University of Illinois Extension
Bruce Spangeberg

These articles are written to apply to the northeastern corner of Illinois. Problems and timing may not apply outside of this area.

Stateline Yard & Garden

Pesticide Licensing Requirements in Illinois

November 9, 2000

When a homeowner needs to use a pesticide for a plant pest problem of some type, rarely is a pesticide license needed. When pesticide application is part of a job description, however, chances are a pesticide license is required. In addition, pesticides are labeled as either general use or restricted use. Restricted use pesticides cannot be purchased without a pesticide applicator license.

If you are applying restricted use pesticides to produce an agricultural commodity on property you own or control, a Private Pesticide Applicator License is required. This includes farmers, nurserymen, Christmas tree growers, fruit & vegetable growers, wholesale greenhouse plant growers, sod growers, and home gardeners if they are using restricted use pesticides.
Contact your local University of Illinois Extension office for information on training clinics to be offered in your area this winter. If your current license needs renewal or you need to retest, you receive notice from the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

The other main type of license is the Commercial Pesticide Applicator and Operator Licenses. These are required for applying any type of pesticide as a service or on land or areas readily used by the public. Examples include employees of landscape and lawn care services, golf courses, park districts, indoor plant maintenance companies, municipal groundskeepers, consultants, and similar areas.

All of these commercial users must be certified to use any pesticides—even if the pesticide is general use and available to anyone at the local garden center. Operator Licenses require passing the General Standards Exam; and then supervisors must pass the appropriate Applicator License categories depending on what the business does, such as lawn care, or tree care. All operators must have a licensed applicator as a supervisor.

General Standards training and testing will be offered in a variety of locations during the winter and early spring months. Training for various categories, such as turfgrass and ornamentals; will also be offered. Contact your local University of Illinois Extension Office for commercial training dates available in your area this winter.


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