media release

Colorado Department of Agriculture



May 15, 2012

Contact:    Christi Lightcap, (303) 239-4190,


Licensed Applicators Help Protect Colorado Trees and the Environment


LAKEWOOD, Colo.The devastating effects of Colorado’s pine beetle epidemic are widely known, leaving landowners searching for companies who can help protect their trees.  Officials at the Colorado Department of Agriculture recommend only hiring licensed pesticide applicators.


The Colorado Pesticide Applicators Act requires any person or company that applies pesticides for hire, whether they are applying to a structure, tree or agricultural area, to be licensed as a “commercial applicator.”


“For better environmental and public safety, commercial applicators must have the necessary training, expertise and experience to apply chemicals,” said Mitch Yergert, CDA’s Director of Plant Industry.  “Every licensed commercial applicator in Colorado has to meet strict testing requirements that are enforced by the department.” 


There are many factors that must be taken into consideration during a pesticide application to protect the environment and the public.  Prior to any application, an applicator should identify areas and items that must be protected from pesticide drift.  These would include bodies of water, drainage areas, endangered species habitat, children’s toys, lawn furniture and the closing of windows when spraying around homes.  In addition, a licensed pesticide applicator must know how to apply the pesticide at the correct rate and in a manner that is effective in controlling the pest.


A person or company that performs applications for hire without holding the appropriate license is subject to a minimum fine of $1,000 per violation.  In addition to licensing commercial pesticide applicators, CDA officials conduct routine office inspections to review records of applications, equipment maintenance and storage and disposal of pesticides.


The Department also investigates commercial application complaints, and officials will be present in pine beetle affected areas this spring and summer to conduct field inspections as applicators are working on site.


Contact the Colorado Department of Agriculture Pesticide Section at (303) 239-4146 or online at with additional questions, to determine if a company you intend to hire is licensed, or to file a pesticide misapplication complaint.