What You Need to Know About the Chlorpyrifos Ban in California

What is chlorpyrifos?

Chlorpyrifos is an active ingredient in insecticides used primarily to treat agricultural food and feed crops. Chlorpyrifos is a “broad-spectrum, chlorinated organophosphate insecticide, acaricide and nematicide.”[1]  It was first registered for use in the United States in 1965. Chlorpyrifos was designated as a restricted material by the DPR in 2015 and has now been banned from use in California.[2]

Why has California banned chlorpyrifos?

Studies have shown connections between chlorpyrifos and developmental harm to infants which future studies show persisted into childhood. Other studies have shown contradictory results; however, the methodologies and conclusions were called into question. Three studies published in 2017 & 2018 have since shown that chlorpyrifos does in fact cause “decreased learning, hyperactivity and anxiety in rat pups.”[3] Upon careful consideration of the new studies, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation decided that the risks could not be mitigated, and moved to ban the product entirely.

Are there alternatives to chlorpyrifos?

CA DPR has established a workgroup to “develop short and long term action plans to identify and develop safer, more sustainable alternatives to chlorpyrifos. The work group will leverage the work of experts from across the globe to identify and develop pest management tools.”[4] Work is underway, and results can be expected in the spring of 2020.

When does the ban go into effect?

Registrations for products with chlorpyrifos as the active ingredient were made inactive on January 1, 2020. Distribution by California dealers ceased on February 6, 2020. However, possession and use does not have to cease until December 31, 2020.[5]

What are the conditions for use of chlorpyrifos through December 31, 2020?

Application limitations of chlorpyrifos include “a ban on aerial spraying, quarter-mile buffer zones and limiting use to crop-pest combinations that lack alternatives.”[6] The full description of interim permit conditions can be found here: https://www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/chlorpyrifos/pdf/general_notice_append_o.pdf

What products are affected by this rule change?

The full list of affected products can be found in this CA DPR notice: https://www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/chlorpyrifos/pdf/general_notice_append_o.pdf

If I still have affected products by December 31, 2020, what should I do with them?

“Do not throw unused pesticides in the trash. Check with your local solid waste management authority, environmental health department or county agricultural commissioner to find out whether your community has a household hazardous waste collection program.”[7]

Sources and Further Reading:

[1] http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/archive/chlorptech.html
[2] https://calepa.ca.gov/2019/10/09/press-release-agreement-reached-to-end-sale-of-chlorpyrifos-in-ca-by-feb-2020/
[3] https://theconversation.com/why-california-is-banning-chlorpyrifos-a-widely-used-pesticide-5-questions-answered-130115
[4] https://www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/chlorpyrifos/faq.htm
[5] https://www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/chlorpyrifos/pdf/general_notice_append_o.pdf
[6] https://calepa.ca.gov/2019/10/09/press-release-agreement-reached-to-end-sale-of-chlorpyrifos-in-ca-by-feb-2020/
[7] https://www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/dept/factshts/storage.pdf


Arizona Structural Applicators: License Renewal FAQs

Structural pesticide applicators in Arizona are required to renew their certification either annually or bi-annually by May 31st.  Here we will answer some frequently asked questions about Arizona applicator licensing, to help you make sure you are ready for your upcoming renewal!

Do I need continuing education to maintain my Arizona pesticide applicator's license?


  • Certified applicators must complete 6-hours of CE per year.
  • Qualifying applicators must complete 12-hours of CE per year.

When is my Arizona pesticide applicator continuing education due?

Licensees must renew every year or two years by May 31st.

Who submits my Arizona pesticide applicator continuing education to the state?

Certified Training Institute submits Arizona courses on a weekly basis. All courses completed before 5/31 will be submitted on 5/31. Courses completed after 5/31 will be submitted on the next business day.

Are your courses state-approved?

Yes! All of our courses are approved by the Arizona Department of Agriculture, Office of Pest Management.

What happens if I'm late renewing my Arizona pesticide applicator license?

You will be charged an additional renewal fee.
Applicators - $37.50
Certified Qualified Applicators - $50.00


Pennsylvania Private Pesticide Applicator Renewal: 3/31

Private pesticide applicators in Pennsylvania are required to renew their certification every three years by March 31st.  Here we will answer some frequently asked questions about Pennsylvania private applicator licensing, to help you make sure you are ready for your upcoming renewal!

How long is my private applicator license valid?

Private applicators must renew their licenses every 3 years.

What continuing education is required to renew a Pennsylvania pesticide applicator license?

