FAQ for Pesticides

Commonly asked questions about pesticides

WHAT IS A PESTICIDE?

A pesticide is a chemical intended to kill or repel a pest such as unwanted insects, weeds, rats, germs, and fungus. While we think of them as highly- toxic substances used in agriculture, there are many pesticides used everyday in our households. Many of the chlorine bleaches and pine-oil products used in our laundry and bathrooms are pesticides. All pesticide products should be handled with care.

HOW DO I USE PESTICIDES SAFELY?

FOLLOW LABEL DIRECTIONS. They were written to protect you and the environment. Furthermore, they are the law!!! Failure to follow these directions may lead to civil penalties of up to $5,000.00 per offense or criminal penalties of up to $25,000.00 or 1 year in prison or both. The site or crop must appear on the pesticide label before you can use it there. You must follow all other instructions including mixing, dosage, precautions and safety equipment.

WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT OLD AND UNUSED PESTICIDES? WHERE CAN I GO TO DISPOSE OF MY PESTICIDE WASTES?

Unused pesticides present a potentially dangerous problem. The best solution is to avoid it by purchasing pesticides only in small amounts. If you have unused materials, follow the direction on the label or the guidelines below:

HOW SHOULD I STORE PESTICIDES?

  • Proper pesticide storage can prevent unfortunate accidents.
  • Keep them away from children in a secure area.
  • Keep the pesticide in the original container with all labels attached.
  • DO NOT STORE PESTICIDES IN ANY FOOD CONTAINER, AS ACCIDENTAL INGESTION MAY RESULT.
  • Keep storage area clean, well-lit and well-ventilated.
  • Follow pesticide label directions.

DO I NEED TO BE CERTIFIED TO USE PESTICIDES?

You need to be certified only if you use Restricted-Use Pesticides, those that have a greater chance of impacting the environment or human health. A dealer will not sell you a Restricted-Use Pesticide unless you are certified. To find out if a pesticide is restricted, contact the Hawaii Department of Agriculture’s Pesticides Branch.

There are two types of certified applicators: Private Applicators and Commercial Applicators. Private Applicators are those who are involved in agricultural production (farming) on land operated by themselves or their employer. Commercial Applicators make up the rest. There are 11 categories of Commercial Applicators ranging from Agricultural Plant Pest Control, Ornamental and Turf Pest Control, Termite Pest Control, and Demonstration and Research Pest Control. For your appropriate category, contact the HDOA’s Pesticides Branch.

To become certified, you must pass a written examination(s). Certifications are good for five years.  To arrange for testing, contact the HDOA’s Pesticides Branch. For study material for the examination and for information on preparatory classes, contact the University of Hawaii, Cooperative Extension Service at (808) 956-6007.  Click on the following link for information on study packets and preparatory courses:  http://pestworld.stjohn.hawaii.edu/epp/pat.html

WHAT DO I DO IF I SMELL A STRONG PESTICIDE ODOR?

In urgent situations involving ill-effects and/or evacuation from the area, call 911 immediately and report incident to the Fire and Police Departments.  Then contact the Pesticide Branch office in your district to file a complaint.

In non-urgent situations, contact the Pesticide Branch office in your district and be prepared to file a complaint if necessary. Pesticide Branch Contacts

HOW DO I FILE A PESTICIDE RELATED COMPLAINT?

To file a complaint, contact the Pesticide Branch office in your district.  Pesticide Branch Contacts.  You’ll be asked for your name, address, phone number, and to provide a description of the events that occurred along with dates, times and locations.  An inspector will schedule to meet with you to collect your statement.

NOTE:  For neighbor vs. neighbor complaints, parties involved should try and resolve the problem themselves first.  This will help to avoid any misunderstandings and possible ill-feelings that commonly arise as a result of a formal complaint being filed.

For ongoing disputes, the Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution may be of some help.

(http://www.courts.state.hi.us/services/alternative_dispute/alternative_dispute_resolution.html)

DO FIFRA 25(b) “EXEMPT” PESTICIDES REQUIRE LICENSING/REGISTRATION IN HAWAII?

No.  The Pesticides Branch does not require licensing for pesticides that are exempt under FIFRA Section 25(b). (Includes “minimum risk pesticides” as defined under 40 CFR 152.25.)

DO FERTILIZERS REQUIRE LICENSING/REGISTRATION IN HAWAII?

The Pesticides Branch does not require licensing for fertilizers that contain no pesticides.  However, the Department’s Plant Quarantine Branch regulates the importation of fertilizers that contain microorganisms and the Measurement Standards Branch regulates packaging and labeling requirements.  For further information, contact the Plant Quarantine Branch at (808) 832-0566, and the Measurement Standards Branch at (808) 832-0676.

WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO START A PEST CONTROL BUSINESS IN HAWAII?

Visit the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA), Professional and Vocational Licensing (PVL) website at: http://hawaii.gov/dcca/pvl/ and click on the “Pest Control” link under “Boards”.  Then view Frequently Asked Questions.

For pesticide applicator certification related questions, go to Pesticide Applicator Certification / Recertification at http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/pi/pest/pesticide-applicator-certificationrecertification-2 or contact the Education Specialist in your district.  Pesticide Branch Contacts

WHAT’S KILLINGS MY PLANTS?  WHERE CAN I GO TO GET A PEST IDENTIFIED?  WHAT CAN I USE TO CONTROL TERMITES, ANTS, COQUI FROGS, ETC.?  WHERE CAN I GO TO HAVE MY SOIL ANALYZED?

The University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. Cooperative Extension Services, has a wide range of links to information on Home and Garden, Commercial Agriculture, Invasive Species and Pest Control, etc. that will help answer most of your questions.  http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/Site/ExtPrograms.aspx

(Once there, click on the “Ask an Expert” quick link for the master gardeners and extension specialists in your area.)

Hawaii Department of Agriculture, Plant Pest Control staff can provide information on certain pest problems.  Plant Pest Control contacts.

HOW DO I CONTACT THE PESTICIDES BRANCH?

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture’s Pesticides Branch can be reached at:

Oahu     (808) 973-9401
Hawaii   (808) 974-4142
Maui      (808) 873-3557
Kauai    (808) 241-7134

See Pesticide Branch Contacts for more contact information.