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Information About Pesticides

A pesticide can be referred to by : 1) a common name (active ingredient) or 2) a trade or brand name.  In most of the tables in this guide, trade names are used as they are more easily recognized and are what you will look for when buying pesticide materials.

Labeled Formulations: The recommendations within this publication list only one formulation. Growers should be aware of other formulations. The rates to be applied are on the label. Note: There may be several products registered with the same active ingredient. Each label is different, and some crops may be listed on some labels but not on others. It is the responsibility of the user to read the label and be sure that the material selected is labeled for the proposed use.  Ask your supplier for clarification if you are not sure if the formulation or product is exactly what you are looking for.

Labels are for your protection and information: Look for the percentage (by weight) or amount of material in the formulation. Compare costs of two similar products on the basis of effectiveness, the amount of actual pesticide contained and the quantity of the formulations needed/acre.  Follow all safety precautions. Some pesticides are extremely dangerous to handle. Protect yourself and your employees.

Control of pests not on the label: Always be certain the crop is on the label before using a pesticide on that crop. Pests that are not listed on the label may not be effectively controlled by that product.

To avoid illegal residues: Adhere strictly to pre-harvest interval (PHI). Accurately calibrate your equipment; never exceed label recommendations. Prevent drift to adjacent properties or crops, or contamination of bodies of water. The applicator is held responsible for problems caused by drift or contamination. High-volume, low-pressure, ground applications cause less drift than low-volume, high-pressure, air-blast, ground applications, aerial applications or dust.

Emulsifiable concentrates (EC) are less troublesome to spray equipment than wettable powders (WP). The water-based flowable concentrates and wettable powders are less likely to cause plant injury than oil-based concentrates of similar materials.

Wettable powders/suspendable powders (WP) are less likely than ECs to cause injury to sensitive plants or to cause trouble when mixed with fungicides or other pesticides.

Dry flowables (DF) are similar to wettable powders in their formulation but are pelletized to minimize dust.

Flowables (F) are liquid formulations with similar properties to latex paint. Clean equipment immediately after use.

Tank mixture and aerial application: Check the label and consult your state pesticide regulatory agency.

Disposal of pesticides: Read label. Contact your state pesticide regulatory agency for instructions on disposal of chemicals.

Restricted-Use Pesticides

In accordance with federal and state pesticide regulations, those pesticides that are highly toxic and those that persist and accumulate in the environment are placed on a restricted-use list and shall be sold and used only by certified applicators.  For information about training for certified applicators contact your Extension Specialist.  In some instances, states may require additional permits for certain pesticide users.

Poisoning Information

Make sure your doctor has a copy of the Note to Physicians that is placed on the labels of dangerous pesticides. Treatment for pesticide poisoning is very precise. The antidotes can vary for the different pesticides. In an emergency, call your doctor and provide specific information on the trade name and common name of the pesticide exposed to. Your doctor will then consult the center if necessary.

Pesticide Storage

Any restricted pesticide or container contaminated by restricted pesticides must be stored in a secure, locked enclosure while unattended. That enclosure must bear a “pesticide storage” warning sign readable at a distance of 20’. If any pesticide has to be stored in other than its original container, that container must be labeled with the name and concentration of the active ingredient and the signal word and warning statements for the pesticide along with a copy of the label. Keep an inventory of all pesticides stored in an area away from the storage site, so that it may be referred to in case of an emergency at the storage site.

Make available to personnel at all times: a respirator with chemical cartridge, gas mask with canister, goggles, rubber gloves and aprons, fire extinguisher and a detoxicant for spilled materials suggested by your local fire department. Instruct all personnel on proper use of the above equipment and on what to do in case of emergency. A shower stall with plenty of soap should be made available on the premises. Prompt washing in case of accidental spillage may be a matter of life and death.

Keep your local fire department informed of the location of all pesticide storage areas. Fighting a fire that includes smoke from burning pesticides can be extremely hazardous. Firefighters should be cautioned to avoid breathing any smoke from such a fire. A fire with smoke from burning pesticides may endanger people in the immediate area or community. They may have to be evacuated if the smoke from a pesticide fire drifts in their direction.

Storage Guidelines

  • Store pesticides in a cool (between 40° and 80°F), dry, well-ventilated area that is not accessible to children and others who do not know or understand the safe and proper use of pesticides.
  • Pesticides should always be stored in their original containers and kept tightly closed. For the protection of others, especially firefighters, the storage area should be posted as Pesticide Storage and kept securely locked.
  • Herbicides, especially hormone-like weed killers such as 2,4-D, should not be stored with other pesticides (primarily insecticides and fungicides) as they can volatize and be absorbed by other pesticides.
  • Plan pesticide purchases so that supplies are used by the end of the growing season. When pesticides are stored for the winter, keep them at temperatures above freezing, under dry conditions and out of direct sunlight. 
  • If pesticides have frozen, place pesticides in warm storage (50° to 80°F, or 10° to 26.7°C). Shake or roll container every few hours to mix product or eliminate layering. If layering persists or if all crystals do not completely dissolve, do not use product. If in doubt, call the manufacturer.
  • Read the label. Special storage recommendations or restrictions will be printed on the label.
  • Write the purchase or delivery date of the product on the label with waterproof ink. Products may lose their effectiveness over several years.
  • Monitor pesticides for signs of quality deterioration (See Table 7)
Table 7. Signs of pesticide deterioration
EC Evidence of separation of components such as sludge or sediment. Milky appearance does not occur when water is added.
Oils Milky appearance does not occur when water is added.
WP, SP Excessive lumping; powder does not suspend in water.
D, G Excessive lumping or caking