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Finding the Correct Pesticide Applicator License in Florida

Erin E. Harlow, Luke B. Harlow, Susan Haddock, and Brett W. Bultemeier

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services oversees the licensing of all pesticide applicators in the state of Florida. It can be difficult knowing which of the 13 licenses with over 20 categories is needed, but having the correct license is important. The goal of this document is to assist with selecting the correct license and increase understanding of how best to prepare for obtaining and maintaining that license.

To use the “Florida Pesticide License Dichotomous Key” below, simply answer the questions until you are directed to your pesticide license page. Once there you will find all the information about study material, license cost, timelines, and renewal process. If you already know your license, you can find it from the list at the end of this document. This document is intended for UF/IFAS Extension personnel or the public to help identify the proper license for pesticide applications.

Key terms to know before using this document:

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS)—The state entity that regulates Florida pesticide licenses.

Restricted Use Pesticide (RUP)—Pesticide products in this category are limited for sale and use by licensed applicators only. A product that is RUP will be marked as such on the first page of the pesticide label.

Public—Refers to an employee of the government, or a public entity. Examples could include schools, counties, universities, public works departments, etc. Your paycheck is signed by a “public” employer.

Commercial—Refers to a person that is “for hire.” Applications are done at locations that pay you (or your employer) for the work that is done.

Private—Refers to a person who works on property that they own or lease, or works exclusively on the property of their employer.

Continuing Education Units (CEUs)—Training approved by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) for recertification of licenses. One CEU = 50 minutes of active learning.

487 A License Might Not Be Needed—If using a General Use Pesticide (GUP), which is any product that does not have RUP labeling on the top of the product, then a license is not always required. However, it is always suggested to hold the appropriate license for your category. If you still want to know what license is needed, follow the dichotomous key as if you are using RUP products, even if you are not.

487 Categories—Any category that lists the category + CORE requires the CORE exam be passed in addition to the category exam. Those wishing to add categories beyond the original category do not have to retake the CORE exam and do not have to pay for a separate license. There is no limit to the number of categories that can be added to the original 487 license.

Florida Pesticide License Dichotomous Key

Do you apply products to:

1. Mosquitos and other public health threats, CH 388 F.S.

Yes—go to Table 1.1.

No—go to 2.

2. The interior or exterior of occupied buildings, CH 482 F.S.

Yes—go to Table 2.1.

No—go to 3.

3. Agriculture and all other sites, CH 487 F.S.

Yes—go to Table 3.1.

Table 1.1. Mosquitos and other public health threats.

1. Do you work for the government or on government property?

Yes—Public Health. Go to page 6.

No—go to 2.

2. Do you install and service automated mosquito misting devices and/or offer residential or commercial fogging and barrier treatments around occupied structures (homes, hotels, resorts, etc.)?

Yes—Pest Control Operator in General Household Pests (GHP) or Lawn and Ornamental (L&O). Go to page 16 or 24.

No—go to 3.

3. Do you make mosquito-control applications to private, commercial, or governmental properties that do not include buildings, and are you for hire?

Yes—Public Health. Go to page 6.

No—go to 4.

4. Are you or do you plan to be a director of a county or district mosquito control program?

Yes—Mosquito Control Directors. Go to page 8.

Table 2.1. The interior or outside of occupied buildings, CH 482 F.S.

1. Do you work for the government or on private property and are not a contractor?

Yes—go to Table 2.2.

No—go to 2.

2. Are you a for-hire contractor?

Yes—go to Table 2.3.

Table 2.2. Government or private property around occupied buildings.

1. Do you treat household pests and rodents in and around structures?

Yes—Limited Structural. Go to page 10.

No—go to 2.

2. Do you treat lawns and ornamentals around buildings?

Yes—Limited Lawn and Ornamental, unless using Ready-to-Use product, then no license. Go to page 12.

No—go to 3.

3. Are you a volunteer?

Yes—no license or Limited Lawn and Ornamental if product requires it.

Table 2.3. For-hire contractors around occupied buildings. CH 482, F.S.

Do you:

1. Trap rodents around and in buildings. No bait is allowed—Limited Wildlife. Go to page 14.

2. Trap or treat household pests and rodents in and around buildings—General Household Pest (PCO GHP) or ID Cardholder. Go to page 16 or 30.

3. Treat or inspect for termites and other wood destroying organisms in and around structures, including landscapes—Wood-Destroying Organism (PCO WDO) or ID Cardholder/Special ID Cardholder. Go to page 18 or 30/22.

4. Fumigate structures for wood destroying organisms—Structural Fumigation (PCO FUM) or Special ID Cardholder. Go to page 20 or 22.

5. Treat lawns and ornamentals in and around structures—Lawn and Ornamental (PCO L&O) or ID Cardholder. Go to page 24 or 30.

6. Apply Fertilizer—Limited Urban Commercial Fertilizer (LUF). Go to page 26.

7. Treat ornamental beds, sidewalks, driveways, NO turf—Limited Commercial Landscape Maintenance (LCLM). Go to page 28.

Table 3.1. Agriculture or other sites.

