Pesticides can be important tools in pest management, but by their nature, pesticides are toxic. Pesticide products can pose risks to humans, animals and the environment. Before choosing a pesticide, it is important to read and understand the directions on the product label. This will minimize your chance of having a problem with the pesticide once you use it.
To reduce risk, choose pesticide products with low toxicity by looking for the "signal word" CAUTION. This is one of the core concepts in Integrated Pest Management. You can also search for pesticide products registered in your state. The databases vary by state, but they often allow you to search for a product by the pest to be controlled, by active ingredient and/or by product name.
Also, your local Cooperative Extension Office may be able to provide a product recommendation to control your pest. Extension agents are often familiar with products and pests in your area. Ask about pesticide resistance.
When selecting pesticides,keep these improtant tips in mind:
Look for your pest on the label. Choose a product that is designed with your pest in mind. The pests that the product targets will be listed on the label.
Decide how much pest activity you can tolerate. It may not be possible to completely eliminate the pest, but you may be able to keep the population down to a comfortable level.
Consider the treatment area. Are there sensitive areas near the treatment area? Does the area slope towards a vulnerable area like a stream, garden, well, or playground? Are valuable plants nearby that could be affected by drift?
Look for the signal word. Products labeled "CAUTION" are low in toxicity, and some of the lowest toxicity products may not have a signal word.
Read about the required safety equipment. Make sure you use protective equipment if required by the label. This could include gloves, goggles, chemical resistant clothing, or other items.
Buy only what you need this season; mix only what you need today. Pesticides may have a limited shelf life, and stored pesticides can be a hazard.
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