Public Health Pest Control

Category Definition Category 8 Public Health Pest Control

This category includes state or federal employees or other individuals using or supervising the use of restricted use pesticides in public health programs for the management and control of pests having medical and public health importance. Performing "public health pest control activities" includes, but is not limited to, the use of any pesticide with the intent to prevent, destroy, repel, or otherwise mitigate any pest of public health significance or engaging in any other activities intended or claimed to mitigate pests of public health significance for compensation or as a government employee on the property of another, including the installation of devices. Public health pest control activities also includes the soliciting, advertising, or making of sales proposals in any form for any services involving the use of pesticides or devices with the intent to prevent, destroy, repel or otherwise mitigate any pest of public health significance. (SCPCA 2006)
  1. The use of EPA-registered disinfectants for ordinary or disaster-recovery cleaning purposes is not a public health pest control activity regulated by the SCPCA.
  2. The installation of animal traps in or around privately-owned structures for the control of vertebrate pests of public health significance (e.g., rats and mice) is not a public health pest control activity regulated by the SCPCA.
  3. The installation of animal traps and the distribution of poisons intended to control rat and mouse populations in or around municipal streets, utilities, and public buildings or in other public areas such as recreational and industrial parks, schools, public hospitals, and similar areas is a public health pest control activity regulated by the SCPCA.
  4. The installation of ultraviolet flying insect traps, air curtains, screens, and similar devices is not a public health pest control activity regulated by the SCPCA unless the devices emit or employ pesticides or public health protection claims are made.
Beginning on January 1, 2006, a license will be required for applicators working in this category on someone else's property unless they are working under the supervision of someone who is properly licensed. Use of either a Restricted Use Pesticide (RUP) or a general use pesticide will require a license. 

Learning Objectives Category 8 Public Health Pest Control

Unit 1 Regulations for Public Health Pest Control
  • Explain basic provisions of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).
  • Explain basic provisions of the South Carolina Pesticide Control Act of 1975.
  • Explain basic provisions of the Endangered Species Act.
Unit 2 Review of Entomology
  • Define the term "vector."
  • List the most common pests that require attention by public health personnel.
  • Describe when pest control becomes necessary.
  • List the five steps for successful pest control.
  • List the four pest control strategies.
  • Explain the importance of stressing pest control by non-chemical means.
  • Describe the three main characteristics of animals in the phylum (group) Arthropoda.
  • Describe the difference between complete and incomplete metamorphosis.
  • List the two main ways in which public health pests affect humans.
Unit 3 Mosquito Biology and Control
  • Describe the differences between male and female mosquitoes.
  • Describe how and where mosquito eggs are laid.
  • Describe where mosquito larvae can and cannot live.
  • Explain what mosquito larvae feed on.
  • Describe how long mosquito larval development usually takes.
  • Explain the importance of the survey to mosquito control.
  • Describe the most widely used and ecologically sound approach to mosquito abatement.
  • Define the four basic principles involved in water management as it relates to mosquitoes.
  • Describe two basic categories of chemicals used against mosquitoes.
Unit 4 Fly Biology and Control — Flies of Public Health Significance
  • Explain how domestic non-biting flies can be a problem.
  • Describe the type of metamorphosis flies undergo.
  • List the different types of flies and their biologies.
  • Describe the most common survey methods used for domestic flies.
  • Explain the importance of good sanitation practices for control of nonbiting flies.
  • List which types of applications are used for indoor and outdoor applications.
Unit 5 Tick Biology and Control
  • List the diseases that ticks are most often implicated in transmitting.
  • Describe the life cycle of ticks.
  • Explain how tick populations spread.
  • Describe the different types of ticks and where they are most often found.
Unit 6 Rodent Biology and Control
  • List the three types of problems caused by rodents.
  • List the species of urban rodents that cause problems in South Carolina.
  • Explain the significance of recognition of signs of rodents.
  • Explain importance of the rodent survey.
  • Explain how rodents can gain access to buildings.
  • Describe the advantages and disadvantages of rodent trapping.
  • Describe the major group of rodenticides and how they work.
Unit 7 Application Principles
  • Describe the three steps in planning a pesticide application.
  • List the four factors that affect the rate of a spray application.
  • Explain how changes in pressure affect changes in application rate.
  • Explain how changes in ground speed affect changes in application rate.
  • Explain why the calibration of application equipment is important.
  • Explain why granular spreaders must be recalibrated more often then other kinds of sprayers.
  • List five kinds or methods of applications usually labeled for public health pest treatments.
  • Explain the general procedures for calculating the surface area of areas with irregular boundaries; for instance, the irregular boundaries of bodies of water or other areas with curved or other irregular boundaries.
Unit 8 Environmental Safety
  • Explain the potential for groundwater contamination and what precautions should be taken when using pesticides.
  • Describe steps for preventing pesticide contamination of a well.
  • Explain the difference between threatened and endangered species.
  • Explain the importance of protecting endangered species.