Private Applicators must complete 6 category specific credits from categories 1-9 and 22. In addition, for private applicators with fumigation certification, two of the six category credits must be specific to fumigation.

Who submits my continuing education to the state?

We do! Our in-house submission specialist will submit your course certificates upon completion of your course.

How do I renew my Pennsylvania pesticide applicator license?

You can renew applicator and business licenses online at PaPlants. Log in to your account with your username and password. Licenses up for renewal will be listed on the front page and they will be in your shopping cart as well.

Are your Pennsylvania pesticide applicator continuing education courses state-approved?

Yes, our Pennsylvania Pesticide Applicator Continuing Education courses are all approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture: individual course approval numbers can be found in the course titles.

How do I contact the state of Pennsylvania with further questions?

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture
2301 North Cameron Street
Harrisburg, PA 17110
Phone: (717) 772-5231
Email: pesticides@pa.gov


Cage Trap vs. Live Traps

Sometimes vertebrates make themselves at home where we really wish they wouldn’t! Over the month of January, we’ll be looking at options for managing the vertebrate wildlife that makes itself at home where it’s not welcome.

Cage Traps vs. Live Traps: What’s the difference?

The first step to managing your new vertebrate guest is to choose the right equipment. When the average homeowner says “live trap” they’re usually referring to a cage trap. As professionals, we know that a cage trap is a live trap, but not all live traps are cage traps. We asked our expert Stephen Vantassel to fill us in on the different types of live traps, the various styles of cage traps, and what to look for when purchasing your equipment.

The following video is a snippet from our Cage Trapping Techniques Course. Find this and other video continuing education courses at www.certifiedtraininginstitute.com/pesticide


Why Cover the Trap?

Our wildlife expert Stephen Vantassel recommends covering at least half of that trap during setting. What? Why would I want to cover my trap? Won’t that make it harder for the animal to find it? Perhaps, but the benefits far outweigh the loss of a little bait scent in the air. In addition to providing cover for that animal to hide, you’ve also hidden that animal from the family dog, the nosey neighbor, and predators that may decide that animal you trapped looks like a tasty snack. Take a look at this short clip from our Cage Trapping Techniques course to see why Stephen always covers his traps.


Professional Cage Traps vs. Retail Cage Traps: Is it worth the difference in price?

Last week we looked at the difference between live traps and cage traps. This week we’ll be looking at how retail cage traps differ from professional cage traps. As you might suspect, there are multiple differences right down to the spacing between the wires of the cage. We’ve asked our wildlife trapping expert Stephen Vantassel with the Montana Department of Agriculture to describe the differences between retail cage traps and professional cage traps, and how to compensate when all you might have available is a retail cage trap.

The following video is a snippet from our Cage Trapping Techniques Course. Find this and other video continuing education courses at www.certifiedtraininginstitute.com/pesticide


You Set a Trap for a Squirrel and You Trapped a Skunk, Now What?

Imagine this: you’ve set a trap to catch what you think might be a squirrel, groundhog, or rabbit, but when you check it the next day you’ve caught a skunk! What do you do now? At this point, you’re glad you’ve covered at least half of your trap with an old blanket or something similar. Not only do you have a blind side to approach the cage trap, it also provides that skunk someplace to hide. We asked our wildlife trapping expert Stephen Vantassel if he’s ever had this happen to him. Check out the video clip from our Cage Trapping Techniques course for tips on keeping that trapped skunk calm, because let’s face it, nobody wants to be sprayed!


Tips and Tricks to Pass Your Category Exam

If you are like me, deciding to get your pesticide applicator certification or add a category is a big deal. You’ve spent time looking for the best exam prep to prepare you for your exams. You’ve circled the date on the calendar and the pre-test jitters are setting in. You have questions like “how much should I study? and "what should I study?” Every state's exam may be slightly different but the test taking skills you will need are universal. Here are some of the best exam taking tips to help you pass your exam.

Obviously the most important factor in passing the exam is knowing the material. However, don't lose sight of the goal: passing the test! Learning is great but you can't use what you've learned if you don't pass.

