Pesticide Use 101
Natural solutions should always be the first weapon for pest control; however there are times when a commercial pesticide is necessary. These tips are simple, common sense ways to maximize pest control and lessen the environmental impact.
First, identify the target insect and that it is indeed causing the damage. Your local garden center is an excellent source for help. Read pesticide labels thoroughly; they are formulated and regulated for specific insects and specific plants.
Follow directions for mixing the solution and the recommended timing for repeat treatments. This is critical! The insect life cycle must be broken in order to achieve control. Adult insects may be dead, but the eggs are often alive and most likely will hatch in approximately 7 – 10 days. The prescribed amount of insecticide is important - less is not better and more definitely will not improve control. Good plant coverage will maximize results. Attack where the insect feeds, which is usually on the underside of the leaves. Consider using a wetting agent or surfactant, (a chemical that helps liquid to spread – available where pesticides are sold), to ensure thorough plant coverage.
Lower the environmental effects by applying pesticide sprays in early morning or late in the day when bees and birds are less active, and avoid windy conditions.
Reduce the need for pesticides by using good cultural practices, conducting frequent inspections to catch pests before they become established, carefully checking new plants, isolating plants for a few days to avoid introducing unseen pests and using alternative, natural methods whenever possible for pest control.