Test Your Knowledge Category 8 Public Health Pest Control

Unit 1 Regulations for Public Health Pest Control

Q. What are the basic provisions of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act?
A. FIFRA requires federal registration of pesticides shipped across state lines, makes it unlawful to sell unregistered pesticides, ensures that labels must have adequate directions and warnings, and makes it unlawful to remove or alter labels.

Q. What law controls the use or application of pesticides and ensures that pesticide applicators and dealers are qualified to use or sell pesticides in South Carolina?
A. The South Carolina Pesticide Control Act (SCPCA) regulates the registration, quality control, use, and application of pesticides as required by the rules and regulations established by EPA.

Q. What application practices should pesticide applicators consider using to avoid impacting non-target organisms, such as endangered species?
A. Do not apply pesticides directly to surface water, use buffer zones, avoid pesticide applications when weather conditions are inappropriate, and choose chemicals that are less toxic to plants and animals.

Unit 2 Review of Entomology

Q. In what two ways can public health pests affect humans?
A. First, they can directly cause discomfort or disease. Second, certain pests can transmit organisms that cause diseases.

Q. What is a vector?
A. A vector is an animal, usually an insect, capable of carrying a disease organism or parasite from one host to another.

Q. What are the five steps for the successful control of public health pests?
A. The steps are:

  1. Identify a pest and review its biology.
  2. Evaluate the extent of the pest presence.
  3. Select best control strategies for the pest.
  4. Implement control strategies.
  5. Evaluate the control strategies.
Q. What are the four pest control strategies?
A. The four pest control strategies are:
  1. resource management/environmental manipulation
  2. prevention/mechanical barriers
  3. biological control
  4. chemical control
Q. What is the difference between complete and incomplete metamorphosis?
A. Complete metamorphosis occurs when the insect develops from egg to larva to pupa to adult (for example, mosquitoes and other flies). Insects that undergo incomplete metamorphosis develop from egg to young, with the young resembling the adults and feeding in the same habitats. Examples are cockroaches and lice.

Unit 3 Mosquito Biology and Control

Q. What is the main difference between male and female mosquitoes?
A. Male mosquitoes do not bite. Female mosquitoes do bite, as they require a sizable blood meal as a protein source to develop eggs.

Q. What is the most widely used and most ecologically sound approach to mosquito abatement?
A. Water source reduction.

Q. What are four common methods involved in water source reduction?

  1. Eliminate standing water.
  2. Prevention of water accumulation.
  3. Increase the amount of standing water to create a suitable habitat for predaceous fish.
  4. Increase movement of water in the mosquito breeding area.
Q. Why are mosquito surveys conducted?
A. To detect mosquito populations, to identify species, to conduct counts, and to prepare location maps.
Unit 4 Fly Biology and Control — Flies of Public Health Significance

Q. How can domestic, non-biting flies be a problem?
A. Flies can be a nuisance to people through their sheer numbers. Additionally, they can cause myiasis or transmit other pathogens.

Q. What type of metamorphosis do flies undergo?
A. All flies undergo complete metamorphosis (egg, larva, pupa, and adult).

