Use a pesticide only if you cannot control a pest in some other way. If possible, choose a specific agent, such as milky spore disease for Japanese beetle grubs or Bacillus thuringiensis caterpillars.
Such general pesticides as carbaryl, chlorphyrifos, diazinon, malathion, and methoxychlor may poison bees and other beneficial insects, as well as earthworms, fish, birds, pets, and humans.
Spray pesticides on calm days, and only after you have warned neighbors of your plans. Wear a waterproof hat and coat and a face mask— especially when spraying a large area, Then leave the area until the spray is dry and the odor has passed.
For localized pest problems, use a hose-end sprayer equipped with a valve to prevent back run. For trees or for medium to large gardens, use a slide-pump sprayer or a compressed-air sprayer that is powerful enough to drive through foliage and wet both sides of all leaves. Stop spraying when the liquid begins to drip from the leaves, Never use a high-pressure paint gun for pesticides.
Dusts are easy to use in the garden, but they don’t last long. They adhere best if applied while the morning dew is still on the leaves.
Apply dormant oil sprays to pest-prone trees just before buds begin to on in spring: they smother the eggs and developing larvae of insects. Apply only when temperatures are above freezing. They may discolor evergreen foliage, but the damage is temporary.
Check stored pesticides before use. Lumps are signs of deterioration in dusts and powders. Any dilutible preparation should blend quickly and easily with water; emulsifiable concentrates should turn milky. Dormant oil sprays shoWd be uniform and without traces of sludge at the bottom of the container.
Clean spraying equipment by rinsing it with at least three changes of water. Turn containers upside down to dry. Use separate equipment for pesticides and weed killers.