Licensing of Forest Pesticide Applicators in Florida1

Frederick M. Fishel 2

This document explains the licensing and regulation of persons who apply pesticides to forest sites in Florida, as regulated by the Florida Pesticide Law (Chapter 487) and administered by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Forest Pest Control

All persons who apply or supervise the application of restricted-use pesticides to forest sites must have a pesticide applicator license issued by the Bureau of Licensing and Enforcement. The Forest Pest Control category is regulated by the Florida Pesticide Law (Florida Statutes, Chapter 487).

Category Certification Standards

Applicators seeking a license in this category must demonstrate practical knowledge of:

  • The types of forests, forest nurseries, and seed orchards in Florida and associated pests;

  • Forest population dynamics;

  • Relative biotic agents and vulnerability to pesticides;

  • The chemical control measures that pertain to the prevention or control of such pests; and

  • The equipment or methodologies required to safely and effectively implement such measures while avoiding adverse effects on wildlife, ground or surface water, and recreational areas visited by the general public.

License Classification

Certified forest pest control applicators may be licensed as either public applicators or commercial applicators. These are the major differences:

  • A public applicator is a licensed applicator employed by a public or governmental agency. The license is only valid when performing work for the public or governmental agency. The public applicator fee for a four-year license is $100.

  • A commercial applicator is a licensed applicator who is licensed to apply restricted-use pesticides on any property provided they are certified in the category for which the applications are made. A commercial applicator is usually a contract applicator. The commercial applicator fee for a four-year license is $250.


Persons must successfully complete two examinations before they can apply to the department for a license. These examinations are a Core examination and a Forest Pest Control category examination. The Core examination may be taken at any UF/IFAS Extension Office. The Forest Pest Control examination may be taken at any UF/IFAS Extension Office that offers category examinations. No special qualifications must be met to take the examinations. There is no fee to take the examinations.

Study Materials

Manuals and study materials for Core and Forest Pest Control applicators who will be taking exams may be obtained from the UF/IFAS Extension Bookstore by calling 1-800-226-1764 or online at The content of the Core exam is based upon the manual Applying Pesticides Correctly (Figure 1). The content of the Forest Pest Control exam is based upon the manual Forest Pest Control (Figure 2). Sample labels may be obtained from suppliers of pesticide products.

Figure 1. Applying Pesticides Correctly
Figure 1.  Applying Pesticides Correctly

Figure 2. Forest Pest Control
Figure 2.  Forest Pest Control


Applicators must recertify every four years. To recertify, applicators may take the examinations again or attend training and obtain 8 continuing education units (CEUs) approved for the Forest Pest Control category and 4 CEUs approved for the Core category. Core CEUs cannot be used to meet the required Forestry Pest Control CEUs. No substitutions of other types of CEUs are allowed. Opportunities to earn CEUs may be found at

Additional Information

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Bureau of Licensing and Enforcement, 3125 Conner Drive, Bldg. 8, L-29, Tallahassee, FL 32399-1650, Phone: 850-617-7997. (accessed October 2018).

Florida Statutes, Chapter 487. Florida Pesticide Law. (accessed October 2018).

University of Florida/IFAS Pesticide Information Office, P.O. Box 110710, Bldg. 164, Gainesville, FL 32611-0710, Phone: 352-392-4721, (accessed October 2018).


1. This document is PI-130, one of a series of the Agronomy Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date July 2006. Revised August 2012, September 2015, and October 2018. Visit the EDIS website at
2. Frederick M. Fishel, professor, Agronomy Department, and director, Pesticide Information Office; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The use of trade names in this publication is solely for the purpose of providing specific information. UF/IFAS does not guarantee or warranty the products named, and references to them in this publication does not signify our approval to the exclusion of other products of suitable composition. Use pesticides safely. Read and follow directions on the manufacturer's label.

Publication #PI-130

Date: 2019-01-02
Fishel, Frederick M
Pesticide Information Office

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