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Why Should I Have to Read the Insecticide’s Label?

By Chris Williams on December 3, 2015.

This will probably come as a surprise to you but it is against the law to use a registered pesticide product in a manner that goes against the label. In the pest control business, all of our technicians are very familiar with the phrase, “The Label is the Law.” This phrase applies to the general public as well. It means that you cannot simply use the product in any manner or amount that you like. There are federal guidelines for pesticide use that are designed to protect people and the environment.

However, an insecticide’s label is not just a strict list of rules that you have to follow, the label gives you helpful advice and direction to make the job easier and safer for you and your family. Read the labels even before you buy an insecticide. Comparing products and labels can save you money in the long run.

Reading the Insecticide Label Will:

1. Make sure that you have the right product. Not every insecticide will work in every situation and against every pest. The label will tell you what the product is intended to do and will list the pests that it is effective against. For best results, make sure the pest you want to control is listed on the label. See Tips on Choosing the Right Pesticide for the Job.

2. Give you directions for how to use the product properly. The label will tell you how to mix the product if necessary, how much to use for your particular purpose, and how to apply it to the treatment site (see Know the “Don’ts” When Using Household Pesticides). Mixing or buying more insecticide than you need is not only wasteful but also leaves you with a storage and disposal issue.

3. Tell you if you need to take safety precautions. The label will let you know if you need to wear gloves or goggles, or long sleeves, or take other safety steps when you apply the product. It will also tell you how long you have to wait before people or pets can re-enter a treated area.

4. Tell you how to store leftover insecticide or how to dispose of the empty container. Insecticides should be stored in their original containers with their original labels (or replicas). Empty containers cannot always simply be dumped into the trash. You may need to take special precautions. See How to Dispose of Old Pesticides – Advice From the EPA.

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