Tips and Resources for National Pesticide Safety Education Month

Published on February 9, 2024 by Nate Bortz

2.8.23 Blog – National Pesticide Safety Education Month

February marks the beginning of the seventh annual National Pesticide Safety Education Month. Since 2017, various non-profits and government agencies have participated in this annual awareness campaign. In this article, we’ll highlight the purpose of this campaign and provide you with helpful safety resources. 

About the National Pesticide Safety Education Month

The Pesticide Environmental Stewardship organization partnered with NC State University’s Center for Integrated Pest Management to create this safety awareness month. Its purpose is to reinforce principles of safe pesticide use and support land-grant university Pesticide Safety Education Programs (PSEPs).

Source: Pesticide Enviornmental Stewardship

Any group interested in using pesticides safely can participate. The current list of partners includes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA), the American Phytopathological Society (APS), and the Entomological Society of America (ESA). 

Why February? According to Ohio State University PSEP coordinator Mimi Rose, choosing a winter month “reinforces education before many pesticide users are getting ready to apply pesticides in the spring.” 

The Need for Pesticide Safety Training

Over 1 million certified pesticide applicators are working in the United States. today. According to a 2017 study, the nation uses 1 billion pounds of pesticides every year. When used properly, pesticides are considered safe by the EPA. They safeguard our homes, prevent disease, and protect our forests

However, improper application can cause unintended exposure and create negative effects. Overuse, spills, spray drift, and improper disposal are a few ways that pesticides can unintentionally harm people, animals, and the environment.  

With such a tremendous amount of annual pesticide use, safety training and education is a vital step to reducing pesticide incidents. 

Safety Basics

Proper pesticide use is situational. But here are some steps that apply to most situations. 

  • The most common pesticide safety tip is to read the label. Our courses often remind students that “The label is the law!” All applicators are legally required to read and follow pesticide labels. For a professional applicator, this step is not optional. 
  • Follow all applicable laws and regulations concerning the use of pesticides and personal protective equipment. This step can include getting licensed to apply pesticides professionally. 
  • Measure and mix pesticides in well-ventilated areas away from children, pets, toys, and food. 
  • Calibrate and maintain application equipment so the amount of pesticide applied will be accurate, uniform, and legal. 
  • Properly dispose of any excess spray mixture, empty containers, and contaminated cleanup material and clothing. 

Advanced Safety Training

The general tips above apply to everyone, from homeowners with an ant problem to large-scale agricultural pest managers. However, professional pesticide applicators usually require more thorough education and training. 

One of the purposes of National Pesticide Safety Education Month is to promote PSEPs. These programs teach applicators how to safely use restricted-use pesticides in agricultural, commercial, and residential settings. Most states have at least one PSEP available. 

In 2016, we partnered with faculty and graduate students from the Mississippi State University Extension (MSUE) to develop our pesticide education curriculum. Thanks to this partnership, we’ve helped make PSEP material accessible nationwide through online courses. 

Our course offerings include state-approved continuing education (CE) for existing applicators. If you’d like to finish your CE online and ditch the classroom, select your state under the Recertification tab at the top of this page to get started. 

Interested in getting your pesticide applicator license? Find all our exam prep courses under the Initial Certification tab. We use video lessons to make sure you’re ready to pass your state’s exam and get licensed.

Additional Safety Resources

We believe everyone should learn how to use pesticides safely and responsibly. In addition to the courses we’ve already mentioned, here are a few additional resources to help support that goal.  

We hope that during National Pesticide Safety Education Month, you’ll explore new safety training opportunities before the upcoming application season.


Entomological Society of America. (2021, February 1). February’s National Pesticide Safety Education Month Highlights Nationwide Efforts to Promote Safe Pesticide Use. Retrieved from 

Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Water Science Center. (2017, March 23). Pesticides. Retrieved from 

Pesticide Environmental Stewardship. (n.d.). February 2024 National Pesticide Safety Education Month. Retrieved from 

Pesticide Environmental Stewardship. (n.d.). National Pesticide Safety Education Month. Retrieved from 

Pesticide Environmental Stewardship. (n.d.). Some Basic Pesticide Safety Principles. Retrieved from 

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2021, February 4). EPA Celebrates National Pesticide Safety Education Month. Retrieved from 

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2023, December 21). Why We Use Pesticides. Retrieved from 

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2023, July 27). Common Causes of Pesticide Incidents. Retrieved from