Entomology and Pest Control
The Bureau of Entomology and Pest Control has the primary responsibility of protecting Florida citizens and visitors from pestiferous and disease carrying insects, unsafe pest control practices and unscrupulous pest control operators.
Pest Control Section
The Pest Control Section regulates and licenses the pest control industry which consists of about 3,800 companies, 6,600 certified operators and 225 special identification cardholders. The major components of the Pest Control Section are document issuance, enforcement, training and certification.
The field inspectors conduct inspections of licensed pest control business locations and investigate consumer complaints filed against pest control companies.
Qualified businesses desiring to engage in pest control activities must be licensed. A license is required for each business location. Proof of insurance coverage for bodily injury and property damage is required. Pest control supervisory level employees and pest control operators must be certified before engaging in pest control activities. Pest Control employees, other than pest control operators, are required to have identification cards. Special identification cards are required for specific pest control treatments, such as fumigation.
Frequently Asked Questions
- When is a pest control business license required?
Chapter 482, F.S., defines pest control activity as: "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 or 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; and d) All phases of fumigation, including: 1, the treatment of products by vault fumigation; and 2, the fumigation of 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."
The law provides for some exemptions. The chapter does not apply to "pest control, except for fumigation, performed by a person upon his own individual residential property". Furthermore, pest control performed in greenhouses, plant nurseries, on agricultural crops, trees, groves, orchards and other agricultural areas is exempt from regulation under Chapter 482, F.S. Other agricultural areas identified herein include golf courses, parks, cemeteries, or areas where farming of any type is performed or livestock is raised. These operations are covered under Chapter 487, F.S., and are enforced by the Bureau of Pesticides in Tallahassee.
- Can one make pesticide applications to their private property?
Yes, you can make pesticide applications to your residential property. If you own property, other than your own residential property, you are required to obtain "Limited Certification" from this Bureau for each applicator if using or mixing pesticide concentrates or restricted use materials. Limited Certification is not required for the application of disinfectants, sanitizers, or ready-to-use pesticides sold over the counter at retail (although we still recommend that you obtain certification for your applicators for safety and technical reasons).
- How does one report a problem or file a complaint?
We ask that you first try to resolve your problem directly with the pest control company involved. Ask to speak to the certified pest control operator or branch manager directly. In larger companies there are regional or divisional managers and/or corporate officers that you can discuss your situation with.
Departmental procedures require a written consumer complaint be filed to initiate an investigation. Please complete a complaint form and submit it, with supporting documents, to your local field office by fax or mail.
You may contact your local inspector directly. Please remember the inspectors spend most of their time in the field investigating complaints. Please use their recorders to leave messages.
You may also contact Bureau Headquarters at 3125 Conner Blvd., Suite N, Tallahassee, FL, 32399, in writing or by phone (850) 617-7997 anytime, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., (except for holidays).
Please be advised that the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has no authority under the Structural Pest Control Act, Chapter 482, F.S., to arbitrate any claims for personal or property damage or adjudicate settlement. If you wish to pursue these matters you may want to consult an attorney for legal options.
Anonymous written complaints will be investigated on a lower priority based on the merit and context of the information provided.
- Is there an established procedure to investigate a company's
Yes, a company's complaint history is public information. When requested, we will review the company's file and report any written consumer complaint in the file for the last three years. We will disclose the type of complaint and its resolution.
Please remember that the number of complaints is not necessarily as important as the complaint disposition. Many companies resolve their complaints when the matter is brought to their attention. Also, it would be reasonable to expect that a larger company with more customers may have more complaints than a smaller company.
If shopping for pest control services, please request ONLY the final two or three companies you are thinking of using. We physically must go and review the files and it is easier for us to pull all of the company files that you have an interest in at one time.
Copies of our records, for up to three years, are available. We request that you provide a written request for duplication of the files to receive copies of the actual complaint(s) of record. The present fee schedule for duplication of record(s) is fifteen (15) cents for single sided pages and twenty (20) cents for two sided copies. Additional fees apply when extensive clerical or supervisory time is needed to fulfill your request.
We can calculate the cost of duplication in advance. Please contact us at the Bureau of Entomology and Pest Control, 3125 Conner Blvd., Suite N, Tallahassee, FL, 32399, telephone (850) 617-7997.
- What is a Certified Pest Control Operator?
A certified operator is an individual that has passed an examination administered by the Department in any of four (4) certification categories.
The categories that a person can be certified in are: General Household and Rodent Control; Lawn and Ornamental Pest Control; Termite and Other Wood-Destroying Organisms Control; and Fumigation. A person can be certified in just one or all four categories.
A company's pest control operations are the responsibility of the certified operator in charge and the business operations are limited to the category (or categories) possessed by the certified operator (or operators) in charge at the business location.
- How does one become a certified pest control operator?
