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Most, if not all pesticides are poisonous. Before using any pesticide be sure you read the label carefully and study all warnings. Look at all the active ingredients in the pesticide and be sure you understand their uses and dangers. Always follow directions to the letter and never apply any pesticide in the presence of your children or pets. When you are finished using a pesticide do not leave the container or any equipment used to apply it where a child or pet may come into contact with it. Do not use any household utensils to measure or mix pesticides. If you are spraying the pesticide inside your home put away all food items and cover all utensils before you spray. When you finish spraying wash down all tables, counter tops and other areas where you or your family might come into contact with the product.
You should only use pesticides if you cannot control a pest by other means. When it is possible choose a specific agent to use for the problem. There are many general pesticides such as diazionon, carbaryl, chlorphyrifox, malathion and methoxychlor that will poison bees and other beneficial insects. Even earthworms, fish, birds, pets and humans can be poisoned by the products. Always have a full understanding of the pesticide you are using and all the dangers involved with its application. Be sure you spray any pesticide on a calm day and if you have close neighbors, warn them before you spray. You will need to wear a water proof coat, hat and face mask for your own protection and especially if you are spraying a large area. When you finish spraying leave the area and do not return until the spray is dry and the odor is gone.
The best equipment to use for a localized pest problem is a hose end sprayer that is equipped with a valve to prevent back run. A slide pump sprayer or compressed air sprayer will work best for trees and medium sized gardens. These types of sprayers are powerful enough to drive through foliage, getting both sides of the leaves wet. When the leaves begin to drip the liquid it is time to stop spraying. Never, under any circumstances, use a high pressure paint gun to apply pesticides. Pesticide dusts are easy to use in the garden but they do no last long. They are best applied in the morning while the dew is still clinging to the leaves. Dormant oil sprays should be applied to pest prone trees just before the buds begin to open in the spring. Properly applied they will smother the eggs and developing larvae of the pest. This type of pesticide should only be applied when the temperatures are above freezing. In some cases they have been known to discolor the foliage on evergreens but this is only temporary.
When applying pesticides inside your home a pump operated spray can is better than a pressurized one since it releases less poison into the air. If you prefer to avoid the lingering odor of commercial sprays you should carefully mix the ingredients in water yourself and apply the mixture with a trigger sprayer. When doing this remember that the usual oil base pesticides will have an intensified smell. If you are using a fogger to fumigate be sure that the area you are targeting is sealed off from all the adjoining areas. If you are fumigating the entire house remove your family and pets from the house for the number of hours recommended on the package.