What you need to know about pesticides

Pesticides are highly effective, but the same toxicity that allows them to repel and kill...

Pesticides are highly effective, but the same toxicity that allows them to repel and kill pests is capable of harming humans and animals, as well as polluting the environment. Before you use such a product on your lawn, consider the following guidelines:

Determine whether you need pesticide

Before you start spraying, figure out what exactly the problem is. Some pests cannot be entirely removed with pesticides. Also, many people misidentify problems with plants as being caused by insects or other pests when they are actually the result of poor drainage or other factors. Verify that you actually need a toxic substance to control your problem before you apply a pesticide to your yard or garden.

Practice integrated pest management

Integrated pest management (IPM) combines pest control methods with information about particular pests to manage damage with the lowest possible negative impact to people, wildlife and the environment. Choose disease- and pest-resistant plant varieties, learn about which insects and weeds are innocuous or beneficial, and monitor what works and what doesn't.

Choose the appropriate pesticide

If you find that you need to use a pesticide, accurately identify the pest that is wreaking havoc in your yard or garden. In some cases, soaps and plant-based oils control certain insects. Check the label to make sure it is safe to use the pesticide on the particular plant or plants you have in mind.

Apply pesticides carefully

To protect your skin, wear protective clothing while working with toxic substances. Wear closed-toe shoes, long-sleeved shirts, long pants, safety goggles and rubber gloves. You can purchase many pesticides in a sprayer with a trigger pump so that you do not have to come into contact with the substance in order to mix or dilute it.

Follow instructions

The majority of home and garden products are unlikely to cause you injury if you follow the instructions on their packaging. Many people overlook directions on labels with hazardous results. Take the time to read through any product literature thoroughly before using the product.

If you prefer to leave pest control to professionals, consider working with your local Atlanta pest control expert and a landscaper.

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