You may be thinking “I thought only farmers used pesticides, what are you talking about the military for?” Our more frequent readers will already know that pesticides are used for all sorts of things, including mosquito control, rat/rodent control, and a plethora of other pests. So YES, the military uses pesticides to manage pests and maintain operational readiness. But Do Soldiers Need a Pesticide License?

Let’s answer the question right up front “Yes, soldiers likely need a pesticide license”. Anybody using a Restricted Use Product (RUP) anywhere in the US must be certified or be under the supervision of someone that is certified. Hard stop, EVERYONE must follow this provision. This leads to another question, who does the certification?

This might seem straightforward, especially for those of you that have followed our blog for awhile (Which License Do I Need?). Surely each state that the military bases are in just certify the military right? Here is a wrinkle to that logic, what happens when a soldier is deployed overseas? ALL of our military bases, wherever they might be, are classified as US soil…so which state has jurisdiction there?

Who Manages The Certification?

The EPA approves 68 unique certification and training plans, which is the process for getting a license in each of the states. Those of you quick with math will know that 68 is bigger than the 50 states that make up this great country, what are the other numbers for? That would be for tribes, territories, AND federal agencies. The Department of Defense (DoD) is one of the biggest federal agencies around and they have an approved certification and training plan, just like all the states.

This plan lays out the courses that must be taken, the timeline of those courses, and who can and can’t become certified. There are 9 categories that one could be certified in and an exam associated with each one.

DoD Category NumberPest Control Category
2Forest Pest Control
3Ornamental and Turf Pest Control
5Aquatic Pest Control
6Right-of-Way Pest Control
7Industrial, Institutional, Structural, and Health-Related Pest Control
8Public Health Pest Control
11Aerial Application
14Non-soil Fumigation
16Rangeland Pest Control

To pass an exam each person must first take the required training course and study the material, then pass with at least a 70%. There are provisions that if the exam associated with certification can not be passed after several attempts, then that person is disqualified from this type of training. I really like this provision, either study and take it serious, or this is not for you. Furthermore, once they are disqualified, they can’t even handle pesticides under direct supervision. The idea is you either learn it or move on! For more information on who to contact within each branch: Military Certification Plans

Even though we don’t normally associate pesticides with the military, it makes sense they would use them. In WW2 there were over 113,000 malaria cases, resulting in 3,310,800 sick days used amongst US soldiers. A sick soldier can’t serve, so controlling something like mosquitos that carry diseases is important. Add in the risk of rats eating food supplies, weeds growing tall on runways, even things like fleas or lice on an aircraft carrier, and it starts to make sense. So Yes, Soldiers Need a Pesticide License, and they have their very own EPA certified plan to cover it. While we may traditionally think of things like night vision goggles, and camo fatigues, I can just as easily picture our troops wearing nitrile gloves and Tyvek suits as part of their PPE!

Source: UF/IFAS Pest Alert

Note: All images and contents are the property of UF/IFAS.

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