A person must first meet the qualification requirements to take any of the certification exams. Section 482.132, F.S., Qualification for examination and certification - states the minimum qualification requirements.
Examinations are offered quarterly. If qualified, you make application directly to this office. You can request and print an Application for Examination. The application must be completely filled out and requires a photograph to be attached. Your application must be postmarked by midnight of the application deadline date established for each exam.
- How does one find the local State Inspector?
We have set up another area in our site that has a map of the State of Florida by counties. Just click on your county and your local inspector will be displayed at the top of the page. (You can check the list of counties beside his/her region to make sure your county is listed).
- How many inspectors are there?
The Bureau of Entomology and Pest Control presently has 19 field inspector positions located in different areas of the State. There are presently two (2) field supervisors.
- How does one know if a company is licensed?
It is not wise to use an unlicensed pest control operator. Most do not have insurance and cleaning up a contaminated house resulting from misuse of pesticides can be very expensive and not worth the couple of dollars you saved. An unlicensed pest control operator might use an agricultural pesticide indoors or use the incorrect pesticide entirely. Some consumers have paid in advance for a year of service and then complained to us when the person disappears with their money.
Our regulations require that all sales and service vehicles used for pest control be marked on both sides of the vehicle with the licensee's business name as registered with our Department. Check to see if the vehicle is marked.
Be suspicious if any person asks you to make your check out to cash or to them personally. Don't participate in "Under the table payments" to avoid "taxes" or any other reason, it is illegal.
Occasionally, an employee will begin stealing from a pest control company and not turn in moneys collected on their route. Check your statements closely, and it wouldn't hurt to contact the office every now and then to check on your balance. Moonlighting by pest control identification cardholders (employees) is prohibited by law. We will not hold a company responsible for stolen contracts although most companies will attempt to resolve the issues with you and pursue criminal action against the thief.
The State issues a numbered pest control business license to all active pest control companies annually. You could request the company to supply you with a copy of this document. Business license numbers will begin with a pre-fix of "JB".
You are always welcome to contact our office and verify that the company/person is licensed. We can be reached at (850) 617-7997, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (except for holidays).
- How does one obtain a business license?
A business license must be issued to you BEFORE you begin any pest control services. You will not be able to get a local 'business tax' license (formerly known as occupational license) until you have been issued a business license by our agency.
The pest control activities for your company must be under the direction of a certified operator possessing the category or categories that you would like to operate within. The certified operator is required to endorse or sign your business license application.
Presently, the licensing fee is THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS ($300) and TEN DOLLARS U.S. ($10) per employee for the identification card.
The law requires a pest control business to maintain a minimum amount of insurance coverage. Presently those limits are set at $250,000 each person and $500,000 each occurrence for bodily injury and $250,000 each occurrence and $500,000 in the aggregate for property damage or a combined single limit coverage of $500,000 in the aggregate
- What is Limited Certification?
Chapter 482.155, F.S., requires that individuals applying both general use and restricted use pesticides as a governmental employee or as a private property owner or employee thereof must qualify to do such pesticide application by taking and passing a limited certification exam or be trained and supervised by a Chapter 482, F.S., certified pest control operator.
Examples of pesticide applicators that come under this measure would include individuals who apply pesticides to buildings or lawn and ornamentals associated with these buildings such as: government buildings (schools, agency offices, etc.) and commercial buildings (banks, groceries, apartments, condominium common areas, hotels, restaurants, etc.).
Individuals performing pest control (other than fumigation) upon their own individual residential property are exempted from these requirements.
An examination fee of $150 and a renewal fee of $25 every four years thereafter shall be required in each category. Presently there are two categories available: Structural Pest Control, and Lawn and Ornamental Pest Control.
Application is made directly to this Bureau and, upon approval, an admission slip is issued to you. The admission slip is taken to your local County Extension office where the examination is administered. The examination is then returned to the Bureau for grading and issuance of credentials for passing exam grades.
CERTIFICATION OBTAINED UNDER THIS SECTION DOES NOT AUTHORIZE A PERSON TO OPERATE A PEST CONTROL BUSINESS.
- Can lawn maintenance companies make pesticide applications
on an individual's property?
No, lawn maintenance companies cannot make pesticide applications to turf areas of your property. Presently, lawn maintenance companies are restricted to making only fertilizer applications within turf areas. They cannot make "weed-n-feed" applications or use granular fertilizers with pesticides incorporated within them. Lawn maintenance companies can cut, mow, edge, use blowers and physically pull weeds anywhere within your turf or plant bed areas.
Section 482.156, F.S., allows certification of commercial landscape personnel and authorizes certified applicators to apply herbicides, fungicides and insecticides with the signal word of "caution" to plant beds and the ornamental plants. These applicators are limited to portable, handheld three gallon compressed air sprayers or backpack sprayers having no more than a five gallon capacity, and they may not use any power equipment.
