EPA Extends Comment Period on Dicamba Proposal
Steve Tomasko, UW PAT Program.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to grant new uses of the herbicide dicamba on genetically-modified dicamba-tolerant crops, such as cotton and soybeans. The proposed new uses will be added to the currently registered herbicide product M1691 by Monsanto. In response to requests, the EPA extended the comment period an additional 30 days. Public comments on the proposal must be submitted no later than May 31, 2016.

The genetically-engineered cotton and soybean plants are the first developed to be resistant to dicamba. The intention is to give growers another tool to control weeds that have developed resistance to glyphosate and other herbicides. Dicamba is a selective herbicide in the benzoic acid family of chemicals used on many broadleaf weeds and woody plants. The active ingredient is currently registered for uses in agriculture, residential areas and other sites. Proposed new uses of dicamba include the addition of post-emergence applications on cotton and soybeans.

Since this proposal is meant to help growers who are battling glyphosate-resistant weeds, the EPA is trying to prevent the same issue happening with dicamba. The EPA’s proposal includes a “Herbicide Resistance Management Plan.” This plan includes:

In addition, the EPA is proposing a time-limited registration that would expire in five years. At the end of that 5-year period the EPA says it will work to address any unexpected weed resistance issues that result from the proposed uses before it grants an extension of those uses.

If you’d like to comment on the proposal, follow the link below to the EPA docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2016-0187 at www.regulations.gov.

After the comment period closes, EPA will review all of the comments and reach a final decision, which it expects to issue in late summer or early fall of this year. Information for this article came from the EPA.

Government Regulations

Audio (MP3)


Draft Risk Assessments for Five Pesticides, Including Aldicarb and Coumaphos, Available for Public Comment
From EPA Press Release

The EPA is releasing draft risk assessments on five pesticides for public comment. The five pesticides include two noteworthy pesticides: aldicarb and coumaphos, as well as Bensulide, Ethalfluralin, and Pirimiphos-Methyl. The registration process re-evaluates all pesticides on a 15-year cycle. The draft human health and ecological risk assessments for these five active ingredients will be available for 60 days for public comment.

Aldicarb is an insecticide with no residential uses. The draft risk assessment shows risks through the diet as well as to agricultural workers who mix and apply pesticides. There are also risks to birds, mammals, aquatic organisms and bees. Aldicarb is systemic and can be available to bees in plants via pollen and nectar. Bee incidents have been reported. EPA plans to gather additional data on the toxicity of aldicarb to pollinators to fully characterize the risk to all developmental stages of honeybees. Aldicarb controls a broad spectrum of pests like thrips and nematodes and is valuable to growers.

Coumaphos is an organophosphate with no residential uses. The draft risk assessment for coumaphos shows risks through the diet and to agricultural workers. The EPA plans to refine its estimates with additional information related to the use of coumaphos to treat cattle for ticks. The EPA encourages stakeholders and interested members of the public to visit the dockets containing the draft risk assessments and related documents and submit comments. Proposed decisions will include any necessary mitigation measures to reduce exposure. The draft risk assessment and other supporting documents are available in the docket at www.regulations.gov in each respective docket:

Government Regulations

Audio (MP3)


The Name Game in the Weed World
Glenn Nice, PAT Program

A question came up here at the PAT program, that was what is “creeping Charlie?” This is a great question if you are working in the world of weed control and brings up an interesting thing I like to call “The Name Game.”

When talking about weeds or for that matter any living thing, it is always good to have a frame of reference. “Oh, the other day I saw this wonderful “blagglesnort.” What is a “blagglesnort?” It sounds like something that could be out of a Douglas Adams book, in fact it may be. As ridiculous as that sounds there is a bugleweed. Often when common names are used, this frame of reference can be lost.

