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Pesticide Neighbor Notification

You might have just received a notice from a pest control company or lawn care company about an upcoming treatment at a neighbor’s home. But what is this notification, and what does it mean?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a pesticide neighbor notification?

  • Neighbor notifications are cards or fliers from pest control companies that inform you when a treatment is scheduled nearby.
  • Many towns and cities are not required to notify neighbors before a scheduled treatment. If you receive a notice, you can plan ahead to keep pets, children, and others out of treated areas during and after the application.
  • Some states may have neighbor notification laws. Depending on the state, counties or local communities may be required to “opt-in” before the law takes effect. Each state is different.
  • Some states or cities may also offer registries where residents can sign up for notices. Registries may require medical diagnosis by a physician.

I’ve lived here for years, why am I getting the notice now?

  • Receiving a notification now may not indicate the products being used are more toxic than usual.
  • Neighbor notification laws became effective in certain states beginning in early 2001. If this is the first time you’ve received a notice, your city or county may have recently adopted these laws.
  • It's also possible this is the first time one of your neighbors has qualified under the law. For example, your neighbors may not have hired a lawn treatment company before now.

When can I let my children or pets back into the yard?

  • Depending on the pesticide product being used, the pest control or lawn care company may be required to post a sign on the treated property. This sign should let you know how long to stay out of the treated areas.
  • If signs are not required, you may choose to stay off of the lawn during the application or until the area is dry.

How much advance notice am I supposed to be given?

  • Notification laws differ across the country. Depending on where you live, the law may require at least 24-48 hours before the scheduled application. For example, a 48-hour notification is required in New York.

Are all of the products listed on the notice going to be used in my neighbor’s lawn?

  • Not necessarily. Pest control and lawn care companies may have multiple products that they commonly use in a given region. They may list several products on the notification and then pick one or more of those to treat your neighbor’s property.
  • The pest control or lawn care companies may not know which product will be most appropriate for your neighbor’s property until the day of application. But, there are ways to minimize your exposure. If you want to know which product was used, you might consider contacting the company after they treat.
  • If you know what products the company will be using, you can call NPIC at 800-858-7378 to learn more about them.

What if my neighbor is applying products on their own?

  • Depending on the laws in your area, the neighbor may still be required to notify others.
  • You may consider contacting your State Pesticide Regulatory Agency for more information.

You can take steps to keep the risk to your family low. Learn the Risks!

  • Regardless of the pest being targeted, there may be some level of risk to people, pets, or home vegetable gardens. You can limit these risks by limiting exposure to the residues.
  • The risk of a pesticide depends on two things: product toxicity (how poisonous?) and how much exposure occurs. Risks can be minimized by taking steps before, during, and after a pesticide application.
  • The toxicity of pesticide products in the US is denoted by the signal word on the label.
    • CAUTION means the pesticide product is slightly toxic if eaten, absorbed through the skin, inhaled, or it causes slight eye or skin irritation.
    • WARNING means the pesticide product is moderately toxic if eaten, absorbed through the skin, inhaled, or it causes moderate eye or skin irritation.
    • DANGER means the pesticide product is highly toxic by at least one route of exposure. It may be corrosive, causing irreversible damage to the skin or eyes. Alternatively, it may be highly toxic if eaten, absorbed through the skin, or inhaled. If this is the case, the word "POISON" must also be included on the product label.
  • Pesticide drift is the airborne movement of pesticides from the application area to any unintended site. Fences, shrubs, trees, or other physical structures may provide a buffer against drift between your and other properties.
  • Following the label is important to keep the risk low. It’s the law. It is the responsibility of the pesticide applicator to apply products according to label directions to maintain a low risk.
  • Have specific questions about your state's regulatory agency? Want to learn more about the pest control company coming to treat? Contact your State Pesticide Regulatory Agency for further questions.

If you have questions about this, or any pesticide-related topic, please call NPIC at 1-800-858-7378 (8:00am - 12:00pm PST), or email us at npic@ace.orst.edu.

Last updated November 14, 2017

New York Neighbor Notification Law

Neighbor notification laws require pest control companies to inform you when a treatment is scheduled nearby. In New York, counties must "opt-in" and adopt local laws before the requirements take effect. Some New York residents may also need to provide notice prior to pesticide applications outside their homes. At least 48-hour notice is required before treatment.

As of January 1, 2008, the following NY counties have opted in:

  • Albany
  • Erie
  • Monroe
  • Nassau
  • Rockland
  • Suffolk
  • Tompkins
  • Ulster
  • Westchester
  • New York City (one local law covers all five counties that comprise NYC)

In New York, required notices must always include the following language. This statement does not explain the specific risks to people, pets, or the environment.

"This notice is to inform you of a pending lawn care pesticide application to a neighboring property. You may wish to take precautions to minimize pesticide exposure to yourself, family members, pets or family possessions. Further information about the product or products being applied, including any warnings that appear on the labels of such pesticide or pesticides that are pertinent to the protection of humans, animals or the environment, can be obtained by calling the National Pesticide Telecommunications Network [now named the National Pesticide Information Center] at 1-800-858-7378 or the New York State Department of Health Center for Environmental Health information line at 1-800-458-1158.”

If you have questions about this, or any pesticide-related topic, please call NPIC at 1-800-858-7378 (8:00am - 12:00pm PST), or email us at npic@ace.orst.edu.

Additional Resources:

State Pesticide Regulatory Agencies

In each state, one agency works cooperatively with the US EPA to enforce federal pesticide regulations and respond to potential complaints. Click your state below to find their contact information.

On tribal land, pesticide regulations may be enforced by a tribal designee or by the US EPA. On US military installations, the Armed Forces Pest Management Board (AFPMB) serves as a first-stop for people with questions or complaints about pesticides.

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U.S. States:

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U.S. Territories:

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Related Topics:

What are pests?

Learn about a pest

Identify a pest

Control a pest

Integrated Pest Management

What are pesticides?

Herbicides

Disinfectants

Fungicides

Insecticides

Natural and Biological Pesticides

Repellents

Rodenticides

Other types of pesticides

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