Frequently Asked Questions


  • How are pesticides regulated?
    Pesticide regulation is complex but it always begins with review of the product label. Label directions dictate how that product must be applied and stored. A pesticide label carries the weight of law and products are required to be approved at both a federal and state level. The federal government provides a baseline of standards for each product, however, individual states can reserve the right to reject a product or require more stringent standards of use from how it is regulated federally. Decisions to increase product constraints are made based on situations unique to local needs and can fluctuate depending on environmental changes.
  • How do we determine if a product was misused?
    1. Field the complaint
    2. Screen the complaint to determine if DPR needs to engage services
    3. Review label language of the product in question
    4. The general protocol could involve (but is not limited to): applicant information, weather data, vegetation samples, complainant interviews, license review... (*)

    * South Carolina’s Department of Pesticide Regulation does not review medical records nor diagnose causation; rather, DPR determines factual components to the complaint and reports on correlation, not causation.

  • Who is DPR responsible to share information with?
    South Carolina’s Department of Pesticide Regulation carries the responsibility to inform all interested parties regarding a complaint (the complainant and responsible party). Any additional information to individuals outside these groups can be requested through the freedom of information act once the case files are available. Depending on the violation and the nature of the investigation, a violation could vary from a written notice of warning to the responsible party to a monetary penalty and could include a revocation of the person’s pesticide license. All actions are defined by the S.C. Pesticide Control Act which outlines DPR authority on civil and criminal penalties.
  • Who is my local investigator?
    Field agents are located throughout the state. Please refer to the territory map to locate an agent nearest you.
  • How do I report an applicator who is doing business without a license?
    Call the Department of Pesticide Regulation at (864) 646-2150 to report any suspected unlicensed pesticide applications, fraud, or misuse of pesticides.
  • Is there a way to determine if Pest Control Companies are licensed in South Carolina?
    Yes, please go to the following Department of Pesticide Regulation web link.
  • Can the Department of Pesticide Regulation provide treatment recommendations?
    No. Please contact your local Clemson University Cooperative Extension office for agricultural and other plant treatment recommendations. Contact Dr. Eric Benson, Clemson University Extension Entomologist, for all structural or public health related treatment recommendations.

How to get a license

  • How many recertification credits do I have at this time?
    Please go to the Recertification Credits page and select Commercial, Non-commercial, or Private to find current credits.
  • When does my license expire?
    All commercial and non-commercial licenses expire on December 31st of each year. They must be renewed annually BEFORE that date in order to perform pest control  work or advertising after December 31st of any given year. If licenses are not renewed by December 31st, any work performed after that date will be in violation of the South Carolina Pesticide Control Act and will be subject to enforcement action. All private applicator licenses must be renewed every five (5) years. Private applicator license renewal dates are December 31, 2014...2019...2024, etc.
  • If I am not actively doing business, may I keep my license without insurance coverage?
    Yes, but only if you transfer your license/certification to an Inactive Status PRIOR TO CANCELLATION OF INSURANCE. Inactive status of a license will allow an applicator to keep a license for up to five (5) years from the date of inactivity. An applicator still must pay the renewal fee annually by December 31st, and maintain all necessary recertification credits as if the license were still active. However, no work can be performed with an inactive license. To reactivate an inactive license, proof of insurance must be supplied to the Department of Pesticide Regulation before any pest control activities (including advertising) are performed.
  • If I am operating a pest control company with more than one licenses applicator, how much will I need to pay for each licensed applicator at license renewal time?
    In pest control businesses (Category 7A), if all licenses are renewed together as one group on or before December 31st of each year, the DCA is charged $50.00 and each additional licensed applicator is charged $10.00 per licensed category up to a maximum of $50.00 per applicator. This same structure is used for fees in other pest control companies as well ($10.00 per category after the first applicator).
  • What is required when a commercial applicator changes from one place of employment to another?
    The Department of Pesticide Regulation must be notified of any change in employment status by an applicator or his/her employer within two weeks. If a license goes without insurance coverage, the license is suspended immediately, and subsequently revoked after 90 days. No pest control work (including advertising) can be performed once a license has been suspended. After 90 days, a person must retake the initial qualifying examinations to become relicensed.
  • What is required when a non-commercial applicator leaves the employment of a government agency?
    A non-commercial applicator must transfer his/her license to either a commercial status or inactive status within two weeks of leaving government employment and pay the associated fees to keep the license. After 90 days, any non-commercial license that has not been either transferred to commercial status or placed inactive will be revoked.
  • When are decals needed and how do I get them?
    Decals are needed on all vehicles used by commercial and non-commercial pesticide applicators that transport pesticides on or across county or state roads or highways, and interstate highways. To obtain decals, submit vehicle registration (license plate) numbers for each motor vehicle needing decals to Ms. Connie Kelley either by email, or by fax (864) 646-2162.