“You say butterweed, I say cressleaf groundsel.” Weeds seem riddled with common names and these common names can be regional. This can lead to confusion when talking about these things. One famous common name game is with the name horseweed. OK, here is where it might get a little confusing. What the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) calls horseweed and the USDA calls Canadian horseweed, (blame Canada) in some regions people like to call marestail. Now, what WSSA calls giant ragweed and the USDA calls great ragweed in the same areas people like to call horseweed. See where this can get confusing?

We have a situation where there are two different plants called horseweed, both of them common and problematic. So when a person asks, “I have horseweed in my field, what do I do to control it?” a conversation has to occur about which one it is. The control can be different depending on the plant. In a county meeting once I gave a presentation about horseweed and until I used a picture everyone in the audience thought I was talking about the other horseweed. Awkward.

A single plant can have many common names. Velvetleaf, a common weed in the Midwest is also called Indian mallow, butterprint, and buttonweed, to name a few. I have heard scouring rush called monkey grass, snake grass, straw grass, ditch bamboo and several others. In some cases, just simply "a pain in the butt." These common names can also be misleading. Scouring rush is not even a grass, but when I hear monkey grass I am automatically visualizing a grass, it is not even close to being a grass. Although the problematic plant tall waterhemp is in the press and on many peoples tongues these days, the USDA calls this pesky plant roughfruit amaranth. We all seem to have our own names for things.

Often a word can be used as a common name for completely unrelated organisms. For example, the word foxtail is used in over 20 common names. Many farmers in the mid-west know giant foxtail. There are also the separate plants, but closely related yellow foxtail and green foxtail. These three foxtails are all related in the same genus, but foxtail clubmoss has nothing to do with the three previous grasses. It has nothing to do with snobbery, they are just not related, except for being members of the plant Kingdom.

The game becomes larger indeed when we start talking about living things across languages or cultures. The grass Johnson grass is a non-native grass that can infest roadsides, crops, and waste areas south of Wisconsin. It is listed as one of the world’s worst weeds in the book The World’s Worst Weeds [1]. In the U.S. we call it Johnson grass, but it is also known in the U.S. as Arabian millet, Egyptian millet, and others. In Mexico it is called zacate Johnson, in the Philippines it is called batad-bataran (I wonder if this translates into ‘hated barbarian’?), in India barool, and in Cuba, Don Carlos. I think I might call it Don Johnson from now on in honor of my previous boss Bill Johnson, I kind of like the sound of that and it reminds me of Miami and boat shoes. “You can use glyphosate to control your ‘Don Johnson.’ Just how do people talk about these plants, especially when they are discussing them across borders? So what can be done about this?

So enters Latin and a gentleman by the name of Carolus Linnaeus. For those of you that had to crunch Latin in high school or have taken a first year biology class, you know where this is going. At one time all science was reported in Latin (yuck!). It was not hip unless it was in Latin: “Esse bonum esse in Latin” (thank you Google translator). Mr. Linnaeus started categorizing the living things that he cataloged and devised a naming system that used levels of relation. At the base level we have genus and species. There are several levels above this, but let’s not get into that now. Similar to our names, we have a first and last name, except we might equate this to last and first name. Think of George Washington as “Washington, George”. The Washington tells you who he is related to and George is just a name his mother liked. The genus name puts a plant with its brothers and sisters. Setaria faberi (giant foxtail), Setaria pumila (yellow foxtail, previously known as Setaria glauca, “grrrrr”) and Setaria viridis (green foxtail) all have the same genus name making them closely related. Whereas ‘Carolina foxtail’ is Alopecurus carolinianus and in the same family, but not living in the same house, it might be thought of as a cousin. “Those Alopecurus are a strange lot, they didn’t like the home town and moved to Arkansas some time ago. The Setaria only see them at the Poaceae family reunion every couple of years."

The use of Latin names, also known as binomial names or scientific names, are not just there to drive the college undergraduate crazy, they are there to set a frame of reference. However, what they didn’t quite tell me when I was memorizing all those difficult Latin names was that they change also. For some reason I thought that the Latin names were forever set: wrong.

