Malaysia
      Jabatan Pertanian

      Bahagian Kawalan Racun Perosak,
      Jabatan Pertanian Jalan Sultan Salahuddin,
      50480 Kuala Lumpur.

      Tel: 03-2030 1400
      Fax: 03-2694 7001

    • Department Of Agriculture Malaysia (DOA)
      Ministry Of Agriculture (MOA)

      Aras 7-17, Wisma Tani Lot 4G2, Presint 4,
      Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan,
      62632 Putrajaya.

      Tel: 03- 8870 3000
      Fax: 03-8888 5069

    You can check the chemical brand and the dosage on the label.

  4. You may want to check their track record through referrals like their client list with their contacts and emails to verify their service testimonial and performance. Those that have performed well will be happy & proud to display their clients’ testimony of their service performance & also their Accreditation documents/credentials like ISO 9001, ISO 1400, SIRIM HACCP, IPM, IQS, GMP, CSIR Standards, Food & Safety Standards like AIB, OHSA,NIOSH, CIDB – Fumigation compliant -AFAS/AQIS, MAFAS, ISPM-15 etc. to their existing & potential clients.

    Terms and Abbreviations
    Service Standards
    ISO 9001 = International Standards for Organization for Quality Management Services
    ISO 1400 = Environmental Management System
    SIRIM = Standards & Industrial Research Institute of Malaysia
    HACCP = Hazard Analysis and Critical Control points
    IPM = Integrated Pest Management
    IQS = Integrated Quality System
    GMP = Good Manufacturing Practices
    CSIR = Council for Scientific & Industrial Research

    Food & Safety Standards
    AIB = American Institute of Baking (Food Safety Standards)
    OHSA = Occupational Health & Safety Assessment Schemes
    NIOSH = Institute of Occupational Safety & Health
    CIDB = Construction & Industrial Development Board

    Fumigation Accreditations & Standards
    AFAS = Australian Fumigation Accreditation Scheme
    AQIS = Australia Quarantine and Inspection Service
    MAFAS = Malaysian Fumigation Accreditation Scheme
    ISPM = International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures

    Just type the initials in the Yahoo/Google search engine for more details of the various standards, accreditations and schemes.

13. Would a pest management company be able to respond to my pest problem on the phone?

Dealing with pests requires professional expertise and help cannot be effectively rendered without a site survey or inspection. Simply put, a doctor will never be able to attend to a person’s illness without first seeing the patient. Similarly, to get the best professional help on pests, it would de prudent to select a Pest Management Company to investigate the problem, identify the pest then agree to the method and cost of treatment before the service is rendered.

14. How do I judge if the price quoted is reasonable?

As with anything, you get what you pay for. Normally if price is important, you settle for just the basic service of eliminating the pest. But if you expect something more, then you must expect to have to pay more. The decision has to be yours to make, based on your needs and what you are prepared to pay.

15. I saw a small insects flying into my house at night and attracted to the fluorescent lights. What should I do?

They are likely to be the termite “alates” or the reproductive forms of termites. They swarm to form new colonies. Depending on species and weather condition, subterranean termites usually swarm in the early evening – when it is cooler &often right after rain. They are easily attracted by lights and can been hovering around street lightings along roadside. They could also attract by light sources at home and enter premises quickly. If you encounter such situation at home, you could quickly destroy them with aerosol insecticide spray. However, if you are living on landed property and do not have any pest management contract, it is dvisable to engage a reliable Pest Management Company to conduct check in your premises to ensure that it is free from subterranean termite infestation.

Can you tell the difference between flying ants and termites?

Termites “alates” look a lot like ants reproductive. In fact, homeowners often mistake flying ants for termite swarmers and become alarmed. But look closely and you’ll see several differences.

16. What are the tell tales signs of subterranean termites?

The common signs of infestation are:

  1. Mud shelter
  2. Damage wood work or timber-based products.
  3. Swarms of alates, especially at dusk just before rain.
17. If I find termites (“white ants”) on my property ‘should I just spray them with a can of insecticide?

Termites look very much like little “white ants”, hence their local name. They look harmless because they do not bite (except for large outdoor Macrotermes species) but they are the most complex insect pest in Malaysia. Getting rid of them with a can of insecticide will not eliminate the problem because a mature nest will have at least 1 million inhabitants and what you are eliminating will at most be 200 termites.

Do not disturb the termites. Call in a Pest Management Company immediately to eliminate the nest and its inhabitants.