How to maintain a license

  • What types of commercial pesticide applications require a license in South Carolina?
    Any application of Restricted Use Pesticides (RUP) requires an applicator, commercial or otherwise, to be licensed. The application of any pesticide (general or restricted use) in Category 3 (ornamentals and turf), Category 5 (aquatic), Category 7A (structural institutional and health-related), Category 7B (structural fumigation), and Category 8 (public health) requires an applicator to be licensed.
  • When will the next pesticide applicator exam be given? In what locations will exams be given?
    On-line exams are available. More information is available here.
  • After taking and passing the exam, what do I do next?
    Exam results are good for five years from the date the exam was taken. If someone has passed the appropriate exam(s), then within this five (5) year period, they must contact the Department of Pesticide Regulation and submit the appropriate forms and fees to begin the licensing process.
  • Where do I get study material for the pesticide applicator exams?
    Study materials for the exams can be obtained from the Clemson University Bulletin Room by calling (864) 656-3261, or toll free (888) 772-2665. Please contact the Department of Pesticide Regulation before contacting the Bulletin Room if you are uncertain of the specific exam categories for which you need to test.
  • How do I get a reciprocal license in South Carolina?
    If you hold a current license in a state or from a federal agency with which South Carolina reciprocates, you may contact Connie Kelley at or Malinda Bannister at  with the Department of Pesticide Regulation for further details. South Carolina issues reciprocal non-commercial licenses on all United States federal pesticide applicator certifications, and full commercial license reciprocity in the states of Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Virginia. Partial reciprocity is offered in the following states: Arkansas (only in categories 1A, 1B, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10), Florida (in all categories EXCEPT 7A and 7B), Georgia (in all categories EXCEPT 7A and 7B), North Carolina (SC requires both structural P and W phase in NC for a SC 7A license). South Carolina will issue a reciprocal SC private applicator license to licensed private pesticide applicators from any state within the United States. For a reciprocal license to be issued, the applicator must submit a copy of his/her current unexpired license from a federal agency or any state mentioned above.
  • To start a commercial pest control company, what types of information will I need to submit to the Department of Pesticide Regulation?
    Any person desiring to operate a commercial pest control company must submit proof of financial responsibility (insurance coverage), mailing address, physical business address, telephone number, and social security number (this is a state requirement for issuance of a license). If a person seeks to open a commercial structural pest control company (Category 7A), there also is a requirement to obtain a business license from the Department of Pesticide Regulation. In order to obtain a business license, there is an additional requirement for a Designated Certified Applicator (DCA) at each business location. To qualify as a DCA, a person must have either two years of verifiable experience in the application of pesticides, or a four (4) year college/university degree.
  • What kind of insurance is needed to operate a commercial pest control company?
    General Liability insurance that covers all incidents involving the use or transport of pesticides (bodily injury and property damage) is required for all commercial pest control companies and structural businesses. No deductible can exceed $1,000 (by state law). Coverage must be continuous, and licenses will be suspended and then revoked if proof of continuous insurance is not demonstrated. Amounts of coverage for each type of business are listed below:
    1. Category 7A and 7B applicators must maintain comprehensive general liability insurance of not less than $100,000.00 combined single limit liability coverage.
    2. Categories 3, 5, and 8 applicators must maintain insurance in the amount of $50,000.00 with an annual aggregate claims limit of not less than $100,000.00.
    3. Applicators in all other commercial categories must maintain general liability insurance of not less than $25,000.00.