Kentucky Proud

Public Pest & Recycling Assistance

The Public Pest and Recycling Assistance Branch is here to help the citizens of Kentucky with environmental concerns by providing pro-active, voluntary programs, with no financial or regulatory cost to the participants.

Mosquito Control Program

Mosquito spraying is one of many public services provided by the division to help agriculture and homeowners meet today's environmental concerns. The Division operates 11 ultra-low volume (ULV) fogging machines, which allow for the treatment of populated areas without undue hazard to local residents and the environment. These ground units are used for control in parks, summer camps, and other outdoor areas where people congregate.

By the use of best management practices (BMPs), this division also develops pesticide environmental strategies and programs that are designed to protect the land and water of the Commonwealth from agriculture pesticide use. The division also designs and implements pro-active environmental programs and collectively works with farmers, homeowners, agribusiness, and governmental agencies.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do we need mosquito control programs?
Without control programs the mosquito Population would flourish and cause potential health and comfort problems. From a health standpoint, mosquitoes are known carriers of encephalitis, malaria, and the yellow fever and dengue viruses. Mosquito-borne diseases cause more than one million deaths each year around the world. Mosquito bites can also infect a pet with the deadly canine heart worm. We also like to enjoy the outdoors. Well planned municipal control programs begin by eliminating mosquito development in the early stage-the larval stage.

How can we control mosquito breeding?
By identifying their breeding sites and preventing the larvae from maturing to adults. Preventing larval development into adult mosquitoes can be accomplished through carefully planned and implemented programs while meeting sound environmental standards.

Why is it necessary to spray for adult mosquitoes in populated areas?
Because a well-planned, integrated program involves stopping mosquitoes in both the larval and adult stages. Mosquitoes can migrate up to 15 miles, which overrides local larval control efforts. This results in the need for adult mosquito control.

Are insecticides being used for controlling mosquitoes dangerous?
No. Industry and government testing procedures are so advanced and so demanding that it is virtually impossible to use a control product which could have an adverse effect upon people, animals or plant life. What's more, the insecticides being used today are not only highly effective, but also degrade rapidly.

Do mosquito control insecticides pose any threat to the environment?
Insecticides are the most rigorously tested of all chemicals. They meet stringent standards before they are registered for use by the Environmental Protection Agency. When properly used by trained professionals, insecticides do their job and biodegrade quickly.

What can I personally do to help control mosquito development?
Look for possible breeding sites in your yard and community. Advise your local officials of potential problems.

  • Dispose of old tires, buckets, and any other containers that might hold water.
  • Don't allow water to accumulate at the base of flower pots or pet dishes for more than a few days. Clean your dog dish regularly.
  • Clean debris from rain gutters and remove any standing water on patios or flat roofs.
  • Check around air conditioner units and repair leaks or puddles that remain for several days.
  • Change water in bird baths and wading pools at least once a week.
  • Remove tall weeds and grass in the yard to eliminate the mosquitoes favorite daytime resting places.

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Nuisance Weed Spraying Program

This program consists of weed spraying demonstration plots.  The department will provide the sprayer and enough chemical for the treatment of 10 acres of agricultural land or 100 gallons of spot spraying mix to be used on agricultural land.  The department’s representative will demonstrate proper mixing and application techniques.  A number of nuisance weeds can be treated under this program depending on the needs of the participant.  This program is limited to broadleaf weeds.


Broadcast Spraying demonstration plots consist of:

  • 10 acres of agricultural land will be treated with chemical provided by the department
  • Application is performed with a two-wheeled trailer type sprayer equipped with boomless nozzles
  • If additional chemical is provided by the participant, an additional 10 acres can be treated

Spot Spraying demonstration plots consist of:

  • 100 gallons of broadleaf chemical mix which is applied until sprayer is empty
  • Application is performed with a two-wheeled trailer type sprayer equipped with a handheld spray wand used by the tractor operator
  • If additional chemical is provided by the participant, an additional 100 gallons can be sprayed

For each demonstration:

  • The participant must provide water source
  • The participant must provide tractor and operator
  • All chemical products must be labeled and the product label will be strictly followed
  • A maximum of 7 participants per county

This program is designed to target weeds that have a negative impact on the participant’s agricultural production. 

