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Michigan environmental experts warn against scammers offering mosquito control

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development says there's an uptick each year in complaints against businesses offering the service without a license

The amount of mosquitoes out there right now is no joke, but it does mean good business for Jonathan Smith. The Mosquito Authority Franchisee added about 50 new orders in the last month. 

"Business has been getting better," he says. "After we treat, they love it."

But for plenty of homeowners wanting treatments done, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is warning everyone of potential scams.

Rainy weather and standing water provide the perfect breeding grounds for the insects, and Smith says that can drive people to hastily appointments. 

"Sometimes they want something quick so they call the first place they find," he says.

State environmental experts say this trend happens every year as mosquito populations increase. Pesticide Registration Program Manager Kevin Kern says people should think twice about who they hire for pest control.

"When something is not legitimate, you might have somebody that's maybe not sure of themselves out on the job site," he says. "Maybe they're spraying during the day as opposed to dusk when mosquitoes as active, or they're probably not providing all the information they need to."

Kern says it's important that businesses are properly certified for everyone's safety.

"They really need to know what they're doing to not hurt themselves or someone else," he says.

Smith says he's noticed businesses operating without the required paperwork both in-person and online.

"There's a lot of lawncare companies where (mosquito control is) extra revenue, so they add it on," he says.

Smith hopes people do their research before contracting them to do the work.

"If a business is ready to standby their service and product, they'll guarantee it," he says.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has a list available online for anyone to check which companies are certified for mosquito control across the state.

The department has gotten five complaints so far this season, but they're sure more are out there that have yet to be reported or are still being investigated.

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