Taxonomy is “the branch of science concerned with classification, especially of organisms; systematics.”[2]. Taxonomists are the people who study this area of science. They are very nice people, spending their time in herbaria, collecting specimens, and hanging out at coffee shops discussing names and classifications. Most recently many of them can be found hovering around PCR’s wondering where the bands are. They are the genealogists of biology. Life would be very boring for taxonomists if everything were set in stone. “Everything has been named and classified, it is all done you can all go home now.” So they are always looking at evidence and learning new things about the plants to say, “why, this was not really related to this, it is more related to that, so I propose. . .” and the fisticuffs start at the coffee shop between two prominent taxonomists. Nothing more disturbing than seeing two taxonomists in a coffee shop brawl, one using the sleeper hold on the other over the name of that newt.

As a result of this continued study, the classification and Latin names of things change. In a weed identification course I once taught, a very engaging young student said, “Excuse me, you are wrong, horseweed is Erigeron canadensis, not Conyza Canadensis.” She was completely correct. I had to respond, “You are right, horseweed was called Erigeron canadensis, but now it is typically called Conyza canadensis.” She felt this very unfair and continued to say, “Well, I am going to put Erigeron Canadensis on the test and it will be right.” I responded with, “Call it Equus ferus-weedicus or call it Phil if you wish, but the answer for this coarse is Conyza canadensis, please. Sorry, but life can often be very unfair.”

The good news is that when you spend all that brainpower to memorize a Latin name and it is changed the taxonomist to direct your anger at will be identified. Erigeron canadensis has the letter ‘L.’ behind it. This means that Linnaeus himself called it that. The new name Conyza Canadensis (L) Cronq. lets me know that Linnaeus first classified this plant, but the botanist named Arthur Cronquist changed the name. I also learned Erigeron Canadensis L. when I was younger, but had to relearn (a task getting harder with every year of life) Conyza Canadensis (L) Cronq. So Arthur Cronquist, shame on you for making my day harder, but thank you for taking full responsibility for it. The weed cressleaf groundsel used to be called Senecio glabella Poir., but now C. Jeffrey changed it to Packera glabella (Poir.) C. Jeffrey. Oh what a tangled web taxonomists and botanists weave.

Which name is right? If you find yourself in a heated debate about the name of that little yellow flower and things are getting ugly shift responsibility to somebody else. “No, it is butterweed.” “No, you’re wrong it is cressleaf groundsel.” End up with, “The Weed Science Society of America has it listed as cressleaf groundsel,” or “The USDA has it listed as butterweed,” and just go for a pint instead, no need to fight, you are both right.

1. The World’s Worst Weeds. L.G. Holm, D.L. Plucknett, J.V. Pancho and J.P. Herberger. 1991. Krieger Publishing Company. Malabar Florida.
2. Oxford Dictionaries. Taxonomy. [http://oxforddictionaries.com/] Accessed April 25, 2016.

Audio (MP3)


Potato Growers May be Allowed to Use Linex Herbicide on Sandy Soils
Steve Tomasko, PAT Program

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) will soon decide whether to allow some use of Linex 4L herbicide on potatoes through a special pesticide registration.

The special registration would allow growers to battle weeds such as common ragweed and eastern black nightshade, which have become a problem in the state’s potato fields. Both can reduce potato yields through competition and in addition, the nightshade produces poisonous berries.

The special registration process allows states to register additional uses of products without prior federal approval. This process helps growers address local pest problems (insect outbreaks, fungal diseases, etc.) that cannot be adequately controlled by any available federally registered product. For more information about the special registration process, go to the link below.

Linex is currently registered for use on potatoes in the state, but not in sandy soils. The herbicide contains the active ingredient linuron, which is known to leach through soil into groundwater. However, there will be restrictions placed on the special registration to help protect groundwater.

