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List of Pests of Significant Public Health Importance

Federal pesticide law requires EPA, in coordination with the United States Department of Health and Human Services and the United States Department of Agriculture, to identify pests of significant public health importance. This list is derived in large part from review of the pesticide/pest combinations for which efficacy (product performance) data are generally required to be submitted and reviewed before registration. In no way should this be interpreted to mean that EPA has or would base any regulatory action solely on this list. EPA is publishing this list separate from any statutory or regulatory conclusions which may be associated with public health pesticides.

Following is a brief description of some of the identified pests or category of pests and an explanation for designating each as a public health pest:

  • Cockroaches. The listed cockroaches are controlled to halt the spread of asthma, allergy, and food contamination.
  • Body, head, and crab lice. These lice are surveyed for and controlled to prevent the spread of skin irritation and rashes, and to prevent the occurrence of louse-borne diseases such as epidemic typhus, trench fever, and epidemic relapsing fever in the United States.
  • Mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are controlled to prevent the spread of mosquitoes bearing such diseases as malaria; Zika; St. Louis, Eastern, Western, West Nile and LaCrosse encephalitis; yellow fever and dengue fever.
  • Ticks: The various tick species transmit diseases such as Lyme disease, tick-borne relapsing fever, ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
  • Bed bugs: Controlled because their bites can cause allergic reactions.
  • Various rats and mice. The listed rats and mice include those which are controlled to prevent the spread of rodent-borne diseases and contamination of food for human consumption.
  • Various microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, and protozoans. The listed  microorganisms are the subject of control programs by public health agencies and hospitals for the purpose of preventing the spread of numerous diseases.
  • Reptiles and birds. The listed organisms are controlled to prevent the spread of disease and the prevention of direct injury.
  • Various mammals. The listed organisms have the potential for direct human injury and can act as disease reservoirs (i.e., rabies, etc.).

EPA, the Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture do not envision that this list of pests of significant public health importance will remain static. It is possible in the future, as there are new discoveries concerning the roles of species in spreading disease, that this list may need to be changed. Should any additional species be found to present public health problems, EPA may determine that it should consider them to be pests of significant public health importance under FIFRA Section 28 (d). As deemed necessary, the Agency will update the list of pests of significant public health importance.

More information about the list of pests of significant public health importance.