Spraying roses for aphids with hand pump-up sprayer


Georgia's Pesticide Safety Education Program promotes the responsible and safe use of pesticides throughout Georgia. We accomplish this by providing the educational resources, training programs, and materials needed to help both private and commercial pesticide applicators achieve certification and subsequently to maintain the knowledge to safely, effectively, and responsibly make use of general use and restricted-use pesticides. Our educational resources cover a broad range of pesticide safety topics including pest identification, personal safety, safe storage and disposal of pesticides, environmental protection, pesticide drift and runoff prevention, threatened and endangered species protection, pollinator protection, water quality protection, and feed and food safety.  A special training program is available for public service employees, volunteers such as Master Gardeners, homeowners, and anyone looking to learn more about the responsible and safe use of pesticides in Georgia.



Land Management Partnership:  USDA and Georgia Sign Shared Stewardship Agreement Highlighting Cooperative Approach to Land Management:  On 23 November 2019, Georgia Govenor Brian Kemp and USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue signed a shared partnership agreement that should be a great opportunity to coordinate and prioritize land management activities in tandem with USDA's Forest Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the State of Georgia. You can read more about the agreement and its possibilities in this press release from USDA.

Recordkeeping and Pesticide Drift:  This guide on how to focus on environmental conditions for pesticide application recordkeeping can help you protect yourself from pesticide drift damage claims.

New Paraquat Training Requirements:  What you need to know about EPA’s paraquat mitigation decision is outlined in this graphic from EPA.

An App for Weed and Pest Identification:  BASF has launched an app to help farmers with identifying weeds and pests, even when weeds are at the cotyledon stage.  The app was developed by Bayer and released in 2018.  The way it works is you snap a picture of the weed or disease and the app tells you with a percentage of confidence what you're looking at.  You should consider anything over 90% confidence as accurate, since the identification is being done by a remote server that has more than 150,000 weed and disease images in a massive database for comparison.  Your pictures get added to the database and over time the system gets even better.  This is a high-tech way to speed scouting and make inexperienced scouts more effective.

Pesticide Safety Incidents from 2017:  Are you curious about what can happen when you fail to follow the pesticide safety “rules” that you’ve learned from your initial certification training and the recertification meetings you’ve attended?  If so, read about incidents that occurred in 2017, when basic pesticide safety precautions were ignored.

Current News

EPA Releases Aquatic Life Benchmarks for Freshwater Species and Ambient Water Quality Criteria for Registered Pesticides

30 September 2019.

Today, EPA released the revised Aquatic Life Benchmarks table, which includes both new and updated aquatic life benchmark values.

State, tribal and local governments use these benchmarks in their interpretation of water monitoring data. Comparing a measured concentration of a pesticide in water to an aquatic life benchmark can be helpful in interpreting monitoring data and in identifying and prioritizing sites and pesticides that may require further investigation.

New aquatic life benchmarks represent newly available toxicity endpoints for registered chemicals. EPA's goal is to add to these benchmarks on an annual basis.

EPA based these benchmarks on toxicity values found in scientific studies that the agency reviewed in support of publicly available ecological risk assessments and regulatory decisions. The table directly links the source documents for each of the benchmarks.

EPA Releases FAQs for Certain Antimicrobial Product Performance Efficacy Test Guidelines

28 August 2019.

Today, EPA released a Frequently Asked Questions web resource for the Series 810 – Product Performance Test Guidelines: Antimicrobial Efficacy Test Guidelines.

The following three tests have been updated:

  • 810.2000: General Considerations for Testing Public Health Antimicrobial Pesticides, Guide for Efficacy Testing
  • 810.2100: Sterilants, Sporicides, and Decontaminants, Guide for Efficacy Testing
  • 810.2200: Disinfectants for Use on Environmental Surfaces, Guide for Efficacy Testing

The updated guidelines were initially posted in February 2018, with an implementation date of February 28, 2019. Since the publication of the three updated guidelines, EPA received numerous inquiries from stakeholders seeking clarification of several topics within the guidelines. In order to allow time to address stakeholder concerns, the agency delayed the February 28, 2019, implementation date for the updated guidelines by six months to August 28, 2019. In response to stakeholder requests, EPA has generated the Frequently Asked Questions Web resource to provide prompt and transparent guidance to all applicants regarding commonly asked questions concerning the updated 810 guidelines.

