Tennessee’s law that governs the custom application of pesticides is "The Tennessee Application of Pesticides Act" (TAPA), and there are published rules that coincide with the law. In addition, the "Tennessee Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act" (TIFRA) and the "Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act" (FIFRA) also govern certain pesticidal issues.
TAPA requires that a company providing or offering for sale any custom pesticide application must have a pest control charter. A charter is a type of permit issued by the department to a business, and is required for each individual location. For example, if a company has an office in Nashville and another in Memphis, each location would be required to have its own charter. An application for charter requires a pro-rated fee of $200 per year, a $10,000 surety bond and proof of liability insurance with the minimum coverages of $250,000 per incident and $500,000 aggregate. A $50,000 bond is required for new companies holding a WDO, GRC, FUM, or BDC licensee. In addition, those firms that have a WDO licensee must carry errors and omissions coverage with minimums of $100,000 per incident and $300,000 aggregate. A charter also requires that there be at least one licensee in each category of service offered. A licensee can only be listed on one charter.
Currently the HLT (Horticulture, Lawn & Turf) license exam is administered by computer at the remote testing locations. For more information, please call 615-837-5310.
The license examination fee is $150, and application must be made by the 10th of the month that precedes the month of exam. License applicants must be commercially certified prior to the examination date. Applicants, with the exception of the AGE category, must qualify for the examination by one of three ways:
License examinations are only offered in Nashville in the months of January, April, July, and October. The examination consists of two parts, the first in a multiple-choice written format. The second part involves specimen identification. A score of 70 percent is considered passing for each part. Failure on either part requires reexamination on both parts. Test results are made available on the same day at the testing site, and examinants with a passing score can apply for a license immediately. A pro-rated fee is required of $20 per license category per year.
Licensees are held accountable for all pesticide applications and required pesticide recordkeeping. Licensees are expected to work full-time at the chartered firm, but are not required to be on-site at each application. However, at least one commercially certified person is required to be on site at each application.
TAPA also requires the licensed supervision of pesticide applications inside certain commercial and public buildings. These include:
In these situations, pesticide applications must be performed by a chartered firm unless a licensee is employed by the facility. With rare exception, the license category required for application within the above listed facilities is the GRC. Pesticide applications must be performed by a chartered firm unless a licensee is employed by the facility. In this instance, a charter by the facility is not reuqired. Any technician working under the licensee is required to be commercially certified in the corresponding category.
Commercial certification is a lower level of testing in Tennessee, and fulfills two purposes:
Certification exams are offered at various locations across the state. Contact the Department at (615) 837-5148 or (615) 837-5310 for additional information. The fee is $15 for each exam, and payment by check or exact change is accepted. The commercial certification exam incorporates the previously separate CORE exam materials. It is recommended that applicants order CORE study material as well.
To maintain commercial certification, continuing education credits, commonly known as "points," must be earned by attending approved training sessions during the certification period. Sessions can include in-house meetings, trade association events, Extension Service meetings and others. The number of points required varies by category and the date certification is earned. Contact the Department at (615) 837-5148 or (615) 837-5310 for more information. For points required to maintain certification through 2011, click here. For points required to maintain certification through 2014, click here.
Study materials for both certification and license exams are available from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville for nominal fees. The certification materials are designed to walk applicants through the exam, whereas the license materials are designed to merely be a supplement to your experience and education. Order forms are available from the University and the Department.
Tennessee reciprocates in honoring current commercial certification by other states with whom they have an agreement. Tennessee does not reciprocate in regard to licenses.
Any non-licensed technician or solicitor working for a chartered firm is registered as a solicitor/technician. The fee is pro-rated on a quarterly basis and equates to $20 per year. Please contact the Department for exact fee and expiration date information.
This is a new category of certification that allows an individual to apply Glyphosphate only for the control of weeds in conjunction with commerical lawan and landscape maintenance practices such as spot treatments adjacent to fencing, driveways, parking lots, and cemetery markers.