Q. What are the most common survey methods used to determine species composition and population densities for domestic flies?
A. The most common survey methods include: fly traps, fly grills, fly reconnaissance surveys, and landing or biting counts.

Q. What should be the primary measure of fly control in urban areas?
A. Good sanitation practices will eliminate most non-biting fly problems and should be the primary means for fly control.

Unit 5 Tick Biology and Control

Q. What are symptoms of Lyme disease?
A. Lyme disease responds well to treatment if diagnosed early. Symptoms may include headache, chills, fever, muscle aches, fatigue, and a stiff neck. A "bull's eye" rash may occur at the bite location. Often the circular rash increases in size until it is two to three inches across. If not treated, later symptoms may include arthritis, heart or nervous system disease. Symptoms begin three to 32 days after the bite of an infected tick.

Q. What are the diseases transmitted by ticks?
A. Diseases transmitted by ticks include: Colorado tick fever, ehrliciosis, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and tularemia. Ticks can also cause tick paralysis.

Q. What ticks are common in South Carolina?
A. Brown dog tick, American dog tick, Lone Star tick, and black-legged tick.

Unit 6 Rodent Biology and Control

Q. What three species of urban rodents create the principal rodent problem in South Carolina?
A. Three species of urban rodents, Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus), roof rat (Rattus rattus) and the house mouse (Mus musculus) make up the principal rodent problem in South Carolina. Rats and mice cause great economic losses. They consume or contaminate food and feed, and they cause fires by gnawing the insulation from electrical wiring.

Q. What is probably the best method of preventing an increase in rodent populations?
A. The elimination of food for rodents through good sanitation practices is probably the best method of preventing an increase in rodent populations. Principal food sources in most urban areas are waste, pet food, bird food, and garbage.

Q. How are tracking powders used for rodent control?
A. They are toxicants mixed with a dust. The toxic powder adheres to the rodent's feet and fur and is consumed during grooming. Powders are particularly useful for house mouse control, although they are also used for rat control. Most tracking powders incorporate anticoagulant rodenticides. They are applied to burrow entrances, runs, and other areas frequented by rodents.

Q. Why is pre-baiting important?
A. It allows rodents to become familiar with the bait and prevents bait shyness.

Q. Why should traps be placed unset?
A. To allow rodents to become familiar with them. Rodents may learn to avoid traps permanently from a single or "near miss" experience.

Unit 7 Application Principles

Q. What are the three basic steps in planning a pesticide application?
A. The three basic steps are:

  • Select the equipment best suited to the application, considering weather, terrain, stage of the pest, pest population density, and other pertinent factors.
  • Use the most effective pesticide registered, but balance the selection with safety factors and potential environmental harm.
  • Read the label before purchasing, using, or disposing of the pesticide.

Q. Why are strainers (filters) important in sprayers?
A. Strainers (filters) remove dirt, rust flakes and other foreign materials from the tank mixture. Proper filtering protects the working parts of the sprayer from undue wear and avoids time loss and uneven agitation caused by clogged nozzle tips. Therefore, strainers are your best defense against nozzle plugging and pump wear.

Q. What type of nozzle is best suited for residual spraying on surfaces?
A. Best results for residual spraying on surfaces are obtained with flat spray nozzles. With this type of nozzle, a more uniform application is made with less waste of material.

Q. Why is equipment calibration important?
A. It is virtually impossible to apply a pesticide at the prescribed rate unless the equipment has been calibrated properly, and applications exceeding the rate listed on the label are illegal.

Q. What are two reasons to replace a nozzle tip?
A. When a nozzle puts out a distorted spray pattern and when a nozzles's delivery rate deviates more than 10% from the delivery rate of the other nozzles.

Q. Pesticides used to control public health pests may be labeled to be applied as several different types of treatments. What are they?
A. Pesticides used for control of public health pests will be labeled to be applied as space treatments, spot treatments, crack and crevice treatments, perimeter treatments, and area treatments.

