Read and follow all label instructions. All products have brochures or instruction pamphlets enclosed or attached to their container.
Read the warning label. The warning label contains specific information about the product. Some obvious information may include the following.
Its toxicity level.
“CAUTION” means that it is mildly toxic. Lethal dose is an ounce or more.
“WARNING” means that it is moderately toxic. Lethal dose is between a teaspoon and tablespoon,
“DANGER” means that it is highly toxic. Lethal dose is trace amounts.
Avoid fumes, use in well-ventilated area. Liquid products may produce poisonous fumes when the container is opened, or while the product is being mixed and applied.
Avoid contact with skin. Many chemical products may be absorbed through skin. Avoid sparks or open flame. Products are often suspensions in petroleum distillate solvents, which can be highly flammable.
Use only appropriate containers for measuring, mixing, and applying any products.
Never use food preparation utensils for this purpose. Even if you only intend to use a measuring cup for your product, it could accidentally be picked up and taken into the kitchen later.
Mix your product in the application equipment if possible, to avoid handling it during use. Commonly, compressed air or pump up garden sprayers are used for this purpose. In agriculture, tractor mounted, PTO driven equipment is used to apply products on crops and farm land.
Mix only the amount of the product you intend to use. This can be accomplished by reading the information on the label under “application rate”, generally in terms of gallons per acre, or ‘gallons per 1000 square foot”. Measure the area you intend to treat, and calculate the amount of material required to treat it. Storing left over mixed products is generally not a good idea, but if you must, label the container according to contents and date mixed, and keep it tightly closed.
Wash all equipment after each use. Use copious amounts of water, and do not allow run off from washing to go into waterways. Keep the washing operation away from wells or other drinking water supplies.
Use appropriate safety equipment. This is usually listed on the warning and usage label for each specific product, and the following are some common items.
Safety glasses. These keep chemicals or dust from getting in the applicator’s eyes.
Rubber gloves. Rubber, neoprene, or other chemical resistant gloves protect your hands from chemicals which may be absorbed through your skin.
Long sleeved shirts and long pants. Another barrier protection for your skin. When the application process is complete, remove clothing and rinse it thoroughly before laundering.
Rubber boots. Because leather or cloth boots can absorb and accumulate chemicals, it is often suggested that the person applying products wear rubber boots.
Never smoke, drink, or eat while applying using any products..
Keep people and animals out of areas treated with insecticides and other chemicals for the period recommended on the product label. If you are using a liquid spray, no one should reenter the area until the product is completely dry.
Be extremely careful applying products in buildings or homes. Use only products specifically labelled for this purpose, and remove any loose items such as clothing, books, and toys prior to applying.
Do not use products after any expiration dates on the package. Chemicals undergo changes over a period of time, and products may become unstable, more toxic, or ineffective after the expiration date listed on the package.
Use products only at the intervals recommended by the manufacturer. If insects return before the reapplication date, you will need to find a different control method. Most products recommend treating (or retreating) a crop or area at specific intervals, often coinciding in the development rate of insects from egg or larval stage to adult. Overuse can create chemical resistance in the target insect and toxic levels of chemical buildup in the soil, plants, and environment the product is used on.
Apply products in the early morning or late evening to avoid excessive drift (wind is normally lower during these time periods), and to prevent exposing beneficial insects like bees and ladybugs to the effects of them.
Be aware that certain products are systemically active, meaning the chemical is absorbed by the plant tissues and distributed throughout the plant. For use on edible crops, carefully follow the label instructions in regard to the period prior to harvest that products may be applied, since simply washing the product will not remove the poison.
Alternate suitable products to obtain the best results in pest control. This will ultimately give better control of insects and decrease the frequency of application.
Always look for the most environmentally sound, and least toxic pest control method. This contributes to safety by decreasing the use of poisons altogether. Planting certain flowers like marigolds, and herbs like garlic will naturally decrease the insect populations in your crop. Bacillus thuringiensis or “BT”, is a bacterium compound which attacks certain insects when topically applied to plants, while being harmless to humans and animals.