1. Do you use a restricted use product (RUP)?

Yes—go to Table 3.2.

No—see “487 A License Might Not Be Needed” in the key terms on page 1.

Table 3.2. Using restricted use products on agriculture or other sites.

1. Do you apply on property you own or rent, or on property owned or rented by your employer that produces an agricultural commodity?

Yes—Private. Go to page 32.

No—go to 2.

2. Do you work in agriculture production? (crops, fields, seeds, forests, sod, livestock)

Yes—go to Table 3.3.

No—go to 3.

3. Do you apply in nonagriculture sites? (natural areas, golf courses, cemeteries, parks, athletic fields, water)

Yes—go to Table 3.4.

Table 3.3. Restricted use applicators in agriculture production areas (crops, fields, seeds, livestock).

Do you apply to:

1. Agricultural Row Crop—Production crops (not trees); includes row crops, grains, forage, vegetables, small fruits not produced on trees, pastures; no fumigation. Go to page 34.

2. Agricultural Tree Crop—Applications to production trees; includes citrus, blueberries, pecans, or crop grown on woody shrubs/trees; no fumigation. Go to page 36.

3. Seed Treatment—Seeds; no fumigation. Go to page 38.

4. Soil and Greenhouse Fumigation—Fumigant injections or applications to field soils, containerized plants, potting soil, lawns, turf, and ornamentals not associated with structures; or within enclosed agricultural structures such as greenhouses where agricultural production is in progress. Go to page 40.

5. Raw Agricultural Commodity Fumigation—Fumigation to any postharvest raw ag commodity or applied to ag storage facilities. Go to page 42.

6. Aerial—Applications from an aircraft. Go to page 44.

7. Agricultural Animal—Applications to animals, in or on places where such animals are kept or confined (includes swine, cattle, sheep, horses, fish, poultry, bees, and other agricultural livestock). Go to page 46.

8. Forest—Use of pesticides in forests, forest nurseries, or forest seed orchards. Go to page 48.

9. Ornamental and Turf—Production of ornamental trees, shrubs, flowers, or sod. Go to page 50.

Table 3.4, Restricted use applicators in nonagriculture areas (natural areas, golf courses, cemeteries, parks, athletic fields, water).

Do you apply to:

1. Natural Areas—Use herbicides to control vegetation to protect natural communities and ecosystems in natural areas. Go to page 52.

2. Aquatics—Applications to water, standing or running water, banks or shorelines. Excludes chlorine gas and public health activities. Go to page 54.

3. Ornamental and Turf—Maintenance of ornamental plants or sod. Also includes turfgrass growing in or on cemeteries, golf courses, parks, or athletic fields. Does not include lawns around structures. Go to page 50. (For lawns around structures, see pages 12 and 24.)

4. Right-of-Way—Maintenance of right-of-way areas associated with public roads, electric power lines, pipelines, railroads, and other similar areas. Go to page 56.

5. Other—Wood treatment, antifouling paint, sewer root, chlorine gas infusion, regulatory, demonstration and research. Go to pages 58–70.

Quick Reference to Pesticide License Page


Public Health

Mosquito Control Director

Limited Structural

Limited Lawn and Ornamental

Limited Wildlife

General Household Pest

Wood-Destroying Organisms

Structural Fumigation

Special ID Cardholder in Fumigation

Lawn and Ornamental

Limited Urban Commercial Fertilizer

Limited Commercial Landscape Maintenance

Identification Cardholder

Private Applicator

Agricultural Row Crop

Agricultural Tree Crop

Seed Treatment

Soil and Greenhouse Fumigation

Raw Agricultural Commodity Fumigation


Agricultural Animal


Ornamental and Turfgrass

Natural Areas


Right of Way

Wood Treatment

Organotin Antifouling Paint

Sewer Root

Chlorine Gas

Regulatory Pest Control

Regulatory Inspection & Sampling

Demonstration and Research

Peer Reviewed

Publication #PI292

Release Date:September 13, 2022

Related Experts

Harlow, Erin E.

County agent

University of Florida

Bultemeier, Brett Wells


University of Florida

Haddock, Susan

County agent

University of Florida

Use pesticides safely. Read and follow directions on the manufacturer's label.

Fact Sheet

About this Publication

This document is PI292, one of a series of the Pesticide Information Office, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date August 2021. Revised September 2022. Visit the EDIS website at for the currently supported version of this publication.

About the Authors

Erin E. Harlow, residential and commercial horticulture agent III, UF/IFAS Extension Columbia County; Luke B. Harlow, agriculture and natural resources agent I, UF/IFAS Extension Union County; Susan Haddock, commercial horticulture integrated pest management agent IV, UF/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County; and Brett Bultemeier, Extension assistant professor, UF/IFAS Pesticide Information Office, Gainesville, FL 32653; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


  • Brett Bultemeier
  • Erin Harlow