If approved for use on sandy soils, restrictions would include the following instructions:

The preliminary environmental assessment indicates that the proposed registration will not require a full environmental assessment. DATCP held a public comment period on the proposal. That comment period ended April 25. A DATCP official said they will make a decision soon afterwards. If approved, the special registration would be good for 4 years, expiring on Dec. 31, 2021.

For more information, contact Otto Oemig, DATCP Pesticide Registration Program Specialist at: otto.oemig@wisconsin.gov

Application for a Pesticide Special Local Need Registration (FIFRA Section 24c) in Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection

Audio (MP3)


EPA Provides List of Pesticides to Fight Varroa Mites in Honey Bee Hives
Steve Tomasko, PAT Program

Like any livestock farmers, beekeepers have to make sure their stock are healthy. And there are a lot of different pests that can play havoc with bees and their hives. One of those is the Varroa mite. Even its Latin name, Varroa destructor, tells you this is a pest that can cause a lot of problems.

Varroa mites are parasites that feed on developing bees—and can only live on bees. They weaken bees by sucking hemolymph (insect blood). While feeding, they can also pass along viruses that further weaken the bee colony. A sizable mite infestation will likely lead to the death of a honey bee colony. The Varroa mite is the parasite with the largest economic impact on the beekeeping industry and may be a contributing factor to colony collapse disorder. In order to help, EPA has been expediting the approval of pesticides that target Varroa mites and publishing information about the products. The EPA says this is one way of honoring their commitment to the National Pollinator Health Strategy (https://www.epa.gov/pollinator-protection/federal-pollinator-health-task-force-epas-role).

The pesticide products listed in the table are registered by EPA at the federal level for use against Varroa mites. Remember that it is important to rotate pesticides used to combat Varroa mites to help prevent the mites from developing resistance to these chemicals. Note that not all of the products in the table may be registered for use in Wisconsin. Check with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection for registration status. You can also look up products on Wisconsin’s pesticide registry at: http://www.kellysolutions.com/wi/

Also note that the products listed in the table are there for reference and are not an endorsement by the EPA, or the PAT program.

Photo: An adult Varroa Mite feeding on a developing bee in the hive. Photo courtesy of Pest and Diseases Image, Bugwood.org.

Table 1. Products labeled for the control of Verroa mite.

Audio (MP3)


The Changing Faces of Pesticide Labels
Glenn Nice, PAT Program

“The label is the law.” Always read and follow label instructions when using pesticides. OK, with that said, labels are always changing. A product that was available last year may have a new label the next or sometimes even that year. To sell a pesticide in the U.S., a manufacture must write a label that presents all known risks, safety measures to reduce those risks and, of course, instruct ions on how to use it. All labels have to be registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This registration process uses data from toxicology, residue, environmental and other studies to estimate the level of risk. The label has to be written based on this body of knowledge and the risks involved, providing instructions and warnings to reduce some of that risk. Labels change as that body of knowledge increases and new concerns are posed.

Because this body of knowledge changes and in most cases gets more complicated, so do pesticide labels. Never assume that because you bought that product and read the label last year that when you buy it next year the label is the same. It is always wise to read the label every time you buy the product because the label may have changed.

An example of this is if you bought a product some time ago and it did not require eye protection. However, new research information has been released and supported that indicates that eye exposure can cause long-term damage. In science, one study is lonely. It takes others to repeat or investigate the finding, which then lends support of that finding to make it fact. Once this is done, then the EPA will review the available information and require that the label change to reflect this. The manufacture will then change the label to add the requirement for eye protection to continue registration of that label and product.

Labels are becoming more detailed. Some companies have moved to design labels that give very specific requirements. For example, you may start to see labels that provide specific nozzle types, environmental conditions and dates when use can occur. This will appear on the label not as recommendations, "It is recommended that you use drift reducing nozzles," but mandatory "You must use air intake drift reduction nozzles of this type." This is a mandatory statement and not following this statement can be breaking label.

