Smart, Safe Pesticide Use

safe pesticide useSummer has arrived in full force with rising temperatures, which means pests may start causing problems in our gardens and landscapes.

It is very important to know how to safely use and store pesticides.

  • The identification of beneficial insects versus pests should always occur before purchasing any pesticides as these insects might actually be helpful and should not be harmed.
  • Proper control begins with reviewing the pesticide label for the pest trying to be controlled.
    • Label contains a lot of very important info. Read thoroughly! For example, recently, some manufacturers have introduced new products with similar logos to products already on the market. These products have extremely different applications – one targets weeds in your lawn, the other will kill any plant on which it is srayed. If applied incorrectly, pesticides can cause severe damage and/or plant death. Once again, READ THE LABEL!
      • Pest controlled
      • Plant and site for approved use
      • Rate and frequency of application
      • PPE (personal protective equipment)
      • Label is the law!
    • When applying the pesticide to the problem area, be careful to only target the pest and not surrounding areas such as driveways, sidewalks or other hard surface areas. Pesticide runoff can infiltrate water supplies, so be sure to only apply the amount you absolutely need to destroy the pest.
    • Store correctly.
      • Original container
      • Cool, dry location
      • Away from food and children
    • Dispose of properly
      • Rinse the container out with water three times.
      • The rinse water should be poured onto the targeted area and not down the drain.
      • If the pesticide came with a sprayer, rinse it out with fresh water and apply the rinse water to the targeted area as well
      • Dispose of it in the trash. Pesticides and their containers should never be put into recycling.

By Bethany O’Rear, Regional Extension Agent, Alabama Cooperative Extension System.  Contact Bethany at bethany@aces.edu.


The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES) operates as the primary outreach organization for the land-grant functions of Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities. ACES is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity and the diversity of its workforce.  Educational programs of ACES serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or national origin.

Alabama Extension

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System operates as the primary outreach organization for the land-grant functions of Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities and answers home-gardeners' questions each week on Birmingham Gardening Today.

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