There will be an annual online application period to participate in this program. Applications can be completed from February 1 to February 29. Please click here to submit an application.


Black Fly Spraying Program

This program involves (5) Western Kentucky Counties along the Tradewater River. This particular Black fly is a non-human biting species called "CNEPHIA PERCUAM" or the Southern Swamp Water Buffalo Gnat. Problem began in the 1890's and were reduced/eliminated due to river pollution and returned 100 years later due to improving environmental conditions..

This division scouted 54 miles of river and associated creeks, determined treatment sites, handles all chemicals, and did any necessary follow up work to reduce further economic losses in the affected counties.

Bird Control Program

If you're having problems with birds roosting in unwanted areas, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture offers a service to help you.

KDA has propane noise-making cannons that can be made available. These cannons need to be used for at least four to five nights in a row to deter birds from roosting in unwanted areas.

When using these cannons, you must notify local law enforcement and should let your neighbors know as well. This is for both safety and practical reasons.

Agricultural Chemical Collections Program

This program deals only with unwanted agricultural pesticides. It does not include such items as motor oils, cleaners, paint, antifreeze or industrial chemicals.

There is NO COST to farmers to dispose of their old chemicals! Over pack supplies, transporting of unwanted chemicals, and their disposal is paid for by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.


Kentucky Department of Agriculture field representatives will come to your farm to package, load and transport the unwanted chemicals from your farm. Once the unwanted chemicals leave the farm they are then taken to an approved landfill or incinerator for proper disposal, thus reducing or eliminating the potential for pollution to the land and waters of Kentucky.

Due to the States Current Budgetary Restraints; it is possible that you may be put on a waiting list for Chemical Collection Disposal.

Rinse and Return Recycling Program

The Rinse and Return Program is a voluntary, cooperative program sponsored by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and the Agri-Business Association of Kentucky (ABAK). Other partners include the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, which helps coordinate the Program on a county level, Farm Bureau, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service and the local conservation districts, and the Ag Container Recycling Council.

Due to the materials previously held by these pesticide containers they cannot be recycled with your ordinary household plastics.  This program allows for the proper recycling of these pesticide containers.  This reduces the amount of material entering the landfill or being disposed of by other means.  Some of the end products include drainage pipe, highway sign posts, underground utility conduit, and wire/cable spool flanges.


The Rinse and Return Program has collected 1,956,503 pounds of pesticide containers since its inception with more than 100 counties participating. It started out in 1991 with three participating counties and gathered 10,000 pounds of material in the first year. KDA field technicians believe the 2 million pound mark can be achieved this year. Please check out the Rinse and Return Recycling Program schedule for the collection ate and time in your area.


    Pressure Rinsing
  • Remove cover from container. Empty the pesticide into the spray tank and let the container drain for 30 seconds.
  • Continue holding the container upside down over the sprayer tank opening so rinsate will run into the sprayer tank.
  • Insert the pressure-rinse nozzle by puncturing through the bottom of the pesticide container.
  • Rinse for length of time recommended by the manufacturer (generally 30 seconds or more).

    Triple Rinsing
  • Remove cover from container. Empty the pesticide into the spray tank and let the container drain for 30 seconds.
  • Fill the container 10% to 20% full of water or rinse solution.
  • Secure the cover on the container.
  • Swirl the container to rinse all inside surfaces.
  • Remove cover from the container. Add the rinsate from the container to sprayer tank and let drain for 30 seconds or more.
  • Repeat steps 2 through 5 two more times.
  • Puncture container.