  1. Start by only answering the easy questions. Read the entire exam and only answer the questions you absolutely know the answer to. This will give you a sense of progress and your subconscious will begin thinking about the questions you skipped. When you’ve got a timed test, there’s always the concern that you’ll get hung up in a section and not be able to finish the test. Don’t be one of those people--unanswered questions are marked wrong. Wouldn’t it be a shame if the last three questions on the test were easy ones— guaranteed points for you--but you wound up just having to fill in a random answer on them because you didn’t have time to actually read and think about them? By skipping through the questions you don’t know the answers to and focusing first on the questions you do know the answers to, you’re assuring yourself that you get time to answer the questions you are most likely to get right.
  2.  If you don't know it, wait. Skip questions if you don't know the answer--don't waste time on questions you don't know. For example, if math is difficult for you, skip the math problems until after you finish the rest of the exam. Occasionally, the answer to an earlier question will be revealed in a later question. It is not uncommon on the exam to have questions that relate to one another, like using the same equipment or pest scenario. These hidden answers are another reason why reading all the way through the exam once at the beginning is a great idea.
  3. Don't second guess yourself. As a general rule, once you've answered a test question, don't change your answer even if you're unsure of the answer you selected. It has been statistically proven that you are much more likely to change an answer from a correct answer to an incorrect answer. An easy way to get tripped up on the pesticide certification exam is to misinterpret an answer choice, thanks to complicated wording. Deceptive language is fair game on tests like this, so are double-negatives, unrelated conclusions, or red herrings (especially in the math portion of the test). Do your best to puzzle it out, but ultimately move on without answering if you estimate having to spend more than a minute thinking about the correct answer.
  4. There is no penalty for an educated guess. Once you have gone through the exam at least twice, time may be running short and now would be a good time to start making educated guesses. The worst that can happen when you guess on a question is that you don’t get any points. The best thing that can happen though, is that you have a one in four shot at getting a point. Unanswered questions are marked wrong, and it is far better to take a chance on a wrong answer than eliminate any possibility of getting the correct answer. That being said, don’t guess blindly. There is likely at least one answer that is obviously wrong. Read the question and answers first and choose the most likely answer.
  5. Don't compete with other applicants. You're given plenty of time to complete the. Don't worry if other people finish before you do, it could be they are taking a completely different exam. All types of exams are given in one room. You may be sitting next to someone getting a completely different category from you. Remember that many students who finish quickly… fail.

There is no extra credit for a perfect score. If you’re like me, the allure of a perfect score on a test is hard to ignore, but in the case of this exam, we must remember, your goal is to answer the number of questions correctly that will get you a passing score. Use all your best energy to get to the passing threshold—anything beyond that doesn’t matter.

Bonus Tip: do as many practice exam questions as you can. The test is multiple choice and you will perform MUCH better if you've been doing practice tests that mimic the exam. Use a trusted service like ours to prepare for the actual exam.


Inspecting Homes for Pests

pest inspection/WDO inspection involves a full inspection of a home for any evidence of termite activity and/or evidence of dry rot damage, or moisture conditions that could lead to an atmosphere for wood destroying organisms or termites. It’s called a WDO because termites are not the only wood destroying organisms in the world. This means that a pest inspector would inspect the exterior of a home including all the trim, home siding, under roof eaves, ect. Additionally, the inspector will point out conducive conditions that could lead to a new termite infestation, or support an existing termite infestation. This includes firewood and other debris stored against the home, wood siding contact with the soil, and grade that does not slope away from the foundation. Pest Inspectors do a full inspection of the interior as well, specifically checking for water leaks in the bathrooms, kitchen and laundry areas, windows, and inspecting the attic where applicable.

Termites cause more than $5 billion in property damage each year and are known as “silent destroyers” because of their ability to chew through wood, flooring and even wallpaper undetected. Home Buyers and Sellers are always surprised to find out that a pest inspection is helping make sure the structure is intact and will remain intact. The new home market is a big industry that applicators can tap into by adding general/structural categories to their current licenses. For those that currently have this category and need CE we here at Certified Training Institute offer a variety of courses to choose from.

Certified Training Institute offers state-approved continuing education courses that are available online from any internet enabled device - which means your classes are available when you are. Have a few minutes between client meetings? Why not watch a segment or two of a video course! Is the weather not cooperating with your planned applications? Take the day and knock out a couple hours of your required continuing education!

Choose your state below to view the available courses or call our office to speak with a licensing expert for help getting started!


Aquatic Weed Control

Water features (manmade or natural) can add beauty and depth to any landscape. However, water features and ponds come with their own set of weeds. As with all weeds, the first step to management is identification. Mis-identification can result in a lot of wasted time and money. We asked our aquatic weed specialist, Gray Turnage, to talk a little bit about the importance of weed identification.



Check out the rest of Gray’s class!    

You'll find this and more at Certified Training Institute's Pesticide Division. Click the button below, choose your state and get started today!

Pesticide Professional Continuing Education

Online state-approved video continuing education courses are available 24/7.