Top Tips for Pesticide Applicators

Many of you may have seen the winter meeting presentation on the top tips for pesticide applicators. Here are a few of the tips included in that presentation.
Top Tips for Pesticide Applicators - Articles


Max Williamson, USDA Forest Service,

  • Get new copies of pesticide labels and MSDS for the products you will be using and store in a folder or binder. Be sure to review these newer labels as manufacturers' can update information that may be different than how you were using the product in the past.
  • Store the folder or binder of labels and MSDS outside of the pesticide storage area for quick access in case of an emergency.
  • Always wear the required personal protective clothing and equipment (PPE). Do not store your PPE in the pesticide storage area as vapors and residues can cause contamination.
  • When calibrating equipment, keep records of initial settings (such as ground speed, engine rpms, tractor gear, pressure, and nozzle sizes). This will save time when doing future calibrations.
  • Clean clogged nozzles with a "can of air" or use an old, soft toothbrush dipped in water. Be careful not to damage the nozzles when cleaning.
  • Avoid drift by keeping spray droplets on target. Be aware of nozzle size, weather conditions, and buffer areas, and if possible use sprayer shields.
  • Be prepared in case of a pesticide spill. Have spill kits available especially in mixing and loading areas and transport vehicles.
  • Do not help the pest. Mow uncontrolled annual weeds before they go to seed.
  • Know your pest(s) before you treat. Using the wrong pesticide on a pest can cost you money and do nothing to solve your problem.
  • Understand resistance management. Look for the Group Number on the label that indicates that pesticide's mode of action and then rotate pesticides with different modes of action.
  • A little more is not better. Increasing the rate beyond the maximum allowed on the label for the specific use has absolutely no advantages. Higher than labeled rates can also promote the development of resistance and will add cost.
  • Follow label directions for optimum timing relative to the growth stage of the target pest. Application to pest applications that are beyond the optimum timing (for example, large weeds, late instar insect larvae, or disease in the epidemic phase) can speed the development of resistance.

For more information about these tips and many more, please see "50 Ways to Treat Your Pesticide: Pest Management Professional Edition".

Written by Bill Riden, Penn State Pesticide Education Program.