The fairly new agricultural herbicide from Dow Agrosciences™, Enlist Duo™ provides a chart for maximum pressures that can be used with very specific nozzles from several companies (Figure 1.). Using pressures higher than the maximum pressures, would be considered an off label applications and be enforceable. Furthermore, when using this product, 30-ft buffer zones will be required between application and any sensitive area (Figure 2).

Figure 1. Maximum pressure chart from Enlist Duo™ label.

Figure 2. Buffer zone figure from Enlist Duo&8482; label.

Both these additions to the label have been put in place to reduce risks of drift and will be enforceable. The Enlist herbicide is a premix of the active ingredients glyphosate and 2,4-D. It is being marketed to be used on Enlist™ corn and soybeans.

Things never seem to get easier, such is the way of everything. However, if using a new product or an old favorite, please be aware that the requirements might have changed since the last time you bought the product. It is always best to reread the labels of the products you buy and it doesn’t hurt to review the labels of the products you already have just to make sure you have not forgot something.

Audio (MP3)


Signs, Signs, Everywhere there's Signs
Glenn Nice, PAT Program

Remember the song, “Signs, signs, everywhere there's signs. . .” well, in the world of the commercial pesticide application signs are very important. They keep communication going to people that are not directly connected to the applicator or the land owner. Applicators who apply pesticides in landscapes should be very familiar with the Turf & Landscape sign (Figure 1). The following article will review the use of signs and some of the rules regarding these signs. Let’s start with one of the most familiar.

The Landscape Sign.

Figure 1. The Turf & Landscape sign.

The landscape sign has to be at least 4 by 7 inches in size and have red print on a white background. The landscape sign is to be posted before the application and remain at least till sunset of the day following application. However, if using these signs on school grounds, they have to remain for 72 hours following the application. Please keep in mind that it is the applicator who is responsible for posting this sign. This sign is to be posted so that they are clearly visible from each point of entry, roads, sidewalks, driveways, doorways, alleys or adjacent yards.

The Permanent Sign

In the case of applications to golf courses and cemeteries, a permanent sign can be posted alerting people of pesticide use. This is an alternative to the posting the landscape sign. It has to be at least 12 by 12 inches, with red letters not less than half an inch high on a white background. Golf course superintendents or cemetery grounds managers are responsible for post this sign. The permanent sign must say:


At golf courses, this sign must be near the place where golfers register to play the coarse and at or near the first tee of every nine holes and at every point on the course boundary at which the non-golfing public is permitted to enter. In Cemeteries, post signs at each established entrance to the cemetery. This sign is permanently displayed.

School Sign

The school grounds sign is a specific sign for applications to public schools K-12 (Figure 2). This sign is used to alert students and the public of any pesticide applications in school buildings or on school grounds. It is the responsibility of the school board to assure this sign is posted. It is to be posted at time of application and remain for 72 hours after application.

Figure 2. The school sign.

ATCP 29 Sign

The ATCP 29 sign is an unusual sign that has to be posted when the label requires posting (Figure 3). Another instance that this sign needs to be posted is if the product has a Restricted Entry Interval (REI) and there is a sensitive area within 300 feet of the application site. “Sensitive area” is defined as residence, migrant labor camps, schools, playgrounds, day care facilities, health care facilities, commercial or industrial facilities, public recreation areas and other areas. Roads are exempt from the definition of sensitive area.

This sign has to be at least 8.5 by 11 inches. It is the join responsibility of the customer, applicator, and applicator’s employer to post this sign. Post this sign at each normal point of access to the treated site. If a boarder exists between the application site and the “sensitive area” this sign must be posted at ¼-mile intervals along the affected borders between the application site and the sensitive area.

Figure 3. The ATCP 29 sign.

If there is no REI, for example doing an non-agricultural application and the “Non-Agricultural Requirements” simply say, “Keep out until dry,” then you are off the hook, you do not have to post this sign.

