Mote: Always take precautions with pesticides

May 28, 2014 

When teh number of pests reaches damaging levels, using pesticides is sometimes the best way to control them. Pesticides include such products as insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, bactericides and rodenticides. By their nature, pesticides are hazardous and demand cautious handling. When they are used properly, however, pesticides improve the quality of our food supply, protect our health and increase our comfort with little risk to the environment and non-targeted living things. The most important consideration for the safe, effective use of pesticides is to follow all label directions and safety precautions.

Pesticides are not the only option to limit pests. Many times, pest problems can be solved without chemical control. The first thing is to determine whether a pest problem truly exists. There are many insects, animals, plants and microorganisms on your property that are harmless, some even beneficial. If you do suspect a pest, identification is the key to control. Without proper identification, the wrong pesticide may be used. If the wrong pesticide is used, there will either be no control of the pest or more damage. Your county extension agent can help you do this.

Once you determine which pesticide needs to be used, read the label before you apply. The pesticide label provides you with information you need to safely, effectively and legally use the product. Always follow the instructions exactly. The instructions are intended to ensure your safety and provide you with the best results.

Once you have fully read the label, there are other things that you should do before you begin applying the pesticide. Wear protective clothing. This includes, but is not limited to, gloves, long-sleeved shirt and long pants. Be sure to wear items specified by the label. Never consume food and drink, smoke or use the restroom while handling pesticides. Mix and/or dilute pesticides in a well-ventilated area and only mix up the amount that you are going to use. Remove pets, children and toys from the area where the pesticide is being applied. Do not allow re-entry into the area until it is safe to do so. Always apply pesticides in a well-ventilated area. To avoid killing honey bees while spraying during bloom, spray late in the evening. Always wash your hands and wash your clothing separately after handling pesticides. Store pesticides in their original containers in a separate, cool, dry and well-ventilated area. Do not keep pesticides for more than two years, because the products might break down after this time period. Have spill and first aid kits just in case of an accident. Last but not least, always dispose of pesticides according to the label.

Source: and Teddie Berry, Houston Horticulture Program Assistant

For more information on any program area, contact Houston County Extension at 478-987-2028 or drop by our office in the old courthouse, downtown Perry, 801 Main St. Office hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Visit our website at for more news about your local Extension office.

• Check out my blog at

• Houston County 4-H is offering many day camps and field trips this summer. Contact the extension office for more details.

Dates to remember

May 29: Cotton Scout School, Pulaski, Contact 783-1171

June 7: A Tour of Gardens 9 a.m.-noon, Contact Centerville United Methodist Church 953-3090

June 7: Kiko Goat Skill-a-thon, Open to children of all ages

June 6: Cotton Scout School, Tifton

June 11-14: 4-H State Horse Show

June 15-19: 4-H State Horse School

Charlotte Mote is the Houston County agricultural and natural resources agent. Contact her at 478-987-2028 or

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