Pesticides can be effective at wiping out pests, but rarely provide long-term solutions. Pesticides may create additional problems by wiping out beneficial plants and animals along with the pests. If you feel that you must use a pesticide, make choices that have less potential impact on your environment:
- Use the least-toxic pesticide first. Always read the label and follow the instructions of any pesticide you choose.
- Avoid applying broad-spectrum pesticides; they destroy beneficial insects as well as pests, leaving trees or shrubs unprotected if pests return.
- Apply pesticides only to plants that are specified on the label. Some formulations injure tender ornamental plants and new growth.
- Mix pesticides according to their directions and apply only the recommended dosage.
- Avoid systemic pesticides on vegetables and other edible plants. Systemic pesticides are taken up by the plant, making its tissues and fluids toxic to feeding pests, and unsafe for human consumption.
- For best results, apply non-systemic pesticides to all infested plant surfaces. Non-systemic pesticides must come into direct contact with the insects in order to work.
- Avoid the overuse of chemicals. Many pests have become resistant to certain pesticides.
In most cases, it is acceptable for households to dispose of leftover or unwanted pesticides in the trash. However, there may be other disposal options. Consider taking these kinds of items to a household hazardous waste facility for disposal. Visit our Household Hazardous Waste page to find a location near you.