The WPS Sign

This sign is a specific sign for applications that fall under the Worker Protection Standard (Figure 4). Applications to farms, greenhouses, nurseries and production forests that employ people outside of the immediate family may have to post these signs. They are designed to alert workers and handlers of REI periods to keep them out of treated fields.

Figure 4. The WPS sign.

This sign has to be posted when the pesticide being used has an REI of 48 hours or more or when the pesticide being used is a dual notice pesticide. Meaning that the label requires both oral notification and posting. Indoor applications, for example greenhouses have to post this sign if the REI is 4 hours or less.

The WPS sign has to be posted at the entrances to the treated site. Post the sign within 24 hours before applying and leave until the REI has expires, but no more than 3 days after the REI expires.

Other Notable Signs

A couple other notable signs, but not as common as the ones above are the Chemigation Sign. A sign that has to be posted at all entrances to chemigated sites and at ¼-mile intervals along borders of roads and sensitive areas. Post this sign before treating and until chemigation stops.

If applying to water, as part of the permitting process, the DNR requires the use of the NR 107 sign (Figure 5). This sign has to be placed alerting of specific restrictions to water use due to a pesticide application to water.

Figure 5 the NR 107 sign.

Being aware of which signs are need and when is part of being a pesticide applicator. These signs are important tools to warn customers and the public of potential risks. People often enjoy sitting in the grass. If an application has been made this might put a person at risk if they are unaware that something has been put down on that inviting patch of grass.

Audio (MP3)


Pesticide Applicator Certification and Licensing in Wisconsin
Glenn Nice, PAT Program.

Prices and rules mentioned in this article may change. They are accurate at time of posting this article.

One of the most common questions we get at the PAT Program is, “I was told I need to get certified and licensed, how do I do that.” This is a great question, because it is not always intuitive to comply with the rules. So below I have compiled step-by-step instructions that may help you.

Step 1. “Do you have to go through this process?”

In the USA you have to be certified if you wish to buy or use a Restricted-Use Pesticide (RUP). You know if you are using an RUP by reading the label. If the product you are using is a RUP, the first thing you see on the label will be a box that says “Restricted-Use Pesticide” and will give you a reason why (Figure 1). If the label of the product you are using does not have this, then you are using what is commonly called a “general use” pesticide. See the link below for a list of RUPs.

Label element showing the Restricted Use Pesticide.

In the state of Wisconsin, you must be certified and licensed if you are applying pesticide on a third party’s property for money. This is called applying “for-hire.” Examples of this is working for the lawn care service, the applicator who works for a coop applying on other people’s fields for money, or the applicator treating your house for bed bugs. Also in Wisconsin, if you apply pesticides to public K-12 schools or school grounds you must be certified.

If you do not fit the above descriptions, then you are essentially off the hook. Meaning, if you are applying general use pesticides on your own property or the property of your employer you do not have to be certified. Examples of this are; the home owner applying weed and feed on their property, the hotel maintenance personnel applying something to control cockroaches, a farmer applying general use pesticides to their own land or land they rent.

Finally, even though you may not legally need to be certified and licensed, your employer may want you to get certified and/or licensed. Occasionally an applicator will call and say, “Do I need to be certified? My boss said that I had to be, but I don’t think I do.” That is a good question. You may not legally need to be certified but if the company you work for or your boss wants you to be certified, I guess you better get certified. People who apply pesticides at the University of Wisconsin are often expected to get certified whether the law requires it or not. It is just a policy of the institution itself.

Step 2. “Are you a Private Applicator or Commercial Applicator?”

A Private Applicator is a) an applicator who applies pesticide to produce an agricultural commodity; b) on land they own or rent or their employer owns or rents.

If both of those above are “yes” then you are a private applicator and you can work with your county extension office to get certified. Private applicators do not need licenses to apply on their own property or the property of their employers.

