Farmers are well aware that the label on a pesticide product is the law and that the instructions on that label must be followed accurately. Farmers also realize that if they apply a pesticide at more than the labeled rate that it may result in crop injury or if they apply the product at less than the labeled rate they may get poor control of the pest that they have targeted. Most farmers are certified as pesticide applicators and are familiar with the safety requirements involved with using pesticides. Farmers are also familiar with the inspection and regulatory process with pesticides.
Unfortunately most homeowners that are caring for a yard or garden do not have that same familiarity with pesticide products and the label requirements associated with those products. Misuse of pesticides in home yard situations is relatively common. Common problems associated with pesticide use in home yards include the failure to read the label, failure to follow the instructions on the label, the use of a pesticide when no pest is present to be controlled and the failure to use the safety equipment that is recommended on the label.
Two practices that associated with these problems and should be avoided are "if one teaspoon per gallon is recommended on the label, than two teaspoons will be better" and applying a pesticides on regular basis as a precautionary application even if there may not be a pest present.
An example of that is spraying blue spruce trees on a regular basis for spider mite control when the tree may not even have been checked to determine if there is a mite infestation present.
Another serious mistake is putting a pesticide in an unmarked or mislabeled container. This has resulted in some very serious mistakes with damaged to trees and lawns. Unmarked pesticide containers and pesticides put in containers that are not the original container can be a potential health hazard, especially if children are present.
Homeowners that have questions on pesticide use should contact the Ward County Extension office.
Mike Rose serves as North Dakota State University Extension Service agent for Ward County.