Individuals certified under section 482.156, F.S., are issued a numbered identification card that is carried on the person. Their number will begin with a "LC". You should ask to see this credential.
This program certifies the individual applicator and not the company. In order for us to verify that your lawn maintenance company is certified to make limited applications to plant bed areas and to ornamental plants you will need to know the applicator's name. We can be reached Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., at (850) 617-7997.
CERTIFICATION UNDER THIS PROGRAM DOES NOT AUTHORIZE:
- Application of pesticides to turf.
- Operation of a pest control business, or
- The application of pesticides by unlicensed or uncertified personnel under the supervision of the certified person.
Chapter 482, F.S., does not prohibit or restrict the location of the pest control business. Many small companies work directly from their house.
The location from which someone can operate a business is usually regulated by a county or municipal zoning regulation.
To discuss pesticides, you will need to know the trade name or common chemical name of the product that was used (or is planned to be used).
Pest control companies are required to provide a customer, upon request, the following: (1) their business name or name of the limited certificate holder; (2) the applicator's ID card number or limited certificate number; (3) the common or brand name of the pesticide used and the common name of the active ingredient in that pesticide; (4) the appropriate safety information pertaining to the pesticide product to be used, as provided on the label for the product.
For further information about pesticides, we recommend that you contact the National Pesticide Telecommunication Network (NPTN) at 1-800-858-7378. This organization is funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and operates from 6:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. pacific time (9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. eastern). It is staffed with toxicologists who will always err to the side of safety and worse case scenarios for most discussions.
Hotel and motel maintenance staff (or other employee(s) of the hotel and motel) can make pesticide applications to all areas of the company's property (including inside individual units) since there is no ownership associated with the renting of the units. An applicator should have the appropriate category of Limited Certification.
Condominiums may allow maintenance staff (or other employee(s) of the association) to make pesticide applications to the common areas of the property such as a building's hallway, lobby, elevator, utility room, laundry room, (etc.) and the exterior grounds. Condominium employees may not make applications within an individual unit. An applicator should have the appropriate category of Limited Certification.
Homeowner Associations may allow maintenance staff (or other employee(s) of the association) to make pesticide applications to the common areas owned by the associations such as entrance berms and right-of-way areas. Homeowner association employees may not make applications to each individual property owner's lawn or structure. An applicator should have the appropriate category of Limited Certification.
In all of the above cases, the individual property or unit owner could make pesticide applications to their own individual residential property. Also, any of the groups above could contract with a licensed pest control company to provide the pest control services on behalf of the entire community.
Property management firms, and/or janitorial or housekeeping firms and their employee(s) are not allowed to make any pesticide applications to any property (or properties) they manage or service unless they are licensed with this agency as a pest control business.
We're sorry, but at the present, we do not have the resources to provide any type of listing for any of the different groups that we license or certify. The information is public record and you are welcome to visit our headquarters office in Tallahassee, Florida and compile the information you need directly from our licensing or certification documents.
Please follow the instructions provided below when printing and completing the forms listed.
- Use the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view or print forms. Skip this step if Adobe Reader is already installed on your pc.
- Print forms on white 8 1/2" x 11" paper.
- Type or print the entire form in blue or black ink.
- Make check(s) payable to: FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND CONSUMER SERVICES.
- Mail check(s) to: FDACS-PEST CONTROL, 3125 Conner Blvd., Suite N, Tallahassee, FL, 32399.
- Forms DACS-13605, 13606, 13642, and 13616 comprise the Pest Control Business License Application. All four forms must be submitted at the same time.
- Forms DACS-13627, 13653, and 13607 comprise the Application for Certified Pest Control Operator Examination. All three forms must be submitted at the same time.
- DACS-13604 - Limited Certification for Commercial Landscape Maintenance Personnel
- DACS-13610 - Limited Certification for Governmental Pesticide Applicators or Private Applicators
- DACS-13605 - Pest Control Business License Application
- DACS-13606 - Application for Pest Control Employee-Identification Card
- DACS-13642 - Special Training to Perform Wood-Destroying Organism Inspections and Control
- DACS-13616 - Certificate of Insurance Pertaining to Licensed Pest Control Businesses
- DACS-13627 - Employer Affidavit
- DACS-13653 - Job Requirement
- DACS-13607 - Application for Pest Control Examination
- DACS-13608 - Application for Pest Control Operator's Certificate and/or Special Identification Card
- DACS-13645 - Guidelines for Use and Completion of the Wood-Destroying Organisms Inspection Reports
- DACS-13671 - Consumer Consent Form
- DACS-13665 - Verification Record of Initial Employee Training
If you have any questions, please contact:
3125 Conner Blvd., Suite N,
Tallahassee, Fl 32399-1650
Phone: (850) 617-7997
Cell: (850) 528-5353
Fax: (850) 617-7967