Formulation Factors

Maggie Scarbrough

Once you decide on a pesticide, you may have to choose which type of formulation to use. There are several factors that will help you determine which will be most effective:


Application site: some formulations may cause more harm to the particular site or its inhabitants. Be aware of what animal and plant life exist there and which formulations are safest for those involved. For example, fumigant formulations are highly likely to injure or kill any plants or animals on site. Avoid killing nontarget organisms. Pesticide labeling can help with this decision.


Equipment: Your choice of formulation may depend on the quality of and accessibility to certain equipment. Be sure yours is in good operating condition.


Pesticide movement: Consider air currents and water sources to determine the risks of distribution through the air to offsite areas or the likelihood of runoff through streams and water sources. If there is the possibility of runoff, consider formulations like granules and pellets. In areas with swift moving air currents, consider formulations that reduce drift.


Personal safety: If you have the chance to choose, select formulations that are less harmful to people. Be aware of adjuvants that you mix with pesticides and how they may also increase your risk of exposure through things like penetrants, emulsifiers, stickers and wetting agents.


Target pest: Often the formulation you choose will be highly dependent on the pest you want to control. Some pests require a pesticide that will reach each pest individually while others only require a bait system.


Surface characteristics: Know what types of surfaces are more readily affected by different kinds of formulations. Don’t use a granule formulation on a slick, slippery surface where they are likely to just blow off.


Cost: Choose pesticides that are as economical as possible such as those concentrates that have to be diluted and are easier to transport. Do keep in mind the risks affiliated with mixing and storing these chemicals.