Urban IPM SoCal

Integrated Pest Management for Structural Pests in Southern California

Who can do perimeter spraying for hire in California?

By: Siavash Taravati, Ph.D.

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Published: 10 June 2019

This is one of the grey areas of pest control laws in California. Both the Structural Pest Control Board licensees and Qualified Applicator License (QAL) holders are legally allowed to do perimeter spraying for business to control ants and other pests immediately around structures. However, the intent of application is what makes a pesticide treatment by a licensee lawful or unlawful:

  1. Structural Branch 2 license: If the perimeter spraying is done to prevent the entry of ants or other insects into the structure, then a structural license is required. If the pests are coming from the lawn, then the lawn is considered as a “pest reservoir” and can be treated by the Branch 2 licensee.
  2. QAL Cat A: A perimeter treatment for ants or other pest that occur near the structure but not attacking plants would be OK.  
  3. QAL Cat B:  If the application is done in order to control an infestation of garden plants, then a treatment of those plants and a perimeter spraying which incidentally prevents an ant invasion to the structure is permitted.

With pesticide run-off being one of the top priorities of regulatory agencies, it is wise for any pesticide applicator to make sure that they are applying pesticides in the right place, right time, and for the right reason.

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Disclaimer: This document may be outdated. Readers should get the most updated regulatory information from federal, state, county, and city resources. Remember, laws change all the time!


  • PUE Program Standards Compendium Volume 1: General Administration of the Pesticide Use Enforcement Program – Section 10: Quick Reference Charts