EPA Takes Action to Provide Accurate Risk Information to Consumers, Stop False Labeling on Products

9 August 2019.

EPA is issuing guidance to registrants of glyphosate to ensure clarity on labeling of the chemical on their products. EPA will no longer approve product labels claiming glyphosate is known to cause cancer – a false claim that does not meet the labeling requirements of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The State of California’s much criticized Proposition 65 has led to misleading labeling requirements for products, like glyphosate, because it misinforms the public about the risks they are facing. This action will ensure consumers have correct information, and is based on EPA’s comprehensive evaluation of glyphosate.

"It is irresponsible to require labels on products that are inaccurate when EPA knows the product does not pose a cancer risk. We will not allow California’s flawed program to dictate federal policy,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “It is critical that federal regulatory agencies like EPA relay to consumers accurate, scientific based information about risks that pesticides may pose to them. EPA’s notification to glyphosate registrants is an important step to ensuring the information shared with the public on a federal pesticide label is correct and not misleading.

In April, EPA took the next step in the review process for glyphosate. EPA found – as it has before – that glyphosate is not a carcinogen, and there are no risks to public health when glyphosate is used in accordance with its current label. These scientific findings are consistent with the conclusions of science reviews by many other countries and other federal agencies.

On Feb. 26, 2018, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California issued a preliminary injunction stopping California from enforcing the state warning requirements involving glyphosate’s carcinogenicity, in part on the basis that the required warning statement is false or misleading. The preliminary injunction has not been appealed and remains in place.

California’s listing of glyphosate as a substance under Proposition 65 is based on the International Agency on the Research for Cancer (IARC) classifying it as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” EPA’s independent evaluation of available scientific data included a more extensive and relevant dataset than IARC considered during its evaluation of glyphosate, from which the agency concluded that glyphosate is “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.” EPA’s cancer classification is consistent with many other international expert panels and regulatory authorities.

Registrants with glyphosate products currently bearing Proposition 65 warning language should submit draft amended labeling that removes this language within 90 days of the date of the letter.


Scheduled UGA Webinars for GREEN Industry Professionals

(CEUs authorized) Register no earlier than 5 weeks prior to each webinar.

Thursday, January 16, 2020 from 3:00 to 5:00 PM

Working with trees and saw safety

Dr. Ellen Bauske, Dept. of Plant Pathology, University of Georgia

This webinar will target workers and employers providing skilled support services, site clean-up services, and recovery activities. This includes workers in the tree care industries, landscape industry, grounds and maintenance, and others who clean up after the storm damaged trees. We will talk about insect bites and stings, electrical/electrocution hazards, hand and power tools, slips, trips, and falls, and other related topics [personal protective equipment (PPE), equipment inspection, safe carry, and safe start].


Safety starts at the tree: Basic tree and wood biology

Dr. Bodie Pennisi, Dept. of Horticulture, University of Georgia

Understanding how trees grow and their structure as they progress through life is critical to safe working around them. From a small pine sapling to a stately oak, trees show a remarkable variety of structure which changes with time, growing conditions, and cultural practices. When we grow, prune, and train trees, we should be familiar with their strengths and weaknesses. This webinar is intended to cover basic concepts of tree biology and growth.

Thursday, March 12, 2020 from 3:00 to 5:00 PM

Pest management in greenhouse production

Dr. Eric Redek, Dept. of Entomology, Oklahoma State University

Greenhouses are perfect environments for plants and insects. Some of these insects are pests while others can be used as biological control agents to manage pest species.
This webinar will focus on the most common greenhouse pests and biological control strategies to reduce pest pressure.


Green-up 2020: Forecast for turfgrasses and pest management

Dr. Clint Waltz, Dept. of Crop and Soil Science, University of Georgia

As the weather warms and turfgrasses transition to active growth, the impact of environmental conditions can affect green-up and pest management.  This webinar will discuss how grasses and pests (i.e. diseases, weeds, and insects) have been influenced by weather patterns and how to best achieve turfgrass growth through the spring and into early summer.

Thursday, May 14, 2020 from 3:00 to 5:00 PM

Influence on landscape management practices on household pests

Dr. Daniel Suiter, Dept. of Entomology, University of Georgia

The outdoor landscape can provide conducive conditions for many arthropods which can be household pests.  This webinar will discuss landscape practices such as placement and type of plants, mulch, and water near the house’s foundation, and how these practices can be changed to reduce and eliminate the incursion and spread of household pests.


Identification and management of nuisance insects, and other arthropods in turfgrass

Dr. Tim Davis, County Coordinator and Agent -- Chatham County, University of Georgia

This webinar will insects, and other arthropods, that are commonly found in turfgrass but are not detrimental to the grass itself. Fire ants may top the list, but other insects include burrowing / ground bees, wasps, yellow jackets, and other nuisance pests (e.g. spiders, centipedes, millipedes, and etc.).  Turfgrass managers need to be able to identify these species, where they live in the turfgrass system (e.g. canopy, soil surface, soil, etc.), and if they provide any ecosystem services (e.g. predators to damaging insects).

