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Pesticide Use

Summary: Pesticide use is coming under more scrutiny everyday. Pesticide misuse will eventually kill the golden goose and living with insects may become a reality. Learn about the proper use of this important tool.

You discover a bug in your house and your reach for the can of pesticides. Why not reach for a shoe or book or a tissue? It's cheaper and faster than spraying the insect into submission which, to be honest, is what the majority of pesticides users do.

Pesticide over-use or misuse is rampant. It seems very few people read the label. They make it up as they go along. For example, I've witnessed a person treating a room with a common house and garden spray to control house flies. Without thought, he takes the can and applies a fifteen second burst to be sure the spray leaves a fog of pesticide floating in the room.

The reality is that a single molecule of the pesticide spray will kill the fly. Instead of a fifteen second blast, the same results could be achieved with a two second application. Not only will you get total fly control, you will also save enough of the spray to repeat the application many times over, if necessary.

So, why do we feel the need to over-apply pesticides? Much of the misunderstanding is brought on by the product's labeling. There is no mention of how much product is required for control. In fact, the more we use, the more the manufacturer's sales numbers rise. The product labels can be confusing, giving treatment recommendations in cubic feet and ounces of material to be applied. Why not say œSpray this product for two seconds for a ten by ten room?

And, then there is the consumer's attitude that if the label says use two ounces, using four ounces will kill twice as fast or twice the number of bugs. Wrong! It does not work like that at all. The recommended mixing rate or rate of application is based upon achieving the highest rate of insect control as tested and proven in laboratories. Over-applying is simply throwing money out the window. It does not make the product any stronger.

Let's debunk the idea that professional pest control people use stronger chemicals. In fact, the pros use products with the same active ingredients that can be purchased over-the-counter by anyone. It is true that the pros often have access to new products prior to the public, but generally speaking, there is little difference in what the pros use versus what you can buy in the hardware store or online. What makes the difference is that, generally speaking, the pros know the pesticide labels and fully understand the habits of the insects they are targeting. Just understanding the insect gives the pro a huge advantage.

When comparing the actions of a pest control company to an average homeowner when controlling cockroaches, for example, the pro already knows what cockroach species he is battling. Knowing the species tells the pro where it is likely to be nesting, what it is eating, where it is laying its eggs and how it will react to certain pesticide applications. The pro knows that gel bait is going to be more effective than bait stations and that liquid pesticides will force the roaches deeper into hiding. The pro knows how many locations to apply bait and he knows that certain cockroaches like dark corners, corrugated boxes, clutter and a water source. In the end, the pro uses less materials and gets better control just because he knows about the insect. In the end the pro understands what his/her materials can and cannot do.

My advice is to keep pesticides on the shelf and use them only as a last resort. Controlling a pest problem most often can be done without a single ounce of pesticides either by excluding the pests by sealing them out or by removing places the pests like to inhabit. Act like a pro. Study your pest target. Pesticide use should be a choice only when absolutely necessary. Read the label and follow the label instructions.

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