A Virginia pesticide business license is required of:
- Persons engaged in the business of applying or recommending the use of a pesticide product.
- Persons who store, distribute, or sell pesticides.
If a business has several outlets or stores, a separate license is required for each location. Prior to being issued a business license, the applicant or their employee must also pass the Virginia business license exam; unless the applicant or their employee is already certified as a commercial pesticide applicator. A Virginia pesticide business license does not replace a local or municipal business license.
For more information about application instructions, requirements, and exemptions contact the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Office of Pesticide Services.
In addition to the Responsibilities of Commercial Pesticide Applicators, the responsibilities of pesticide businesses include:
- Maintaining an up-to-date Virginia pesticide business license and the required insurance coverage
- If restricted-use pesticides are sold or distributed, a certified commercial pesticide applicator must be present at each location during business hours. The name of the certified commercial pesticide applicator in charge must be on file with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services - Office of Pesticide Services (VDACS-OPS).
- Businesses that apply or recommend any pesticides for a fee must employ a certified commercial pesticide applicator.
- Sales of restricted-use pesticides and applications of any pesticides must be recorded and maintained for two years.
- Any changes in business name, address, insurance coverage, or commercial applicator(s) assigned to each business location must be sent to VDACS-OPS.
If you are interested in starting a pesticide business in Virginia you must first decide who will be applying pesticides.
- If you want to do the applications yourself, you will need to first pass the commercial pesticide applicator exams. To qualify to take the exams, you must have at least one year of experience or education in pesticide application, or worked one year as a registered technician. Additional information about commercial applicator certification can be found here. Note: the experience/education you gain must be related to the type of pesticide application you intend to perform. Applying chemicals in your home garden or lawn does NOT qualify.
- If you prefer not to do the pesticide applications yourself then you must hire a competent and trained commercial pesticide applicator with experience in the type of application you will sell. As long as you have a commercial pesticide applicator on staff, you can apply for a pesticide business license.
Next, you will need to obtain a pesticide business license and liability insurance. Additional information about obtaining a Virginia pesticide license can be found here. Remember, if you are starting your own pest control business, it is mandatory to have experience in the work related to your business.
In Virginia, if you wish to apply a weed and feed (fertilizer plus herbicide) product for compensation you are required to:
- Be a certified commercial pesticide applicator and have, or work for a company that has a Virginia pesticide business license and the appropriate liability insurance.
- Complete online training to become a Certified Fertilizer Applicator (CFA) and submit an online application to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Pesticide notification requirements are specific to pesticide application in multi-family and multi-unit dwellings, and are enforced on landlords, associations, and property owners. They require these entities to notify tenants of pending pesticide applications. They do not direct or enforce notification on pesticide applicators. It is the responsibility of a landlord to notify tenants of a pesticide application and work with a contract pesticide applicator to conduct their business accordingly. Virginia does not require notification by pesticide applicators for any type of application or site, except where required by label directions. Applicators are reminded that any use inconsistent with a pesticide label is considered a violation of state and federal laws.
Disposing of old pesticides found in their original containers can be as simple as using the products as labeled, IF they are still legally registered (contact your local agricultural supply retailer or Extension agent if you are unsure). If products are less than five years old and they have been stored properly (not subjected to freezing or high heat) they are likely still usable.
Pesticides that cannot be used, or that have been phased out and are illegal to apply (e.g. DDT, lead arsenate, dieldrin, endrin, aldrin, toxaphene, 2,4,5-T, and chlordane) must be properly disposed of according to state and federal law. Virginia's Pesticide Collection Program is administered by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services - Office of Pesticide Services, with participation from Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services. The program assists agricultural producers, licensed pesticide dealers and businesses, and homeowners with the proper disposal of unwanted pesticides. The program is available at no cost to eligible participants.
The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) administers the Virginia Pollution Discharge Elimination System (VPDES). DEQ drafted a Pesticide Discharges General Permit (VAG87), which authorizes pesticide applications made to, over, or near waters of the state. Specifically, the VPDES General Permit covers point source discharges into waters of the state that control:
- mosquitoes, black flies, and other flying insect pests.
- aquatic weeds, algae, and pathogens.
- aquatic nuisance animals (ex. snakehead fish and zebra mussels).
- forest canopy pests (ground and aerial canopy spraying).
- intrusive vegetation along roads ditches, canals, waterways and utility rights of way.
Applicators who apply pesticides as described above will not be required to submit a registration statement (notice of intent) to the State Water Control Board. However, operators working under the VPDES General Permit do have some specific requirements to fulfill. The permit requires use of integrated pest management practices (IPM), visual monitoring, and reporting of any adverse effect due to the application of pesticides. In addition, application records and development of a Pesticide Discharge Management Plan (PDMP) is required for operators that exceed certain annual application thresholds.
For a list of basic requirements, thresholds, and other information, refer to the DEQ VPDES website.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates antimicrobial cleaning products as pesticides if they are used to disinfect surfaces such as countertops, floors, and hospital equipment. However, businesses that provide janitorial, cleaning or sanitizing services are exempt from pesticide business licensing requirements if the providers use no pesticides other than sanitizers, disinfectants and germicides, so long as they are not restricted-use. Likewise, pesticide applicator certification is not required unless restricted-use products are used.
The Virginia Pesticide Control Act requires all products registered as pesticides by the EPA to also be registered annually with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services – Office of Pesticide Services (VDACS-OPS) if manufactured, distributed, sold, or used in Virginia. As with all pesticides, the label is the law. Any potential misuses of pesticide products, including antimicrobial cleaning products would be investigated by VDACS-OPS.