To obtain this certification you must currently hold a certification in (C03) Ornamental and Turf or apply to take the Limited Herbicide Applicator certification exam. The Commerical Certification Exam Form may be downloaded at http://www.tn.gov/agriculture; click on "downloadable forms" and follow the instructions. A passing score of 70 is needed for successful completion of this exam.
The study manual needed for this category of certification is "Applying Pesticides Correctly" and may be purchased through the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Please call 865-974-7138 or purchase the manual online at http://agriculture.tennessee.edu/emarketplace.
The applicator or his or her employer must furnish proof of liability insurance with coverage for bodily injury and property damage of at least $300,000 per occurance and $300,000 aggregate, including coverage for products/completed operations, and the policy must be endorsed to cover herbicide applications.
The application equipment is limited to a single hand-held nozzle supplied by a tank with a maximum capacity of 25 gallons; an electric or hand-powered pump with a maximum discharge rate of 1.5 gallons per minute; and a discharge hose no more than 15 feet long.
Your TDA assigned ID number must be displayed in the upper right-hand corner of the vehicle used in the business or on both sides of any trailer used in the business. The name of the business shall be displayed on the right and left sides of all company vehicles or trailers. The lettering must not be less than two inches tall.
Application records must contrian the date of the application and the property address.
This category of certification does not allow you to supervise the application of any pesticide by an uncertified person, advertise the application of herbicides or any other pesticide application, or purchase a restricted use pesticide.
Applicators certified under this category are not required to obtain a license, charter or bond.
For additional information, please call 615-837-5148.
"What if I don’t charge for the pesticide, but just the rest of my services? Does that mean I don’t need a charter and license?"
You are still receiving monetary compensation for your services, and thus still providing custom application.
"What are the consequences of operating as a custom pesticide applicator without getting a charter and license?"
Operating without a charter is a Class A Misdemeanor under TAPA, punishable by up to a $2,500 fine and 11 months 29 days of incarceration.
"But I rarely use pesticides. I only need them every now and then. Do I still have to obtain the charter and license for such little work?"
The charter requirements in TAPA do not vary because of the volume of work a particular company has. If you find that the number of pesticide applications you perform does not warrant getting chartered, you can subcontract those applications to a chartered firm or simply not offer them.
"I use non-pesticidal control measures. Do I need to get a charter?"
If you don’t apply pesticides you do not need a charter. Please check all of your product labels closely. If you see an EPA Registration Number, it is a pesticide.
"I own a convenience market that has a deli counter. Will I need to hire out my pesticide applications to comply with TAPA’s requirement for restaurants?"
The law is written that if you prepare or serve food, you would need to do so. So, if your counter actually prepares food, such as assembling sandwiches, frying chicken, baking pizzas, etc. then the answer is yes. If, however, you only offer items like vendor-prepared sandwiches and other pre-packaged foods, and the customer merely makes a selection from a display case or fills a cup with soda, then the answer is no.
"I manage an apartment complex, and we have a terrible mole cricket problem. Is there anything my maintenance staff can do to control them without having a license?"
The section of TAPA that deals with this situation is confined to interior use. Thus, exterior pesticide applications by your maintenance staff without having a licensee would be legal. You would be prohibited from applying pesticides inside the units or in related enclosed areas, such as crawl spaces and attics.
"I want to start up a home inspection service for potential home buyers. I’d also like to be able to issue termite clearance letters and advise homeowners about controlling termites and other pests. Does TAPA require me to obtain any sort of license to do this?"
Wood destroying organism inspection reports may only be issued by firms that are chartered to provide wood destroying organism treatments. Reports must be issued on forms provided by the National Pest Control Association or the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. Such reports are to be warranted for 90 days, and persons knowingly issuing a false report are subject to legal action.
The Department also has a monthly pesticide newsletter, "The Registration Review," which is available by subscription for $12 per year. It features newly registered pesticides, pertinent label changes, a listing of new chartered firms, upcoming meetings approved for recertification points, and other information. To obtain an order form, please call 615-837-5340.