Lease holders and concessionaires are responsible for properly storing, using, and properly disposing of any pesticides that they may use.
If you will be using pesticides on the property that you have leased from the Corps, knowing how to read the label on a pesticide container and properly use, store, and dispose of pesticides will go a long way toward fulfilling your responsibilities in this area.
If you would like a basic introduction to herbicides and/or insecticides, the University of Minnesota offers the following on-line:
An easy to read reference for helping you make decisions about the types of pesticides you will use as well as other useful information is the Citizen's Guide to Pest Control and Pesticide Safety that EPA put together.
Reading pesticide labels
Pesticides are hazardous chemicals that can cause problems not only for the environment but also for people (adults as well as children) and their pets if they are used and/or stored improperly. The best way to know how to properly use a pesticide is to read the label first before using the chemical. This means that if you are using a spray can of hornet or weed killer, read what is printed on the can, as that is the label for that product. Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has teamed up with industry and other interested organizations in an effort to make it easier to read and understand the information on a pesticide label - this effort is known as the Consumer Labeling Initiative (CLI). If you need help with reading a pesticide label, try your county extention service or one of these Websites:
Before using a pesticide, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Read the label carefully.
- Clear the area of people, animals, food, and anything related to food (flatware, pots, etc.), and cover what can't be moved or spray during a time when people are not around and food is not be prepared and/or served.
- If mixing the pesticide:
- Mix up only the amount that you will need and use it all. That eliminates having to properly label and store additional containers of the pesticide.
- If you will be rinsing your spray container after use, you will need to apply the rinse water just like you did the original pesticide, so keep that in mind when you mix up your pesticide, you may be able to mix less and still do what you intend.
- Store the utensils that you used to measure the concentrate with the pesticide and mark them so that they don't end up being used to measure food or anything else that will be consumed by people or pets.
- Mix the chemical well away from any source of food, drink, or body of water (such as a lake or river) and preferably in an area that is off limits to the public or anyone else not involved in this process.
While applying the pesticide:
- Wear the protective clothing and other gear (such as goggles) recommended on the label.
- If applying the pesticide outdoors, apply it when the wind is calm to avoid unnecessary drift outside of the target area - this includes spraying near water; if spraying indoors, remember that fans and air conditioners will circulate the pesticide along with the air so turn them off while spraying.
- Don't eat, drink, chew gum (or anything else), or smoke while mixing and/or applying pesticides in case you get some of the chemical on your hands - if you get the chemical on your hands and then do any of those things, you could accidentally ingest some of the chemical and possibly poison yourself along with the pest you are trying to control.
- When finished, wash your hands thoroughly to remove any pesticide that may have gotten on them while you were mixing and/or spraying.
Reference: Safe use and storage of pesticides
Proper storage of pesticides is just as important as using them correctly. Before storing your pesticides, be sure that the container is in good condition (it is not damaged in any way and is leaking chemical) and that the label is securely attached and also in good condition. You should then store your pesticides in a cool, dry place (preferably in a cabinet that can be locked so that visitors and other unauthorized people will not have access to the chemicals).
To minimize the amount of storage space that you will need, buy only the amount that you think you will need for that season.
Labels and MSDS's
Never remove a label from the package. Sometimes labels come off no matter what you do. If this happens, reattach the label immediately. If the label has been lost but you remember the brand name of the pesticide, it may be possible to replace the lost label. You may be able to find and print the correct label at the following Websites:
If you do not remember what the brand name is, it would be better to dispose of the chemical rather than risk misusing it. (See "Disposing of pesticides" below.)
Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS's) for pesticides can also be found at the above Websites.
Disposing of pesticides
If you have any pesticides that you know you will not be using and you want to get rid of them, get in touch with your county extension service and find out how to dispose of pesticides properly - your state may already have a program set up to do just that. In or near large metropolitan areas, try contacting the county - if they have a hazardous waste disposal program, they may take your pesticides along with other hazardous wastes.
With a growing emphasis on using less hazardous chemicals, you may want to consider finding alternatives to using conventional pesticides. There are quite a number of Websites that contain information on this subject:
If you are interested in finding other Websites with information on alternatives, try searching on "pesticide alternatives" and include the quotation marks when you do.
And don't forget to check with your county extension service - they may have some good suggestions for your specific area and the pest you are trying to control.