Kentucky Pesticide Safety Education Program

Certified Commercial and Non-commercial Pesticide Applicators

  • Pest control operator is any individual who owns or manages a pesticide application business that is engaged in the business of applying pesticides upon the lands of another.
  • Pest control applicator is any individual employed or supervised by a pesticide operator to apply pesticides.
  • Non-commercial applicator is any individual employed by golf courses, municipal corporations, public utilities, or other governmental agencies making applications of pesticides to lands owned, occupied, or managed by his or her employer.
  • Pesticide dealer is any person that engages in the storage or bulk fertilizer or a restricted use pesticide for the purpose of redistribtion or direct resale OR engages in the business of applying any pesticide to the lands of another. A "dealer" shall not include a manufacturer of restricted use pesticides or a fertilizer who distrbutes his or her product solely to a dealer.
  • Pesticide sales agent is an individual who sells or distributes restricted use pesticides or an individual who sell and makes recommendations for the use or application of pesticides to the final user.

How to become Certified

  1. Determine the certification category you need. This list contains descriptions of the 21 commercial applicator categories recognized in Kentucky.
  2. Get your study materials. Training packets for all categories are available from the UK Department of Entomology (859) 257-5955. Some manuals are available on-line.
  3. Commercial and non-commercial applicators must take and pass a written examination covering their specific category(s) to become certified and licensed. Exams are given regularly at testing locations thoroughout the state
  4. .

Important Topics for Commercial and Non-commercial Applicators

Certification is maintained by earning 12 continuing education units (CEU) (9 general + 3 category specific) in training sessions that have been approved by the KDA during the three-year certification period.

The Federal Pesticide Recordkeeping Program requires that all certified pesticide applicators must keep records of their use of federally restricted use pesticides (RUP) for a period of 2 years. Kentucky laws and regulations require that records of both general use and restricted use pesticide applications be kept for a period of 3 years. Information about the application must be recorded within 14 days.

    The following information must be recorded:
  • The Brand or Product Name; that is, trademark name of the pesticide being used.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Registration Number. The registration number is not the same as the EPA Establishment Number which is also located on the label.
  • The total quantity of the pesticide applied in common units of measure. Such as pints, quarts, gallons, etc. of concentrated pesticide. Amount does not refer to the percent of active ingredient (a.i.).
  • The date of the pesticide application, including month, day, and year. The location of the restricted use pesticide application. Not the address of the farm or business. Options are by: a) County, range, township, or section, b) Identification system established by USDA, such as plat IDs used by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) or the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), c) Legal property description, as listed on the deed of trust or county/city records, or d) An applicator generated identification system that accurately identifies the location of the application.
  • Crop Commodity, Stored Product, or Site being treated. Size of area treated. Record this information in the unit of measure (such as acres, linear feet, bushel, cubic feet, number of animals, etc.) which is normally expressed on the label in reference to the application being made.
  • The name of the certified private applicator performing and/or supervising the application.
  • The certification number of the private applicator. If the name of the certified private applicator and the certification number are kept together, this information only has to be listed once (Note: the name and certification number may be noted at the front of a record book if the same applicator is making the application).
    Spot treatments are especially useful in the control of noxious weeds if you apply restricted use pesticides on the same day in a total area of less than 1/10 of an acre, you are required to record the following (excluding greenhouse and nursery applications):
  • Date of application including month, day, and year.
  • Brand or product name.
  • EPA registration number.
  • Total amount of pesticide applied.
  • Location of the pesticide application, designated as "Spot application" and short description.

No standard recordkeeping form is required. Here is an example that includes the necessary information.


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This page is maintained by Lee Townsend, Department of Entomology, University of Kentucky. Please send questions or suggestions to: