Related Laws and Regulations Which Impact Pesticide Usage

The Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services powers and duties are limited to those provided in the Virginia Pesticide Control Act.  The Office of Pesticide Services, a program within the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), administers the provisions of the Pesticide Control Act and related regulations in addition to those found in the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).  There are other state and federal laws and regulations which may also effect pesticide use and pest management in the state of Virginia.  These laws and regulations are not enforced by the Office of Pesticide Services.  In addition, there may be some overlap between the Virginia Pesticide Control Act and related regulations and other state laws since pesticides are considered toxic substances, hazardous materials and, in some cases, drugs.  Below is information related to the some related laws and, if available, the appropriate state or federal agency responsible for carrying out their provisions. Although every effort has been made to include all relevant laws and regulations here, individuals or businesses which buy, sell, distribute or use pesticides should check to make sure other laws do not apply to their situation.

Information about federal pesticide regulations can be found on the National Pesticide Information Center website.  The Federal Pesticide Regulation page includes information about federal laws and programs that are related to pesticide regulation and usage.  While EPA serves as the primary federal regulatory agency, other agencies also work with them to protect human health and the environment.

Pesticide Notifications
While there are no pesticide notification requirements in either the Pesticide Control Act or the various regulations promulgated under the Act, other Virginia laws have pesticide notification requirements related to multi-family or multi-unit dwellings.  Specifically, pesticide notification is required under the Condominium Act (§ 55-79.80:01 of the Code of Virginia), Virginia Real Estate Cooperative Act (§ 55-464.1 of the Code), the Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (§ 55-248.13:3 of the Code) and the Property Owners Association Act (§ 55-510.3 of the Code).  These laws are not administered by OPS and we are unable to provide any interpretations or information regarding compliance with any of the requirements of these laws.  Issues or concerns related to notification requirements prior to the application of pesticides should be addressed with the property owners’ association or the management company responsible for the common areas where the application will occur. When in doubt, you should consider seeking qualified legal advice.

VDACS does not oversee the Landlord and Tenant Act. Some Landlord-Tenant Frequently Asked Questions are posted on the website of the Attorney General of Virginia. To view the page, click here.

Reporting of Pesticide Related Illnesses
Under the Virginia Department of Health’s Regulations for Disease Reporting and Control, physicians and directors of medical care facilities must report cases of toxic-substance related illness to their local health department.   This requirement would apply to cases of pesticide related illnesses since they are considered toxic substances.  For questions about these regulations and the reporting requirements contact the Office of Epidemiology at 804.864.8141. 

Pesticides, Pest Control and Food Regulation
The Virginia Department of Health’s Food Regulations set forth the criteria for vector and pest control in businesses, such as restaurants, where food is prepared, sold or stored. The Food Regulations ensure that food is safe and unadulterated.  The regulations discuss pest prevention practices including the use and storage of pesticides on these establishments.  It is important for pest management professionals (PMPs) to be familiar with these regulations so that they will not inadvertently contaminate food being prepared, stored, or sold by these businesses. 

Similarly, businesses should familiarize themselves and their employees with these regulations if they plan to manage pests such as insects or rodents themselves using a pesticide or other pest management practice.  If pesticides are sold by a business which also prepares sells or stores food, the regulations have specific requirements for the storage and display of pesticides for retail display as well.

In the Food Regulations, pesticides are included under the “poisonous or toxic materials” definition so they may not be specifically referenced as pesticides in certain sections of the regulation.  Reference to a poisonous or toxic material would automatically include pesticides. 
The following topics covered in the regulations are of specific interest to pest management professionals that service businesses that prepare, sell or store food items.

  • Backflow prevention at site
  • Placement of insect control devices (i.e. fly lights, bug zappers, etc)
  • Pest exclusion requirements
  • Storage of pesticides on premises
  • Food contamination prevention
  • Use of rodent baits
  • Prohibition of using tracking powder pesticides

Click here to visit the VDH Regulations webpage and select the link for Food Regulations. If you have questions related to the Food Regulations contact the Virginia Department of Health’s Environmental Health Services Section at 804-864-7473.

Pesticides and Private Wells
The Virginia Department of Health oversees the Private Well Regulations.  Section 12 VAC 5-630-380 paragraph “A” references pesticide treated soils as part of the sanitary survey conducted prior to placement.  The regulation states “If the source of contamination could affect the well adversely, and preventive measures are not available to protect the ground water, the well shall be prohibited.”  Paragraph “F” of the same section specifically addresses the proximity of various classes of private wells and water supply trenches to building foundations that have been chemically treated with any termiticide or other pesticide.  Some possible alternatives to chemical termite treatments in soil adjacent to a foundation include wood applied borate treatments or a termite baiting system. 

Additionally, § 32.1-176.5:2 of the Code of Virginia sets prohibitions on the placement of wells on property adjacent to an agricultural operation that is three acres or larger.  This prohibition was implemented since pesticides and other agricultural chemicals may be used on agricultural operations.

Private Well Regulations

Borate-based Termiticides and Separation of Wells –Memo from Robert Hicks, Director of the Office of Environmental Health Services

Bora-Care® and Standoff to Wells –Memo from Donald J. Alexander, Director of the Division of Onsite Sewage & Water Services

§ 32.1-176.5:2 Prohibition on private well construction –Law related to well placement on properties adjacent to agricultural operations where pesticides and other agricultural chemicals may be used. 

