How Do I Choose the Right Pesticide?

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How Do I Choose the Right Pesticide?

What is the pest?

Accurate identification of the pest is essential to selecting a pesticide because pesticides are categorized according to the pest or problem that they control. For instance, insecticides control insects, herbicides control weeds, and fungicides control plant diseases; yet all of these are pesticides. Know what the pest is and, therefore, what type of pesticide you need to control it.

What is the site of application?

Pesticide products are labeled according to the site of application; e.g., one flea control product might be labeled for outdoor use on turf, another for indoor use on carpets, and yet another for use on pets. Therefore, it is essential to identify the site to which the chemical will be applied.

What formulation is best for the pest and site?

Pesticides are packaged in a variety of dry and liquid formulations. Determine what formulation best suits your situation by considering the location and any related human, wildlife, or environmental elements; also consider application and safety equipment required, etc. Ready-to-use products are handier than concentrates that require dilution and mixing; they often come in containers designed to double as the application device and usually require only basic safety equipment. Although they may be more expensive, their convenience often justifies the cost.

How many applications will be necessary to achieve the desired level of control?

Sometimes follow-up applications are necessary, so estimate the total number that will be required, up front.

How much pesticide will be need?

Calculate the total amount of pesticide that will be needed in a given application season or year: Multiply the amount needed for one application times the estimated number of applications required.

Is it always wise to buy in quantity to get the best price?

Choose the quantity of product based on anticipated need, not just the best value. Excess pesticides in storage may lose their effectiveness, over time, and eventually require disposal which often is not easily accomplished. Plan ahead and purchase only in quantities that can be used efficiently within the same year.


  • Insecticide: a substance used to destroy insect pests
  • Herbicide: a chemical that destroys plants, esp one used to control weeds
  • Pesticide: a chemical used for killing pests, esp insects and rodents
  • Fungicide: a substance or agent that destroys or is capable of destroying fungi
  • Rodenticide: a substance used for killing rats, mice, and other rodents
  • General Use Pesticide: General Use Pesticide means any pesticide formulation not classified as restricted use.
  • Restricted Use Pesticide: “Restricted use pesticide” means any pesticide product, the label of which states “restricted use” as required for registration by the environmental protection agency under the federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act of 1972, as amended.



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