Pesticide Advice

The WSSA Weed Science Society of America
a non-profit professional society, promotes research, education, and extension outreach activities related to weeds; provides science-based information to the public  and policy  makers; fosters awareness of weeds and their impacts on managed and natural ecosystems.

A recent article released by the WSSA highlights some important considerations for the pesticide buyer. (Note the excellent links at the end of the article. Use them to obtain more information.)

Here is  an example of a frighteningly common mistake: A shopper in a farm supply store recently purchased a pesticide that he was not authorized to buy.  In addition, he was purchasing the product for a use not allowed on the label. Who or what is the culprit in a situation like this? The  answer is IGNORANCE.

“Whether you are buying a pesticide for commercial use on crops, for personal use on your lawn or garden, or for any other purpose, the purchase must be carefully considered,” says Andrew Thostenson, President of the American Association of Pesticide Safety Educators and Pesticide Program Specialist, North Dakota State University Extension Service.

Here are a few important guidelines to keep in mind when buying a pesticide for any use.

1.  Arrive at the store knowing the identity of the pest(s) that you are trying to control.  Your Cooperative Extension Service, other trained professionals or university websites can help.  (Some websites for identifying pests are listed below.)

2.  Make sure the pesticide will work on your pest(s).  Check the label to see if the pest is listed and under what conditions it will be controlled.  For example, an herbicide will not control weeds that are too large, and an insecticide will not solve an insect problem that is caused by poor food storage or ripped window screens.

3.  Make sure the pesticide is registered for the “site” that you want to treat, and that you are willing to follow all directions for use.  The crop, turf, household or other site must be listed on the label, and you must follow all directions concerning rate, timing, placement, weather conditions, etc.    

4.  Before you buy the product, make sure you can comply with all other label instructions as well.  The label will list any required protective clothing, all precautions for protecting the environment, first aid (“statement of practical treatment”) in case of an accident, re-entry intervals after treatment and storage and disposal requirements.  Not following the label may result in criminal charges and fines, as well as personal injury if the required protective clothing (“personal protective equipment” or “PPE”) is not used.

5.  Know when you are buying a pesticide.  Any product making a pest control claim should be registered as a pesticide with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  This includes all products labeled for pest control on your farm, lawn or garden, but many other products as well.  For example, flea collars, “weed and feed” fertilizers and insect baits or repellents that contain an “active ingredient” to control specific pests are pesticides too.

6.  Make sure you are buying a pesticide that has a current EPA registration number on the label.  If you see a counterfeit product for sale, notify your appropriate Pesticide Regulatory Agency.  You can locate this agency online through the American Association of Pesticide Control Officials.

7.  Buy small amounts – preferably what you can use in one year or less.  This reduces the need to store and dispose of pesticides.

8.  When buying a pesticide, be careful about whom you ask for advice.  The best source of information is your Cooperative Extension Service.  Store employees, friends and neighbors may or may not know the correct answers to your questions.  Kentucky, for example, requires certification before a store employee can make a pesticide recommendation.

9.  Understand what a “premix” is, so you can determine if you need it.  A premix contains more than one active ingredient.  This will provide control of more pest species.  It may also reduce the chance of pest resistance developing if the active ingredients have different modes/sites of action on the same pest.  (Some websites for determining modes/sites of action are listed below.

10.  Never purchase a “restricted use” pesticide unless you have been trained and certified to use it for the particular category of use.  Applicators can be certified in various categories, such as agricultural crops, greenhouses, structures, turf and ornamentals and public health.  You do not have to be certified to purchase a “general use” pesticide.

“Being a responsible buyer will ensure that you can meet all the requirements of use before you make the purchase,” says Thostenson.   “It will also ensure that you take home the right product for your particular pest problem.”

About the Weed Science Society of America

The Weed Science Society of America, a nonprofit scientific society, was founded in 1956 to encourage and promote the development of knowledge concerning weeds and their impact on the environment. The Weed Science Society of America promotes research, education and extension outreach activities related to weeds, provides science-based information to the public and policy makers, fosters awareness of weeds and their impact on managed and natural ecosystems, and promotes cooperation among weed science organizations across the nation and around the world.  For more information, visit www.wssa.net.


Some Resources for Determining Modes/Sites of Action

 Some Resources for Pest Identification


Summer Food in Wintry February


16 Popular Foods You Didn’t Know You Could Freeze

1. Garlic – You can freeze whole garlic, garlic cloves or chopped fresh garlic. Frozen garlic does lose some of its texture, but the flavor remains intact.

2. Corn – You can freeze fresh-picked corn on the cob for up to one year. Pack it in freezer bags — husk and silk and all. For store-bought corn, husk and blanch it before freezing.

3. Avocados – The bad news is that frozen avocados lose their consistency. The good news is that they do not lose their taste, so you can use them for guacamole or dressing. Wash and halve them before peeling. Freeze as halves, or puree them with lime or lemon juice and then store for up to eight months.

4. Mushrooms — You can freeze raw button, creminis and portabellas mushrooms for later use. Chop and slice mushrooms and then spread them on a cookie sheet. Freeze. Then transfer the pieces to bags or containers.

5. Onion – You can save chopping time – and tears – by freezing onion for cooking later. Store peeled, chopped onion in plastic freezer bags. The best part is you can just toss them into your recipes without thawing them first.

6. Hummus – Scoop your fresh hummus into plastic containers. Then drizzle a thin layer of olive oil on the top to keep it from drying out. Thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours before mixing and serving.

more such winter gardening from Off the Grid News