Pesticide Applicators Must Be Licensed

To keep consumers safe, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture works to make sure that all persons who apply pesticides to someone else’s property are properly licensed.

All commercial pesticide applicators must be licensed through the Department’s Division of Pesticide Regulation under state law. These applicators include turf and lawn care professionals, structural pest control operators, and any other person who applies pesticides to the lands of others.

"Licensing assures the consumer that the person using pesticides on another's property should know what he or she is doing," said Agriculture Commissioner Billy Ray Smith. "It ensures that the applicator has been properly trained, knows how to use the equipment, and is aware of all the dangers and safety precautions needed for such a responsible task."

"This division has spent the last three years working to educate everyone in the industry on the laws and regulations, including the need to be licensed to apply pesticides," said John McCauley, director of the Division of Pesticide Regulation. "Licensing makes certain that applicators can better perform their duties and also works to protect the environment."

Licensed applicators must have liability insurance or a surety bond in the amount of $1 million, McCauley said. They must also attend industry training and educational programs. State law defines requirements for licensing, which also involves posting and record-keeping responsibilities. Click here to view the statute and regulations on the KDA web site. Written copies may be obtained by calling the division toll-free at (866) 289-0001.

A person who applies pesticides to someone else's land without a license can be fined up to $200 per occurrence, said Ken Franks of the Division of Pesticide Regulation. Fine money goes to Kentucky's general fund and does not benefit the Department, Franks said.

The KDA is willing to work with applicators to help them comply with state pesticide laws and regulations. Under the Department's compliance assistance program, an inspector will visit the business, explain its responsibilities and, if necessary, show how the business may be brought into compliance with state laws and regulations.

For more information, contact the Division of Pesticide Regulation toll-free at 866/289-0001.

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