Unit 8 Environmental Safety

Q. What are the two basic causes of non-point source pesticide pollution?
A. The two basic causes of non-point source pesticide pollution are runoff and leaching. Runoff occurs when rainfall or irrigation rates exceed the rate at which water can be absorbed into the soil. When runoff occurs, pesticide residues can be carried off the field and into surface waters. Leaching occurs when contaminants are carried through the soil with excess water that percolates below the crop root zone and into the groundwater. Leaching is most common in sandy, permeable soils.

Q. What is the difference between a threatened and an endangered species?
A. Plants or animals in danger of becoming extinct are classified as "endangered." Plants or animals of intermediate rarity are classified as "threatened." Threatened means that the possibility of becoming endangered exists if the population declines.

Q. What type of pesticide containers are accepted for recycling?
A. Only empty, dry plastic containers that have been triple- or pressure-rinsed will be accepted for recycling. Product booklets, plastic sleeves, and lids should be removed before inspection.

Q. What are at least three ways to prevent drift of pesticides during their application?
A. Use as coarse a spray (large droplet size) as is possible. Use as low a pressure as is possible. Don't spray under windy conditions. Don't spray under windy conditions. Other ways are to direct spray directly to the target as much as is possible, use shrouds or hoods to trap dusts or mists during applications, and make applications during cooler times of the day.

Q. List three main characteristic of good pesticide storage.
A. Pesticides are stored in a detached structure with a sound roof and sound, liquid-proof flooring. Pesticides are stored in their original containers. Pesticides have readable labels. Only pesticides are stored with pesticides.

Selected Web Sites The following are web links containing information pertaining to Category 8 Public Health Pest Control:

Resources found at Clemson University
  1. Regulatory Services Department of Pesticide Regulation
  2. Extension Pesticide Information Program
  3. Extension Pesticide Information Program links to pesticide labels, MSDSheets, and chemical fact sheets
  4. Extension Pesticide Information Program links to listings and information about restricted use pesticides (RUPs)
Resources found in South Carolina
  1. South Carolina Mosquito Control Association (SCMCA)
  2. West Nile Virus - A Fact Sheet - South Carolina Dept. of Health and Environmental Services
  3. WNV Surveillance in South Carolina - SC Dept. of Health and Environmental Services
  4. Security: Mosquito Control Equipment and Materials - (PDF format) Memo from the Director of the South Carolina Bureau of Environmental Health, Division of General Sanitation providing a list of general security and safety practices to use with mosquito control equipment and materials.
Other selected resources found on the Web
  1. Adapco, Inc. - A commercial site with product label and MSDSs and information on mosquito life cycles and spray droplet size analysis.
  2. American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) - This site has a considerable amount of information on mosquito control, plus many links.
  3. PestWise an EPA Partnership Program background information - EPA web page.
  4. Armed Forces Pest Management Board - Department of Defense Pest Management Homepage.
  5. Asian Tiger Mosquito (Aedes albopictus) - Invasive species profile.
  6. CDC - Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases (DVBID) - National Center for Infectious Diseases.
  7. CDC Homepage - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  8. Encephalitis Information System - (English & Spanish versions) University of Florida, IFAS, Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory.
  9. EPA List of Pests of Significant Public Health Importance - Section 28(d) of FIFRA requires EPA, in coordination with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to identify pests of significant public health importance. 32 page PDF. (9/11/02)
  10. Iowa State Entomology Index: Medical Entomology - Mosquitoes and more.
  11. Mosquito-borne Diseases - New Jersey Mosquito Homepage
  12. National Pest Alert West Nile Virus in North America - (PDF) USDA Regional Pest Management Centers
  13. Non-chemical Mosquito Control - From Gempler's Technical Services Resource Center. This is a commercial site.
  14. North Carolina Public Health Pest Management - Mosquitoes - NCDENR site. Includes biological data on 25 common species of mosquitoes found in coastal North Carolina.
  15. Public Health Pest Control Related WWW Sites
  16. U.S. ARMY Institute of Public Health.
  17. West Nile virus - Invasive species profile.