If one of the above is a “no” then you are a Commercial Applicator. In the eyes of Wisconsin law, if you are not a Private Applicator, then you are a Commercial Applicator. Even a home owner is in this group, but as we stated above they are “not-for hire” so they do not need to get certified if they are not using an RUP.

Step 3. “What category do I need to be certified in?”

Deciding what category you need to be certified in as a commercial applicator for-hire is the next step. There are quite a few categories to choose from. The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has decided on categories that group applicators based on where they are applying pesticides. These include but are not limited to; Turf & Landscape (Category 3.0); Field & Vegetable (Category 1.1); Right-of-Way and Natural Areas (Category 6.0); Forestry (Category 2.0); and Structural (Category 7.1) to name a few. There are two categories that are based on the pest you are trying to control. These are Termites (Category 7.3) and Aquatic & Mosquito (Category 5.0). There is even a category for if you are applying pesticides on the family pet for flea and tick treatments.

There are three sub-categories that can partner up with a base category. These are Aerial Application (subcategory 111/9.9), Chemigation (subcategory 109/26) and Soil Fumigation (subcategory 107/25).

Some applicators can be working in “gray areas” or may be making applications across categories. For example, an applicator working for a lawn care service who has been asked to apply a mosquito control product. That applicator would require two categories, both the Turf & Landscape and the Aquatic & Mosquito certifications to be able to make both types of applications.

The link below will take you to a list of Wisconsin’s Commercial Pesticide applicator categories.

Step 4. Getting certified

In Wisconsin, certification last for five years. After which, if you have to get recertified, it is the same process as getting certified for the first time.

Now that you know what category you are in, it is time to get certified. The first part of this is to pay the training fee, which includes the training materials. The PAT Program offers a training manual for each category. A $47 training fee includes a printed hard copy of the training manual. Some categories have a $42 training fee that includes a pdf of the manual. The PAT Program also has an online course available in Turf & Landscape and is developing more with a training a training fee of $60. In the months of January to April the PAT Program also offers live review sessions around the state or other training aids.

Each category has a training fee associated with it. So if you require more than one category you are charged a training fee for each category.

Training fees and other training materials may be purchased at the PAT Store. Please see link below.

When fees are paid, a Training Registration Form will arrive (pdf manuals and online courses) in the mail or be attached in the printed manual. This Training Registration Form will have the applicator’s name on it and an identifying registration number. Please be aware that this Training Registration Form has to be presented to DATCP at time of testing. Purchasing the base fee does not register you for a live review session. Review sessions are an elective that you need to register for separately. Training records have to be kept by the PAT Program, meaning that each registration is assigned to an individual applicator.

If you are ordering for other people, please be aware that ordering multiples of the same category in your name will not be accepted. The training records and the Training Registration Form require the applicator’s name being certified. We ask for birthdates also (this helps us separate two or three “John Smiths” for example). It is beneficial to purchase the training fee in enough time to receive your Training Registration Form and training materials before the test. Scheduling a test before receiving the Training Registration Form and training materials is risky. Any hiccup in the process (incorrect addresses, snail mail, or misplaced deliveries) can delay the process.

OK, got my training materials and studied up on the information. I am ready to take the test. In Wisconsin, certification and recertification require passing the certification exam. This is a pass/fail test, meaning you have to get 70% to pass and there is no difference between a 72% and a 100%, excluding bragging rights. Depending on the category, tests are usually around 70 multiple choice questions.

The PAT Program is responsible for providing the training materials, but it is DATCP that writes the exams, proctors the tests and grants certification. DATCP has testing centers around the state where they provide testing at certain times. See the link below to find a testing center near you and schedule a test.

If you need to change or cancel a testing time please contact DATCP at the number provided on the test scheduling web site below.

Your certification card will be sent to you in the mail with all your categories and expiration date. If you test at the Dane County location you will get your results there. But you are not done yet.

