Bureau of Entomology and Pest Control
Licensing and Certification
Please click on a link below to go to a specific section.
- Commercial Structural Pest Control
- Limited Certification Programs
- Commercial Landscape Maintenance Applicator Certification
- Limited Governmental or Private Applicator Certification
- Limited Urban Commercial Fertilizer Applicator Certification
- Limited Commercial Wildlife Management Certification
General Information - The practice of commercial pest control in Florida is strictly regulated under the provisions of the Structural Pest Control Act, Chapter 482, Florida Statutes (F.S.). This law is administered and enforced by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Commercial Structural Pest Control - Pest control, within the meaning of this law, includes one or more of the following activities: (a) The use of any method or device or the application of any substance to prevent, destroy, repel, mitigate, curb, control, or eradicate any pest in, on or under a structure, lawn ornamental; (b) The identification of or inspection for infestations or infections in, on or under a structure, lawn or ornamental; (c) The use of any pesticide, economic poison, or mechanical device for preventing, controlling, eradicating, identifying, inspecting for, mitigating, diminishing, or curtailing insects, vermin, rodents, pest birds, bats, or other pests in, on or under a structure, lawn, or ornamental; (d) All phases of structural fumigation (includes boxcars, trucks, ships, airplanes, docks, warehouses, and common carriers); and (e) The advertisement of, the solicitation of, or the acceptance of remuneration for any work described in this subsection, but does not include the solicitation of a bid from a licensee to be incorporated in an overall bid by an unlicensed primary contractor to supply services to another.
Briefly, for Structural Pest Control, the law provides that each pest control business location must be licensed by this agency, maintain the minimum financial responsibility requirements for bodily injury and property damage in the amounts of $250,000 per person and $500,000 per occurrence for Bodily injury; and property damage $250,000 per occurrence and $500,000 in the aggregate for property damage and employ a Florida certified operator who must be in charge of the pest control operations of the business location.
The certified operator must be certified in the category (or categories) in which the business wishes to operate, and their primary occupation must be in the pest control business, and who is employed on a full-time basis by the licensed firm. Presently, the available categories are: General Household Pest and Rodent Control, Termite and Other Wood-Destroying Organisms Control, Lawn and Ornamental Pest Control, and/or Fumigation.
Pest control operator's certificates are issued to persons who pass the written examination(s) given by this agency and who are not minors. Qualifications for examination can be met by experience or education plus experience.
Those qualifying by experience must document high school education or equivalency and three years verified experience as a service employee of a licensee who performs pest control in the category or categories in which certification is desired, at least one year of which experience must have been under a licensee in this state immediately preceding application for examination.
Those qualifying through education may qualify with a degree and 20 semester hours or 30 quarter hours advanced training or a major in entomology, botany, agronomy, or horticulture from a recognized college or university. You may also qualify without a degree, provided you have 24 semester hours or 36 quarter hours advanced training in the above fields of study. Those qualifying through education must also document one year of service employment as a service employee of a licensee that performs pest control in any category or categories that the person is seeking to be examined in. (Those persons attending a public university in this state specializing in urban pest management which includes practical pest management experience will satisfy the one year service employment requirement.)
If the training is in entomology, the applicant is qualified for examination in all categories. If the training is in horticulture, botany, or agronomy, the applicant is qualified for the examination only in the category of lawn and ornamental pest control.
Summarizing, a person entering the structural pest control business must be licensed by this agency. In order to issue a business license he/she must, first, either obtain a certificate through certain qualifications and examination, or obtain the services of a person already certified, and qualified to be in the charge of the pest control operations of the business.
Limited Certification Programs - The Bureau also administers two Limited Certification Categories to certify Governmental or Private applicators and the Commercial Landscape Maintenance applicators. Neither of these certifications allows the operation of a commercial pest control business.
Commercial Landscape Maintenance Applicator Certification - The Limited Commercial Landscape Maintenance Certification Program was designed to allow commercial landscape maintenance personnel to make pesticide applications (using herbicides, insecticides and fungicides, with a signal word of Caution) to ornamental plants and plant beds only. It does not allow landscape maintenance workers to make any kind of pesticide applications (including weed control and/or weed and feed products) to any turf areas. Furthermore, this certification does not allow or authorize the maintenance company or the certificate holder to supervise company employees under their certificate or operate a pest control business.
