Tips on Choosing the Right Pesticide for the Job

By Chris Williams on November 6, 2015.

When you have a pest problem in your home or yard, you have two choices. Do you hire a professional or do you do the job yourself? If you choose to tackle the job yourself and you choose to use a pesticide, which pesticide product do you select?

Home-use pesticides come in many forms, including dusts, granules, and baits. Many pesticides also come in ready-to-use forms, such as aerosols and spray bottles, which are often more practical and easier to use because they don’t require measuring or mixing. Certain formulations work better for some pests or sites than others.

1. First, be certain that you have identified the pest problem correctly. Then choose the least toxic pesticide that will achieve the results you want and be the least toxic to you and the environment.

2. When the words “broad-spectrum” appear on the label, this means the product is effective against a broad range of pests. If the label says “selective,” the product is effective against only one or a few related pests.

3. Look for the product’s signal word – either Danger, Warning, or Caution on the pesticide label. The signal word tells you how poisonous the product is to humans. Danger is the most poisonous and Caution designates a lower toxicity product.

4. Choose the form of pesticide (aerosol, dust, bait, or other) best suited to your target site and the pest you want to control.


Before You Buy, Read the Pesticide Label

Compare pesticide products by reading the labels and learn as much as you can about the one that seems to be the best choice. The directions on a pesticide label are there primarily to help you achieve “maximum” benefits with “minimum” risk. Read the pesticide label before buying the product, read the label before mixing or using the product, and read the label again for information on storing or disposing of the product.

For help on choosing and using pesticides, contact the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) on the Internet or phone them at 800-858-7378. See also NPIC – A User-Friendly Site for Pesticide Information.

[Source: EPA. Citizen’s Guide to Pest Control and Pesticide Safety]



We’re not satisfied until you are. Learn More