Best Management Practices (BMP's)

The protection of the nation's surface water and groundwater resources has become one of the primary environmental issues facing pesticide applicators.

Pesticides can reach surface water by running off the application site following a heavy rainfall and into neighboring streams and rivers or sink holes. Pesticides can also leach through the soil profile into the groundwater. Contamination resulting from either of these sources is classified as "non-point source" contamination. Water contamination can also be the result of a direct or specific source, such as a spills or back siphoning during filling of pesticide application equipment. This type of contamination is referred to as "point source" contamination.

It is the responsibility of all pesticide applicators to ensure that they are using every means available to prevent pesticides from contaminating Kentucky's surface water and groundwater resources. Pesticides applicators can greatly reduce the risk of either point or non-point source contamination from pesticides by utilizing Best Management Practices (BMP's). BMP's are effective, common sense practices that emphasize proper mixing, loading and application of pesticides and also include methods that should be used before, during and after application.

When these recommended Best Management Practices are followed the potential to cause an adverse effect on the environment will be greatly reduced.

Best Management Practices
  • Know The Application Site - Scout the area to evaluate the extent of the pest problem in order to select the appropriate control method. Identify environmentally sensitive areas and learn how the soil types and the layout of each application site affect the movement of water, both through and across soil.
  • Read And Follow Label Directions - Pesticide labels contain important information about applicator and environmental safety, including water quality protection. Always follow label directions.
  • Match Application Rates To The Pest Problem - Every pesticide label specifies application rates. Carefully consider all aspects of the pest problem, such as the pest or pests, level of infestation, location, and environmental considerations (i.e., soil type, organic matter).
  • Do Not Mix And Load Near Water - Pesticides can reach groundwater and surface water as a result of discharges or spills that occur during mixing and loading operations. Mixing and loading should be done as far as possible (at least 50 feet) from wells, lakes, streams, rivers and storm drains. When possible, mix and load the pesticides at the site of application. Applicators should also consider the use of a liquid-tight mixing and loading pad. Be sure all containers being transported are secured.
  • Prevent Back siphoning - When filling any pesticide spray tank from a well or other water source, be sure the end of the hose stays above the spray solution in the tank. Back siphoning can occur when the end of the fill hose or pipe falls below the level of the solution in the tank and there is a drop in water pressure. Use an approved anti-back siphoning device or an air break in the water system.
  • Calibrate Application Equipment Properly - Frequently check and maintain spray nozzles, hoses, gauges and tanks. Proper calibration is the key to applying accurate rates of pesticides. Improper calibration can result in too much or too little product applied, irregular distribution and poor pest control. Inaccurate tank volumes and pressure gauges or worn nozzles also may cause improper application. Inspect application equipment before every use.
  • Delay Pesticide Applications If Heavy Rain Is Forecast - Pesticides are most susceptible to runoff from heavy rains during the first several hours after application.
  • Avoid Over spray and Drift - Check the pesticide label for application precautions or restrictions during windy conditions. Wind speed, temperature and humidity all affect pesticide spray drift. Drift can be reduced by lowering boom heights and using nozzles that produce large droplet sizes.
  • Store Pesticides In A Safe Place - Pesticides need to be stored in a secure place should be stored in their original containers with the labels clearly visible. Pesticides must be stored at least 50 feet from any well unless they are stored in secondary containment.
  • Properly Dispose Of Pesticide Containers - Information about container disposal is on the pesticide label. Containers should be triple or pressured-rinsed thoroughly after use, punctured and disposed of in accordance with label directions or offered for recycling as part of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture's program. Sprayers should be cleaned at the application site whenever possible and at a safe distance from wells, lakes, streams and storm drains. The urinate should be sprayed on a site that is listed on the pesticide label or used as makeup water in the next tank mix. Be sure label rates are not exceeded.
  • Develop An Emergency Response Plan - Anyone who stores, handles or uses pesticides should have an emergency response plan in case an accident occurs

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