Searching for a Pesticide Applicator
Bruce E. Paulsrud, Extension Specialist, Urbana, 217-244-9646,
In most cases, it's not too difficult to find a commercial
(for-hire) pesticide applicator; you either talk to a neighbor
or colleague, or check the Yellow Pages. However, when it comes
to controlling pond weeds or killing tree roots in a sewer line,
finding a licensed commercial applicator may not be so easy.
That is, until now.
Kelly Registration Systems has worked with individual state
departments of agriculture to provide pesticide applicator license
and pesticide-registration specifics via the Internet. Illinois-specific
information can be found on the Illinois Department of Agriculture's
(IDOA) Web site via the following URL: http://www.kellysolutions.com/il/.
For example, in four easy steps, you can find all nearby applicators
that are licensed to apply pesticides to a specific site (category):
- Click on "Pesticide Applicator Search."
- Click on "Search
for an Applicator in your City, County, Zip."
- Enter the city,
zip code, or county of interest.
- Then choose the license category
and applicator type (see the following discussion).
page lists all individuals who meet your search criteria. Simply
click on a person's name to see the detailed license and
Private Applicator License: Required for people applying restricted-use
pesticides to produce an agricultural commodity on property they
own or control. Private Applicators must pass the grain fumigation
exam to fumigate their own grain bins. The license does not allow
applications "for hire." License and exam(s) are valid
for 3 years ($15 fee).
Pesticide Dealer License: An individual selling restricted-use
pesticides must be licensed. Also, mandatory records must be
kept for 2 years. Commercial Applicators and Structural Pest
Control Operators are exempt from the test and fee but must register
as dealers. The exam is valid for 3 years if no lapse occurs
in annual ($100-fee) licensure.
All Other Licenses
Commercial Applicator and Operator Licenses: Required for individuals
who purchase, use, or supervise the use of pesticides classified
for general or restricted use for hire. Exam(s) are valid for
3 years if no lapse occurs in annual ($45 fee for applicators,
$30 fee for operators) licensure.
Commercial Not-for-Hire Applicator and Operator Licenses: Required
for individuals who use or supervise the use of pesticides classified
for general or restricted use for any purpose on property of
an employer when such activity is a requirement of the terms
of employment and the application is limited to property under
the control of the employer. This type of license does not allow
applications "for hire." Exam(s) are valid for 3 years
if no lapse occurs in annual (no fees) licensure.
Public Applicator and Operator Licenses: Required for individuals
who use or supervise the use of pesticides classified for general
or restricted use as an employee of a state agency, municipality,
or other duly constituted governmental agency or unit. This type
of license does not allow applications "for hire." Exam(s)
are valid for 3 years if no lapse occurs in annual (no fees)
Applicator vs. Operator?
An applicator is the person(s) in an organization who has responsibility
for pesticide purchasing, storage, handling, and use; usually
an owner, a supervisor, or a foreman. Each organization must
have at least one person licensed as an applicator at each
facility location. The applicator's license categories
dictate the areas
in which a company and his/her operators may legally apply
An operator is a person who uses pesticides at the job
site; his/her work is tied directly to the applicator's
The operator can apply pesticides only under direct supervision
the applicator and only to areas covered by the applicator's
license. Supervision and direction of operators by an applicator
means that the applicator must be in daily contact with
the operators. If the applicator is out of town or not available,
may not legally apply pesticides.
What's a Category?
In Illinois, there are 17 licensure categories. Each category
is designed for pesticide use requiring specific professional
knowledge. An applicator who needs to apply pesticides
to a range of sites needs multiple categories on his/her
Aquatic pest control: Pesticide use for weed control
in standing or running water.
Demonstration and research: Pesticide use during
research or the teaching of pesticide and equipment
Field crop pest control: Pesticide use in corn, soybeans,
small grains, forages, grasslands, etc.
Forest pest control: Pesticide use in forests, forest
nurseries, and forest seed-producing areas.
Fruit crop pest control: Pesticide use in fruit and
Grain facility pest control: Pesticide use in and
around grain elevators or similar grain-holding facilities,
conveyances, and transportation facilities. NOTE:
grain-storage pests commercially (for hire) are licensed
under the Structural Pest Control Act, which is administered
Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). Thus,
to find a commercial grain fumigation applicator,
Livestock pest control: Pesticides applied to livestock
or livestock barns.
Mosquito control: Insecticides applied to control
Ornamental pest control: Pesticide use on trees,
shrubs, and ornamental plantings.
Plant-management pest control: Pesticide use on portable
plants used for interior landscaping and environmental
Regulatory pest control: For government employees
involved in the control of regulated pests with pesticides.
Rights-of-way pest control: Chemical weed and other
pest control on noncrop sites, such as parking lots,
roads, in access
rights-of-way, and in fence lines.
Sewer line root control: Chemical control of roots
in sewer lines.
Seed treatment: Pesticide use on seeds.
Soil fumigation: Pesticide use for soil fumigation.
Turf pest control: Pesticide use on turf areas and
Vegetable crop pest control: Pesticide use in vegetable
GS and AGS: These are not really categories. GS indicates
General Standards, a core exam that both applicators
must pass. AGS indicates Aerial General Standards
and, if selected, provides a list of licensed aerial
and the actual
categories in which they are licensed.
In Illinois, remember that each exam is good for
3 years and that all but Private Applicator licenses
of each calendar year. So, if you're a Private
Applicator, the listed
expiration date indicates when your license expires
and when you'll need to retake the exam. For
that the listed expiration dates indicate license
reexamination. Applicators and operators should
pay close attention to the notification letter the IDOA
indicates the need for license renewal or reexamination.