Implementation of House Bill 193 –Memo from Donald J. Alexander, Director of the Division of Onsite Sewage & Water Services which provides guidance related to  § 32.1-176.5:2 for new wells being placed on properties adjacent to agricultural operations.
Many pesticides, including agricultural products and termiticides set limitations and set backs on the label specifically related to existing wells.  These label setbacks could be considered when determining whether a potential well will be adversely impacted.  For questions about private wells and pesticides, you can contact the Virginia Department of Health at 804-864-7470 or your local health district.

Inspection and Treatment of Bedding or Upholstered Furniture for Pest Infestations
The Virginia Bedding and Upholstered Furniture Law provides guidelines for businesses that are involved in sanitizing and/or disinfecting mattresses, bedding and/or upholstered furniture.  Sanitizers and disinfectants are considered pesticides.  Businesses are required to obtain a permit from the Virginia Department of Health prior to using chemicals such as disinfects or sanitizers on furniture and bedding.  The Bedding and Upholstered Furniture Law is enforced by the Virginia Department of Health through their Office of Environmental Health Services.   They also require that any products that are used are EPA registered.  If these products are not used according to their label, the Office of Pesticide Services could also take action for a misuse of the product.   

For more information contact Margaret Davis, Program Manager, Bedding and Upholstered Furniture Inspection by phone at 804.864.8146 or by e-mail at

Fumigation Facilities
If you conduct commodity fumigations, this new law may affect you.  The 2011 Virginia General Assembly enacted a law (§ 10.1-1308 of the Code ) to exempt “qualified fumigation facilities” from the requirement to obtain an air permit to construct and operate under 9 VAC 5 Chapter 80, Article 6. The law took effect on July 1, 2011.  The law defines the types of facilities that are exempted and requires the operators of such facilities provide written notice to the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) prior to conducting fumigation activities.  In addition, operators are required to post signage prior to the application of a fumigant at the site that is visible and legible from the public right-of-way. Signage is required to remain in place until completion of the aeration process and must be in accordance with the pesticide label. Click here for additional information or contact Patricia Buonviri, Virginia DEQ: 804.698.4016 or

Pesticide Discharges General Permit (VAG87)
As of October 31, 2011, a Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (VPDES) permit is required for the direct application of pesticides to surface waters.  A general permit issued by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is available to operators who discharge pesticides to surface waters from the application of either biological pesticides or chemical pesticides that leave a residue for one of the following pesticide use patterns:

  • Mosquito and other flying insect pest control
  • Weed, algae and pathogen control
  • Animal pest control
  • Forest canopy pest control

Click here for additional information including permit requirements

It is unlawful to put out a poison at any time for the purpose of killing any wild birds and animals provided that rats and mice may be poisoned on one’s own property (4VAC 15-40-50).  § 29.1-508.1 of the Code of Virginia also requires written authorization from DGIF before the use of drugs on vertebrate wildlife.  According to this Section, “the term “drug” means any chemical substance, other than food, that affects the structure or biological function of wildlife species.”  This definition is broad enough to include pesticides used in wildlife management.   For information about other laws related to wildlife management visit the Center for Human-Wildlife Conflict Resolution Laws page.  Questions about these laws should be directed to the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries via e-mail at or by phone at 804.367-1000.

Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code
Pesticides are considered hazardous materials under the Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code which is enforced by fire officials in each local jurisdiction.  Pesticide businesses, including retailers and manufacturers, need to be familiar with the Code and how it relates to pesticides stored on their property or used by their employees.  The Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code is based on the International Fire Code, which has been incorporated by reference into the state code with amendments noted.   There are three specific areas of the Code which are pertinent to pesticide businesses. 

State of Virginia Fire Prevention Code 2006 Full Version (Effective 2008)
Permits & Fees -Permits may be required for storage, use or onsite transport of pesticides which fall into any of the following categories:  Aerosol products; compressed gas; flammable and combustible liquids; fumigation and thermal insecticidal fogging; and hazardous materials. (13VAC5-51-81)
Chapter 17 Fumigation and Thermal Insecticidal Fogging -This section applies to structures in which fumigation and thermal insecticidal fogging operations are conducted.

Chapter 27 Hazardous Materials-General Provisions -This section of the code outlines storage and spill cleanup requirements for hazardous materials including pesticides.  (13VAC5-51-145)
Amendments:  2006, 2009 (Effective 2011)

Questions about whether a property complies with the State of Virginia Fire Prevention Code can be directed to your local fire official.  For a listing of local fire marshals’ click here.

Virginia Fertilizer Law
The Virginia Fertilizer Law, § 3.2 Chapter 36 of the Code of Virginia, requires that any person or business who distributes or applies, for hire, any specialty fertilizer (fertilizer for nonfarm use), soil amendment or horticultural growing medium must first obtain a contractor-applicator permit.  This requirement applies to each business outlet.  The Virginia Fertilizer Law is administered by VDACS, Office of Plant Industry Services (OPIS).  More information can be obtained from the Office of Plant Industry Services or by calling 804.786.3515.