18. What should I do if I see ants running in my kitchen?

Unless you could identify the ant nests which are likely to be inside the cracks and crevices on wall tile or floors, it is not advisable to destroy the running ants, or ant trails with a can of aerosol insecticide. This is because some indoor pest ants are sensitive to the presence of repellent insecticide e.g. pyrethroids found in the aerosol spray. This may cause the ant colonies to bud and reproduce even more ants and worsen the infestation. ‘Budding’ is a unique reproduction process of some pest ants by having one or several mated ant queens with group of worker ants carrying the brood leaving original colony to form new nests. It is advisable for you to seek professional advice and engage a reliable Pest Management Company to thoroughly inspect your premise to manage the pest ant problem.

19. What are the tell tales signs of cockroaches?

The common signs of infestation are:

  • Odour
  • Droppings
  • Egg capsules (othecae)
  • Damaged packing , especially of food
  • Moulted body shells
20. Can I get rid of cockroaches easily with spray?

The household aerosol spray is, at best, a temporary solution. It is not equipped to treat “difficult to reach” areas such as sewer runs, rubbish chutes, manholes or inspection pits where cockroaches harbour and breed. Moreover, being an oil-based spray it should not be used on tiled floors, planted areas or near open flames. Engage a Pest Management Company for long term solution.

21. What are the tales sign of rodents?

The common signs of infestation are:

  • Dropping and their urine smell.
  • Damage to packing, especially food.
  • Gnaw marks and marks grease.
  • Burrows and runways.
22. I experience mosquito bites from time to time. What should I do to prevent mosquito breeding at home?

There is possibility of mosquito breeding at home or neighborhoods. As the life-cycle of mosquitoes is about a week, you are advised to check your home thoroughly at least once weekly to get rid of any stagnant water in flower vases, potted plants and unwanted receptacles to prevent mosquito breeding. If the nuisance persists, you should feedback to the appropriate Authorities to check and eliminate the nuisance. If you need professional assistance, it is advisable to engage a reliable Pest Management Company to conduct check in your premises to ensure that it is free from mosquito breeding.

23. I saw some tiny insects resting on walls next to my air conditioning unit. What are these insects and are they harmful?

These are likely to be booklice or psocids. These are small insects and their maximum size ranging from about 1-2mm. They have soft body and look like tiny termite workers. Some of them have four wings but some may be wingless and posses a chewing mouth part. In the indoors, they prefer damp places e.g. toilets, air- conditioning, damp wall papers/books and flower beds. They do not damage anything or are harmful but are pests by being present in great numbers. As they feed on mould and fungi, the most effective ways of eliminating them is through effective moisture control and ventilation as well as good house keeping. However, if the nuisance persists, it is advisable to seek help from professional Pest Management Company to check and eliminate the nuisance.

24. How do the professionals keep pest birds from their roosts and perches?

There is range of devices (both visual and acoustical), chemical repellents’ including sticky pastes on ledges and roots, mechanical barriers, baits and biological control (nest or roost destruction, modification of habitat etc) that the professional can use depending on the circumstances or surroundings of the venue that require the service. It may interest you to know that in Malaysia, only the mynahs, pigeons, crows and starlings are considered pest birds.

25. About termites

Differences between ants and termites:


  • Elbowed antennae
  • Thin waistband
  • Hind wings smaller than front wings


  • Straight antennae
  • Flat, round waist
  • Both wings have the same size
26. How do I know if the materials that a pest control operator is using are safe?

First, make sure that any company you hire is reputable and licensed.

Do not be misled by overzealous pest control operators who claim that their methods are the best and the guarantees offered by them.

Pesticides, by nature, are designed to kill and therefore cannot be termed “safe” otherwise these pesticides need not be registered with Pesticides Board in the first place.

They can, however, be used responsibly with little or no impact on people, pets, or plants if they are used in accordance with labelled directions.

If you have specific health concerns, ask your pest control operator for the label which contains information on the active ingredients, level of toxicity, and other information that you can discuss with your doctor.

27. Why should I hire a professional pest control operator when I can do it myself?

Do-it-yourself pest control is certainly an option for homeowners. However, most homeowners lack the knowledge and training that professionals have to treat pest problems effectively.

An essential component in treating a pest problem effectively is correctly identifying the insect species and developing a course of treatment that takes the insect’s biology and habits into account.

Inappropriately carried out, it may aggravate the problems, resulting in a longer period of effective control.

It is also critical that the treatment materials used are handled properly to ensure effective treatment and environmental responsibility.

A professional pest control operator has the training and expertise to do these things, leading to the most effective solution to your pest problem.

If you do choose to handle your pest problem yourself, be sure to follow all label directions carefully.

To insert more frequently asked questions, please email questions to us and if appropriate, the Association will insert the questions and answers in this FAQ column for the continuous improvement of standards, professionalism and quality service in the Pest Control Industry and for the benefit of the consumers & the public, at large in Malaysia.


Sharing, updating & monitoring of questions & answers, information, data and knowledge is an important & integral part of continuous quality service & product improvementISO 9001:2000