For more information or to get on our email contact list for upcoming webinars, contact Tami Boyle, Center for Urban Agriculture, University of Georgia Griffin Campus at tadams@uga.edu or call 770-233-6107. CEUs in various Georgia Commercial and Private Pesticide Applicator License categories are available.

Registration: Webinars are $10 (for 2 CEUs) with a sliding scale (price goes down with more attendees registered), and are 7:45 to 10:00 a.m. East Coast time. All that’s needed is a reliable internet connection. Register for an upcoming webinar a few weeks prior to the webinar by going to the Getting the Best of Pests website, clicking on the GREEN BUTTON labeled COMMERCIAL AND PRIVATE, and following the registration instructions. Contact Beth Horne at bhorne@uga.edu or call 770-228-7214 with questions regarding the registration process.


Which license do I need: Private, Commercial, or Structural?

A Private Pesticide Applicator license...

- Is needed if either of the following statements is true:

I want to purchase and use a Restricted-Use pesticide (RUP) on my property or the property of my employer to produce an agricultural, horticultural, or forestry commodity.


I want to supervise the use of a Restricted-Use pesticide (RUP) on my property or the property of my employer to produce an agricultural, horticultural, or forestry commodity.

more details for Private Applicators

A Commercial Pesticide Applicator license...

- Is required if you want to buy, apply, or supervise the application of a general use or restricted-use pesticide (RUP) without a fee and you do not qualify as a private applicator.

- Is required if you work for or as a licensed Pesticide Contractor applying any pesticide to the lands of another for a fee unless you work under the supervision of someone else who has a Commercial Pesticide Applicator license.

- Does not permit you to charge a fee unless you also have a Pesticide Contractor license.

- Is required for Restricted-Use pesticide purchases, and your purchases must be confined to only those categories for which you are authorized by your license.

More details for Commercial Applicators

A Structural Pest Control license...

- Is required to solicit work or perform work as a Structural Pest Control business in Georgia.

- Requires you to be certified or registered and work for a licensed Structural Pest Control company to solicit or perform Structural Pest Control work in Georgia.

- Is divided into three operational categories: Household Pest Control (HPC), Wood Destroying Organisms (WDO), and Structural Fumigation (FUM).

- Requires pre-licensing: training, experience, and examinations.


What materials are available for training my agricultural workers to meet the requirements of the 2015 Revised Worker Protection Standard?

UGA’s Pesticide Safety Program has obtained copies of the How to Comply With the 2015 Revised Worker Protection Standard for Agricultural Pesticides - What Owners and Employers Need To Know that are available at a nominal cost from the UGA Extension Publication Store. Additional materials for training agricultural workers are available from the Pesticide Educational Resources Collaborative (PERC) website (downloadable documents, videos, and other electronic materials) and from the National Pesticide Safety Education Center (NPSEC) store (including DVDs of training videos, the required safety posters, and many other hardgoods required by the WPS).  Please note that a portion of your purchases from NPSEC is returned to the Pesticide Safety Education Program in Georgia to support pesticide safety training and recertification classes around the state and development and updating of online training resources for Georgia's pesticide applicators, both private and commercial.

Among the currently available resources are updated WPS videos in both English and Spanish. There are new WPS handouts and an inventory of training materials that has downloadable training videos, sample forms, modifiable presentations, and more. Additional materials are added as approved so check the PERC website often for any new training materials.  Note: Anyone can sign up to be notified of new releases from PERC at this web address: http://pesticideresources.org//lists.html

How do I get pesticide safety education if I neither need nor want a license or do not qualify for any type of license?

Everyone in Georgia who handles and applies general use or unclassified pesticides should be trained in how to correctly and safely use pesticides. The Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) and the University of Georgia’s Pesticide Safety Education Program (PSEP) have jointly developed the Georgia Competent Applicators of Pesticides Program (GCAPP) to provide Georgians who might wish training in the proper and safe use of pesticides. This training program is now available online on the Georgia Professional Certifications website. First, you will need to purchase access to the GCAPP training for homeowners, public service employees, master gardeners and other volunteers at the Georgia Professional Certifications Course Access storefront on UGA Marketplace. Click on the tab for Homeowners, Public Service Employees, & Volunteers (if you get a message that this page is not available or found, click on the refresh button until the course appears as the storefront is sometimes slow to load the actual course pages). Follow these instructions for purchasing the course. GCAPP requires a minimm of a 4.5 to 5.5 hour time commitment by participants to complete the course.


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