Pesticide Use

Maggie Scarbrough

To apply pesticides correctly, first study the directions for use on the label. Most labels will offer a range of acceptable amounts for application. If this is the case, start with the least amount possible to control the pest. There are several different places you can get information regarding amounts for application including, pesticide specialists, Cooperative Extension agents, dealers, industry organizations and university specialists.


Labels will explain amounts of pesticide to be used by different methods. One is by how much pesticide formulation should be applied to an area or volume. (For example one pound of formulation per 100 cubic feet of space.) Sometimes it will be explained by how much formulation per volume of mixture (three tablespoons product per five gallons water). Still other times labels will express it by how much active ingredient should be applied per unit of area or volume of mixture. If it is expressed in this way, different formulations can be chosen accordingly, as well as proper dilution.


Once in a while it is expressed by a percentage of the final dilution. This usually happens with products that are adjuvants. These let the applicator figure the dilution accurately for whatever method is used for the formulation.


After you know what amount to apply, you will have three basic tasks to take on with the formulation you choose: mixing, loading and calibrating.


You must properly mix the pesticide to needed strength, unless it is a ready-to-use formulation or should be applied full strength. You might have to load the pesticide into the appropriate equipment. In many cases, you will need to measure and adjust how much pesticide your equipment will apply to the site. The kind of formulation as well as the kind of equipment will determine how much of each or all of these tasks is necessary.


There are some pesticides that will not require mixing, loading or calibration. These are aerosol cans, shaker-can dusters, foggers, baits, impregnated collars, bars, delayed-trigger foggers, squeeze-trigger sprayers, strips, rollers and wiper bags. To apply, these are directed at a specific target, applied to run-off, put on the target or released to fill a space.