This does not apply to most home gardeners and household pesticide users, but if you hold a private pesticide applicator card, or a commercial pesticide applicator card for that matter, pull it out and check the expiration date. If your card expires within the next year, it is time to start planning to attend an appropriate recertification training session. Private applicator recertification training sessions are held regularly at local county Extension offices, so check with your local office to see when training is offered. Commercial applicators can recertify by attending one of the sessions conducted quarterly by MSU Extension at six locations around the state or other approved events held throughout the year.
Hopefully, the following explanations will help you determine whether or not you need a card for the type of pesticide treatments you plan to apply.
No Card or Certification Required: No special card or certification is required to purchase and apply non-restricted use pesticides on your own property when no fee is charged. These are the types of pesticides most often used by most homeowners and backyard gardeners.
Private Applicator Certification: Required for anyone who purchases and applies restricted use pesticides on their own property.
Commercial Applicator Certification: Required for anyone who purchases and applies restricted-use pesticides as part of their job with a public, commercial, or institutional organization, but without charging any type of “fee for service”. There are multiple categories and sub-categories.
Professional License: Required for anyone who provides pest control recommendations and/or applies pesticides for a fee, regardless of whether the pesticide is classified as restricted use. There are also multiple categories and sub-categories of professional licenses.
Restricted-use Pesticide: Pesticides deemed by EPA to pose additional risks to applicators, non-target crops or organisms, or the environment are classified as restricted-use pesticides, and extra training and certification or licensing (as described above) is required for people who plan to use restricted-use pesticides.
Active ingredient is not the sole criteria for determining restricted-use status. Concentration, volume, method of application, and other criteria are also considered. Some active ingredients are available to home gardeners as non-restricted-use when sold in small volumes and low concentrations, while products containing higher concentrations of the same active ingredient are classified as restricted-use products. A current pesticide applicator certification or license card is required to purchase restricted-use pesticides.
How can you find out if a specific product is classified as restricted use? Check the label. Pesticides that are restricted use will be clearly identified as: “RESTRICTED USE PESTICIDE.” You can also visit Kelly Solutions on-line at and do a pesticide registration search, by product name, to see if the product is listed as restricted use in Mississippi.
See the Extension Pesticide Applicator Certification website for a calendar of upcoming private applicator trainings and locations and for more detailed information about commercial applicator categories, study materials, and (re)certification schedules.
Thanks to Mr. Gene Merkl, Program Manager for the Mississippi Pesticide Safety Education Program for his assistance in preparing this information.
Blake Layton, Extension Entomology Specialist, Mississippi State University Extension Service.
The information given here is for educational purposes only. Always read and follow current label directions. Specific commercial products are mentioned as examples only and reference to specific products or trade names is made with the understanding that no discrimination is intended to other products that may also be suitable and appropriately labeled.