Lawful Labeling

Are you learning some tidbits about pesticide safety ? Are you taking it to heart? Are you teaching safety to others? I hope so. Let’s reinforce some more pesticide safety by understanding the label.

Pesticides, insecticides, bug spray, rodenticide, mouse bait, or any other name those products are called, can have some dire consequences when not used within the limits of label language. When was the last time you read a label? Can’t remember? Grab one, any one… pick your favorite and follow along. We are going to review the contents of a label.

Cautious As We Go

First, and foremost, the name of the chemical product is listed with the manufacturer’s name. The Environmental Protection Agency gave it a number, unless it’s considered to be 25b exempt. The chemical compound is scientifically listed, with active ingredient percentages.

There is a box, probably on the first page, that has some first aid information. This is an important section to read BEFORE opening the pesticide container. If you have an emergency while opening or using the contents, you need to understand what situation warrants medical treatment.

Keep a First Aid kit handy

Environmental hazards could include toxicity to fish, reptiles, bees, and household pets. Blooming plants maybe adversely affected. Runoff and drift is something that should NOT be happening.

Global Harmonized System placard for Environmental Hazards

Do not eat, drink, smoke, or chew gum while mixing or during application. I don’t want you to lose an eyebrow if your pesticide happens to be flammable.

Directly Proportional

Would you look at that! I am allowed to mix an insect growth regulator with this. When customers ask me what that means, I say, “It’s like birth control for the grandkids, and helps to break the lifecycle of insects.”

There is no rain in the forecast, and I really want to be outside. Those ants, crickets, fleas, and darkling beetles don’t stand a chance. At 12ml of product for every gallon of water added, I can cover up to 1600 square feet. With an application to the perimeter of the building foundation – up to 3 feet high, it sounds like I’ll get a great residual with a 10ft band.

Do This, Not That

I’m not permitted to mix this product with oil. Common sense, and the label, says not to spray in, on, or near any electrical equipment. Someone must have done that, otherwise it wouldn’t state this on the label.

Use on ornamental plants and lawns is OK, but spraying plants for food is a big NO! Stay away from the prized vegetable garden.

Crack and crevice is the only application method allowed for food handling locations. I can use small amounts in wall voids, between construction joints, and at machinery -to- floor attachments. Isn’t that where insects hide anyway?

Storage And Disposal

Store products upright. Secure them out of sight when not in use. Those contents shouldn’t be in the wrong hands. Triple rinse – triple rinse – TRIPLE RINSE empty containers. Recycling of jugs, bottles, or cartons is permitted if there is a facility to accept such waste.

I have been trained to cut several holes in my pesticide containers before recycling. I wouldn’t want anyone to use these containers for food or drinks. You can’t make a margarita with the residue.


My certified applicator licensing means everything to me. My livelihood depends on me being a responsible pest control operator. For the safety of myself, my customers, and my community, I vow to read and follow all contents of the label, and use all the recommended personal protective equipment.

Published by Melisa Arnold, A.C.E.

My career in pest management began while working in a flour mill as the “in-house” technician in 2008. I am certified in multiple states. I began working full time as a fumigation-pest control tech in 2010. I achieved my Associate Certified Entomologist (ACE) in 2018. I have a Master Tech certification from Kansas State University/Kansas Pest Control Association. I hold a Bat Management certification from NWCOA. Every day, I realize how much I DON’T KNOW. My goal for this blog is to share my every day experiences from the field and to make us all think outside the box for solutions to make pest control make sense.

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