Beginning July 1, 2006 individuals who wish to make pesticide applications to plant beds and ornamentals no longer need to qualify for the Limited Commercial Landscape Maintenance examination by providing proof that they have worked in the landscape industry for three (3) years. An application for the LCLM certificate is made to the Bureau and an exam admission slip is provided to the applicant provided they have obtained six (6) hours of Department approved plant bed and ornamental training. The applicant makes arrangements with the local County Extension Service office or an approved provider to take the Limited Commercial Landscape Maintenance examination. The exam is then graded in Tallahassee and certificates issued to applicants who successfully pass the examination.
Finally, an applicant seeking certification will have to provide proof of insurance which indicates that they or their employer meets the minimum financial responsibility requirements for bodily injury and property damage. Proof of insurance coverage must be provided prior to issuance of the certificate. Presently, these amounts are set at: Bodily injury: $250,000 per person and $500,000 per occurrence; and property damage $250,000 per occurrence and $500,000 in the aggregate; or combined single limit coverage of $500,000 in the aggregate.
Questions regarding this limited certification should be directed to the Bureau office at (850) 617-7997.
Limited Governmental or Private Applicator Certification - Limited Certification for Governmental and Private Applicators was designed for individuals and employees of government entities who make pesticide applications in, on, around or under structures or to the turf and ornamental areas of the property.
Limited Gov't/Private Certification allows the use of both general and restricted use materials. For smaller municipalities and/or companies, each applicator must be individually certified. (For larger operations, the program has provisions for an employer to hire a Florida Pest Control Certified Operator to be in charge of the pest control program and they are responsible for providing training and guidance to any applicator(s) in lieu of individual applicator certification).
Application for examination is made to the Bureau and an admission slip is issued to the exam candidate. The candidate then makes arrangements with their local County Extension Service office who administers the exam. The exams are then returned to the Bureau for grading and issuance of the credential to passing candidates. The certificate is valid for four years. When renewing, the certified applicator must provide proof of having obtained four hours of acceptable continuing education.
There are two categories within this certification program: "Structural Pest Control" for applications in, on, around or under structures, and "Lawn and Ornamental" for pesticide applications to exterior property areas. Depending on the applicator's job duties, one (or both) of the categories may be required.
Limited Urban Commercial Fertilizer Applicator Certification Program - EARLY REGISTRATION IS NOW AVAILABLE - As of May 17, 2010, the Bureau of Entomology and Pest Control can process applications for Limited Commercial Fertilizer Applicator Certificates.
Beginning in January of 2014, ALL commercial fertilizer applicators MUST BE certified by this Bureau in order to make ANY TYPE of fertilizer application to commercial turf or ornamental areas; and/or the turf or ornamental areas of parks or fields (other than agricultural areas), and/or the turf or ornamental area of any residential property.
Prior to issuance of this certification, the applicator MUST PROVIDE proof of having received training in "Green Industry Best Management Practices". These classes are offered by the University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) in conjunction with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
The following link will provide you Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) from the IFAS website addressing how to obtain this training.
The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) also provides a link to describe the impact and implementation of the 2009 legislation that created these programs.
Limited Commercial Wildlife Management Certification - The Limited Commercial Wildlife Management Certification (LW) is only required for trapping rats and mice in, on or under structures. The Department encourages and recommends that persons commercially trapping nuisance wildlife (i.e. raccoons, opossums, armadillos, skunks, squirrels) in structures to also obtain this certificate.
All persons interested in taking the examination must apply IN ADVANCE to the Department on Form FDACS 13685, available from the Department.
The Limited Commercial Wildlife Management Examination will be made available on a quarterly basis at the Citrus Building located at 500 Third Street NW, Winter Haven, Florida.
The reference material for this exam will be the following documents which are available on-line at not cost.
- Dealing with Unwanted Wildlife in the Urban Environment, Publication #WEC20 http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw070.
- Non-Chemical Rodent Control, Publication #ENY-243 http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg218.
- Rat and Mouse Control, Publication #ENY-224 http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/dh044.
- The Florida Mouse, Publication #WEC362 http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw307.
Persons who pass the exam will have to provide proof of insurance which indicates that they or their employer meets the minimum financial responsibility requirements for bodily injury and property damage. Proof of insurance coverage must be provided prior to issuance of the certificate. Presently, these amounts are set at: Bodily injury: $250,000 per person and $500,000 per occurrence; and property damage $250,000 per occurrence and $500,000 in the aggregate; or combined single limit coverage of $500,000 in the aggregate.
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