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So Where Do I start?

posted Feb 12, 2017, 2:55 PM by Michael Weaver   [ updated Feb 14, 2017, 7:30 AM ]
This government gobbledegook confuses the heck out of me! I want to use pesticides in my business and I don't know where to get started?
Government red tape and this doggone website can be confusing. Because we are dealing with state and federal laws and regulations. Because there are up-teen policies and procedures you must follow as a pesticide applicator to stay out of trouble, this can get complex. You can't just blow off the details. If you decide you want to become a professional pesticide applicator and sell your services or work for someone who uses them, then the key to success is becoming a "PROFESSIONAL." Being a professional applicator is not a quick and dirty process. If you are looking to make a fast buck - go elsewhere. Cutting corners will cost you! Fines for pesticide misuse can amount into the tens of thousands of dollars!

So you still want to look into this and have assigned yourself to the fact that you will have to do some work with a goal to be a professional? Great! Then welcome to the world of pesticide regulation and safety - the most important place to start!

Okay, let's get started.

Here are a series of questions to lead you to the details on the other end contained in this website and elsewhere.
Are you seeking to start your own pesticide application business?
YES - then you will need to obtain a pesticide business license and hire a competent and trained commercial applicator with experience in the type of application you are selling. If you want to do the application yourself, then you will need at least one year's experience as a pesticide applicator.

People accumulate this experience in various ways. Applying chemicals in your home garden or lawn doesn't cut it. Taking college or high school vocational agriculture courses with instruction in pest management does count. Working on a farm and applying pesticides counts. Working in a commercial application business as a volunteer or intern counts. Having experience in the area you are seeking to work is best. If you are starting your own pest control business it is almost mandatory to have experience in the work related to your business. It is common sense that you have this experience and it may help your business survive past the first year without disaster.

NO - see below...
Then are you working or seeking to work for someone who wants to hire you as a commercial applicator?
YES - then (as above) you will be required to have at least one year's experience as a pesticide applicator to qualify. If you don't have the experience then you will need to work for someone (including your potential employer) as a registered technician - until you gain the year's experience.

NO - see below... 
Are you working on a farm, forest, greenhouse or nursery and applying restricted use pesticides?
YES - then you will need to be certified as a private applicator or work under the direct supervision of a certified applicator.

NO - then you can apply general use pesticides without a certification, although we encourage all applicators to take advantage of the training offered by your local Extension agent by either attending this training, getting certified, or both.
So what do I do next - I have read all of this - how do I proceed?
This website has a tab (above) called APPLICATORS. Go there and read the various areas pertaining to the type of applicator you have decided to become. We even have a section for non-certified applicators - if you are seeking to not become certified, but are still seeking help. Our site has information on where to obtain training materials (manuals) or training in the form of either online or classroom training. We also have details on many other aspects of pesticide application and pest management. This FAQ has other answers if you are seeking more details.

In addition, we have a link to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services - Office of Pesticide Services website. That resource has details of the laws and regulations, certification rules and policies, forms, and other compliance assistance information.

So good luck and we wish you a successful venture as a professional applicator.