Tag: applicator

Study Guide for the Illinois Pesticide Exam

A few landscaping cohorts requested my study notes from when I took the Illinois Pesticide License test. These notes specifically address pesticide formulas and mixtures, something I thought the study guides lacked in. Although I did buy the study guides (available in the links below), I always look for additional (FREE) information online. I feel there was a shortage of good information that wasn’t just repeating what the guide said. The notes I made below are to be used like flash cards. You will need to know the information ahead of time, these notes just reinforce the already learned information.

Remember!! Even if you’re organic, you’re required to be pesticide licensed in your respective state.

The University of Illinois Pesticide Safety Education Program is the site to visit for all of the information required to get licensed.

Click here for the Illinois State Study courses from the Illinois Extension – Courses

Click here for a printable .pdf version of the notes below – Pesticide Test Notes



SP = SOLUBLE POWDERS – Agitate to form a solution. Not many available as many don’t dissolve in H2O.

WP = WETABLE POWDERS – Contains wetting/dispersion agents + strong agitation form a suspension. Abrasive to pumps. Anti-foam adjuvants may help.

DF & WDG = DRY FLOWABLES & WATER-DISPERSIBLE GRANUALS – Formulated into a granule instead of a powder. Forms a suspension requiring strong agitation. Abrasive to pumps.

G = GRANULES – Applied directly. Most often used for soil treatment. H2O may need to be applied for activation.

P or PS = PELLETS – Usually larger than granules & more uniform in shape. Rat/insect baits.

D = DUSTS – Low % of active ingredient. Carrier of talc/clay/chalk. Apply directly. Watch for drift.


E & EC = EMULSIFIABLE CONCENTRATES – Active ingredient in oil & w/mild agitation forms an emulsion mixture. Not abrasive to pumps, but may harm rubber or paint. Hazardous as drift & dermaly as it’s easily absorbed. Anti-foam adjuvants may help.

M & ME = MICRO-ENCAPSULATED – Active ingredient in plastic coated capsule suspended in liquid. Time-released & long residual activity. Constant agitation. Careful around beehives.

F & FL & L = FLOWABLES OR LIQUIDS – (Pre-suspended WP’s) Less inhalation hazard. Forms a suspension requiring moderate agitation. Abrasive to pumps.

S = SOLUTIONS – A true solution. No agitation, residue or abrasion.


A = AEROSOLS – Low % of active ingredients & ready to use. Under pressure.

B = POISON BAITS – Active ingredient mixed w/food or H2O. Usually in a bait box, for safety.

FUMIGANTS – Produce gas from a liquid. Need special license.

ADJUVANTS = A chemical that modifies or enhances a pesticide’s properties. NOT regulated, be careful.

DRIFT REDUCTION ADDITIVES = Increases droplet size to reduce drift.

STICKERS = Increases adherence of chemical increasing persistence.

SURFACTANT = “Surface-active agents” reduces the surface tension in H2O. Use on waxy or hairy leaves.

PENETRANTS = Oil (petroleum or veggie) that aids penetration of foliage.

BUFFERING AGENTS = Balances pH of carrier to keep pesticides active.

COMPATIBILITY AGENTS = Allows effective mixing of 2 or more pesticides or w/fertilizer.

ANTI-FOAMING AGENTS = Reduces foam in EC or WP formulas.



CHEMICAL INCOMPATIBILITY = An unnoticeable reaction of mixed pesticides, noticed when things go bad.

ANTAGONISM = Decreased activity. Never desirable.

SYNERGISM = Increased activity. Can be used to your advantage.

PHYSICAL INCOMPATIBILITY = Caused by improper mixing, inadequate agitations, lack of stable emulsifiers, or hard H2O.


Label should have mixing order, but if not:

CARRIER – Fill tank ¼ to ½ full.
DRIFT REDUCTION ADDITIVE – READ LABEL – May need to be added early or late in mix.
SPRAY MODIFIERS – PENETRANTS & SURFACTANTS – Pre-slurry if using dry ingredients.
CARRIER – Fill tank to desired level.

**Agitate mixture throughout mixing process & application.


EPP = EARLY PRE-PLANT – Applied several weeks B/4 a crop is planted.

PPI = PRE-PLANT INCORPORATION – Applied prior to planting, worked into soil.

PrE = PRE-EMERGENCE – Applied during or soon after planting, but B/4 weeds emerge.

PoE = POST-EMERGENCE – Applied to foliage.

© The Naturarian