Department of Pesticide Regulation Director Brian R. Leahy announced that tomorrow new restrictions will take effect to limit where structural pest control businesses can apply pesticides in an effort to protect water quality in urban areas.

“These are the first regulations of their kind in California to protect water quality from structural pest control applications for ants, spiders and other pests around homes, other buildings and landscaped areas,” Leahy said.

“They significantly limit the amount of pesticides applied outdoors, especially to concrete and other hard surfaces more susceptible to runoff,” he continued. “The regulations also prohibit outdoor pest control applicators and maintenance gardeners from spraying when it rains or to standing water due to rainfall or watering.  Applications over drains and natural drainage areas are also prohibited.”

The rules restrict the use of 17 pyrethroid insecticides applied by businesses and do not affect pesticide use by individual consumers. Pest control businesses and maintenance gardeners apply more than 70 percent of the pyrethroids targeted by the regulations.

“We expect to see a significant reduction in pesticide contamination in runoff from homes and other urban structures, driveways and landscaped areas,” Leahy said. “Many businesses are already following these practices on a voluntary basis.”

The regulations were prompted by continued detections of pyrethroids in urban waterways at levels toxic to some small aquatic organisms. Ongoing monitoring by DPR and other agencies will track the effectiveness of the new restrictions.

Although pesticide use is closely associated with agriculture, more than half of the pesticide products regulated by DPR are for commercial, industrial and home use. DPR encourages more environmentally friendly pest prevention and control strategies through grant funding and recognition.

The new regulations are posted at: http://www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/legbills/rulepkgs/11-004/text_final.pdf.