Is your pest control company licensed?

Do you use a professional to control insects, weeds or other pests around your home or property?  Virginia law requires that any business which applies pesticides commercially obtain a pesticide business license.  The pesticide business license is a separate license from the business license issued from a locality.  This requirement applies to businesses such as exterminators, lawn care companies, carpet cleaners or similar businesses that utilize pesticides to manage pests on their customer’s property.  Some of the pesticides commonly used by these businesses include insecticides, weed killers, flea killers, fungicides and other similar products.  If you have a company that claims that it is not using pesticides yet applies some type of substance as a means of control, begin to ask questions.  The term pesticide applies to any substance which prevents, destroys, repels or mitigates a pest.  The term also applies to plant regulators, defoliators and desiccants.  Businesses that perform pest services but do not use pesticides are not required to have a pesticide business license.  To learn more about pesticides visit the “What is a Pesticide” section of this website. 

Employees of licensed pesticide businesses are required to have training related to proper pest identification, current management techniques, pesticide usage and safety.  They will be familiar with the concepts of integrated pest management (IPM).  By following IPM practices, the business will work to minimize pesticide usage on your property.  In addition, the licensed business must have evidence of financial responsibility in the form of liability insurance in order to remain licensed.  Unlicensed businesses may lack properly trained employees and adequate liability insurance.  For more information about hiring a professional visits here

Before you hire a company to apply pesticides on your property verify that they have a valid Virginia Pesticide Business License.  The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) publishes an updated list of currently licensed pesticide businesses on their website weekly.  VDACS also publishes an updated list of currently certified applicators on their website.  Visit the Office of Pesticide Services website below to view these lists and to check the status of a pesticide business or applicator.

If the business that you have hired is not currently licensed, contact them and inform them of the state requirements.  It is possible that they are unfamiliar with the requirements for pesticide business licensing.  Do not allow them make any further pesticide applications on your property until they obtain the Virginia Pesticide Business License.  If you have any concerns or complaints related to an unlicensed or licensed pesticide business you can contact the Office of Pesticide Services.

If you plan to own or operate a business in Virginia which applies weed killers, bug killers, flea killers or other similar products, make sure you obtain the state issued pesticide business license before performing any related services.  The enforcement staff of the Office of Pesticide Services conducts random inspections of pest management firms to verify compliance with the Virginia Pesticide Control Act and related regulations.  Failure to comply with the licensing and certification requirements can result in monetary civil penalties.  

If you have a complaint, concern or want more information related to the pesticide business license contact the Office of Pesticide Services at:
(800)552-9963 or (804)371-6558 (Richmond area)
You can also visit their website: Office of Pesticide Services