If you pay a landscape maintenance service to apply herbicides or insecticides, then that person or that person’s employer, by state law, needs to have a pesticide license and certificate, as well as a local occupational license. There are several lawn and ornamental and landscape pesticide-use categories. These pesticide uses and the certification process are regulated by DACS — Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services — and more specifically BEPC (Bureau of Entomology and Pest Control). Our field inspector from the BEPC office is Larry Mitchell, whose number is (850) 528-5387.
Most mowing services want to spray or apply Roundup or other herbicides and pesticides for pests such as fire ants, and are required to have one of two state license/certificate categories. They can opt for a “limited commercial landscape pesticide maintenance certificate.” This means each person who uses pesticides needs to have the certificate and to have attended an sixth-hour class and passed a DACS test. People with the limited certificate are not allowed to use pesticides on lawns; they can only treat the shrub and flower bed areas with pesticides. Only “caution” label products are to be used with this category.
The second option a company has is to have someone in the company who has passed the DACS requirements to become a pest control-operator (PCO) lawn and ornamental certificate holder. This category allows the application of pesticides to lawns, as well as shrub beds. Other Individuals in the company who use pesticides are then issued BEPC identification cards to confirm they are approved and should be following the state’s requirements. The cardholders have not taken a state test, but work under the supervision of the person who has passed a rather difficult PCO test. For more on the requirements and specifics for each category, see:
Or call the BEPC (Bureau of Entomology and Pest Control) in Tallahassee at (850) 921-4177.
If you aren’t able to communicate with your lawn mowing personnel, and you want to find out if a person or company has a state pesticide certificate/license go online to:
You will need the worker’s name to confirm if he or she has a limited certificate category, and unfortunately, the Web site doesn’t always provide the individual’s city of residence.
To determine if a company has an occupational license for work within the city limits, call 213-5027. Check with the Collier County Occupational License Department, 403-2477, to see if a company is working legitimately in the areas where county jurisdiction applies. Companies that have their place of business outside of the city still need a competency card to do mowing work inside of the city limits.
Currently, only about 170 people have the limited commercial landscape maintenance pesticide certificate that allows them to spray pesticides including Roundup herbicide. The BEPC can issue cease-and-desist orders and fines if someone is caught applying pesticides without the proper documentation. The law is designed to help people understand how to properly use pesticides and to how they can best protect themselves and the environment as they use them.
The Collier County Extension office will provide four classes this year to help individuals obtain the limited commercial landscape maintenance certificate. Classes will be held on April 17 and Aug. 20. Two classes will be offered with a Hispanic educator on Oct. 8 at the Extension Education and Training Center, at 14700 Immokalee Road.
Because pre-registration is required as well as the completion of a rather complicated application packet to take the test, early preparation is mandatory. Please call as soon as possible and request the application packet for the limited commercial landscape certificate from the BEPC at (850) 921-4177.
Please call the extension office early if you have any questions about this class. More information on the classes and online registration forms are available at 353-4244.
For those taking a Limited Category Exam: a check for $150 (made out to D.A.C.S.), a completed application form (DACS-13604), along with a (1½ square) photograph are required.
Doug Caldwell, Ph.D., is the commercial landscape horticulture extension agent and landscape entomologist with the University of Florida Collier County Extension Service. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; phone, 353-4244 ext. 203. For updates on Southwest Florida Horticulture visit: collier.ifas.ufl.edu