While minimizing pesticide use is always a good idea, there are times when a pesticide is the only thing that will take care of your problem. Home pest control pesticides can be used safely, with a few precautions.
Making sure the pesticide you use is the right one for your problem, understanding the risks of a given pesticide, and following the label will help you safely use pesticides around your family and pets.
Although pesticide means insecticide to most people, it is really an umbrella term that covers a broad variety of substances that are intended to prevent, destroy, repel, or mitigate pests:
- Insecticides kill insects and other bugs.
- Herbicides kill plants.
- Fungicides kill the fungus.
- Poisons, such as rat bait, kill animals.
- Plant growth regulators prevent plants from growing normally or at all, depending on the product.
- Insect growth regulators do the same for insects that pass through stages, such as the dreaded grasshopper.
- Defoliants and desiccants cause plants to drop their leaves. These are often used on cotton and other crops that are mechanically harvested.
All pesticides are poisonous. Some pesticides are extremely poisonous and are only sold to individuals who have a pesticide applicator’s license.
Other pesticides are sold in high concentrations and are intended for commercial use, where they are diluted by thousands of gallons of water.
Finally, the most benign pesticides are sold in small quantities, low concentrations, and in forms intended for use around the home. Never use commercial pesticides, or commercial strengths of pesticides, around your home.
Before you buy a pesticide, make sure it is the appropriate product for your problem. For example, if you use an insecticide on a plant that is infested with insects because it has a fungus, not only will you not solve the root problem (pardon the pun), but you will wipe out all of your beneficial insects along with your problem insects.
If used properly, they pose very little risk to yourself, your families, and your pets. Always follow the label directions and obey the re-entry period, and use a little common sense, and you and your family will enjoy a pest-free home and garden with your pet in safety.
Remember that all the information you need to know about a pesticide is on the label. In fact, federal law specifies what must appear on a pesticide label.
It also specifies that using a product in a way that does not appear on the label is a violation of federal law.
For instance, Seven Dust 7% says that it kills fleas and ticks and may be used on dogs and humans. The label specifically tells you not to use this product on cats. They lick themselves, ingest the product, and die.
If you put Seven Dust 7% on your cat or your neighbor’s cat, you have violated federal law.
You can face civil and criminal charges, especially if someone or something gets ill or dies as a result of your actions.
To safely use a pesticide, make sure you obey every instruction on the label.