Step 5. Licensing

Well, you passed the test and got 97%, well done! Unfortunately, you are not finished. Like a driver’s license, you have passed the test, now you have to get the license. To apply for a Commercial Applicator License please follow the link below. Licenses are presently $51.20 and have to be renewed each year. Licenses expire on December 31st each year.

A lot of times people get confused between certification and licensing. Certification has to be done before licensing. Certification is good for five years at time of writing this article, but licensing has to be renewed annually. To get certified you will have to pay UW-Extension, but the licensing fee goes to DATCP.

Each business has to have a business license and each applicator in your business has to have an individual applicator license. The business license currently costs $100.40. So, even if you are a sole proprietor, you will need a license for the business as well as an individual applicator license. Also each additional mixing and loading site where more than 1,500 lb. active ingredient being mixed and loaded over a calendar year has to have its own business license. See the web site below for more information.

All done

Your business and all your applicators are certified and licensed. You have finished the process. If you have any questions please feel free to contact the PAT Program or DATCP.

List of RUPs

Certification Categories

PAT Store

DATCP: On-line Pesticide Scheduling

DATCP: Applicator License

DATCP: Business License

Audio (MP3)


Zika: An Issue in Wisconsin?
PJ Liesch, Extension Entomologist
UW-Madison Insect Diagnostic Lab.

With mosquito season nearly upon us and all the headlines about Zika Virus in the news, a big question at the moment is: will Zika be an issue for us in Wisconsin? Based on what’s known about the Zika Virus and the mosquitos that transmit it, it’s unlikely that Zika will be a major issue for us in the state. If we look at the bigger picture, a much bigger concern should be deer ticks and Lyme Disease, which affects thousands of Wisconsinites each year.

The Zika situation is an interesting one. The Zika virus itself was first discovered in Africa in the 1940’s and has been found in parts of the eastern hemisphere for decades. It wasn’t until very recently that it popped up the western hemisphere. Because the Zika Virus is linked to a number of serious health issues, such as microcephaly in newborns, it certainly can pose significant health risks---hence the headlines and the concern.

However, the virus is only half of the story---the other half being the mosquito species (vectors) capable of transmitting the virus to humans. Two mosquito species are associated with Zika virus and other viral diseases such as Chikungunya and Dengue: the Yellow Fever Mosquito (Aedes aegypti) and the Asian Tiger Mosquito (Aedes albopictus). The good news for us in Wisconsin is that neither of these mosquito species is native to our area, and these species have never been found in the state. With that said, there may end up being some Zika cases in Wisconsin associated with travel to areas where Zika is widespread, but the absence of the two mosquito vectors responsible for transmission will greatly reduce the chance for cases occurring within the state.

While the Yellow Fever Mosquito and the Asian Tiger Mosquito don’t occur here, there still is reason to be vigilant about mosquitoes. With as many as 60 or more different mosquito species in the state, there are a number of other mosquito-borne diseases that do occur in our area. Our best example would be West Nile Virus transmitted by the northern house mosquito (Culex pipiens). While West Nile cases can vary dramatically from year-to-year, we’ve historically had issues with West Nile in our area, and human deaths have occurred in the past.

When it comes to mosquitoes in general, there are several approaches to keeping yourself and your family members safe. Around the yard, one of the most important things is to reduce or eliminate standing water to help eliminate mosquito breeding sites. Toys left out in a sandbox, old tires, clogged gutters, birdbaths with stagnant water and anything else that collects and holds water could be a potential breeding site for mosquitoes. Using EPA approved repellents, such as DEET, Picaridin, or others when working or relaxing outdoors will offer protection from bites. Lastly, wearing long sleeves, avoiding outdoor activities during prime mosquito feeding times (dawn/dusk), or simply staying indoors can also protect you from mosquitoes.

Insect Diagnostics Lab

Audio (MP3)


Current Newsletter
Past Newsletters
To get notifications of the newsletter send an email to "join-patprogram@lists.wisc.edu". If you recieve notifications and don't want to send a blank email to "leave-patprogram@lists.wisc.edu"