What to Know Before Use
How successful a pesticide is at eradicating pests depends on how it is used. The factors which govern how to use a pesticide are;
- The type of pest you wish to deal with,
- The environment that the pest thrives in,
- Your preferred method of delivery,
- The equipment available for you to use in delivering the pesticide.
- Control measures required to reduce any potential risk to the environment or surrounding wildlife.
In any case, you must read the label first so that you know that you are using it correctly.
Types of Pesticide Application
Handling pests on an industrial scale requires modern equipment so that the pesticide can be used effectively. Different application methods work best on different kinds of crop. Common methods of pesticide application are:
- Band application, where you apply the pesticide in between the rows of crops rather than over the entire area,
- Broadcast application which spreads the pesticide over the entire area,
- Direct-Spray which takes the pesticide directly to the pest while reducing its exposure to surrounding crops,
- Foliar Application for pests that usually attack leaves,
- Soil Incorporation which puts the pesticide directly into the soil by using irrigation equipment,
- Tree injection which places the pesticide right underneath a tree’s bark.
Equipment for Application
Application equipment is just as important as the method that you use. Quality and well-chosen equipment will get the correct dosage of the pesticide directly to the required area while minimizing the amount of waste and spillage. Drift, irregular covering and the pesticide not reaching its target are often because of bad or poorly used equipment. New designs for old equipment are helping to solve that problem.
Types of equipment available can be as simple as aerosol cans and hand sprayers. Before you choose the right equipment for the job you must ask yourself:
- Is the equipment simple to use and easy to clean?
- Will it deliver the pesticide effectively to where it’s needed?
- Is the equipment easy to use?
- How much drift will the equipment cause?
Overall, most equipment for application of pesticides breaks down into two categories; sprayers and spreaders.
Spreaders for the Application of Liquid or Aerosol Pesticides
Sprayers deliver the pesticides by misting the area with a water-solution that contains the pesticide. Spraying can deliver a pesticide over a large area however it is very difficult to control which plants won’t come into contact with it. Reduced-volume spraying causes mists of the pesticide which are particularly susceptible to drifting off in the wind and contaminating other areas. Pesticides that should not be sprayed will say so on the label. Such pesticides usually have ‘toxic’, ‘corrosive’ or ‘keep away from eyes’ written them. These pesticides are harmful if they come into contact with your skin which is why some of them can only be sprayed while wearing PPE.
You can go ahead and use sprayers to apply pesticides as long as;
- The concentration of your reduced volume is not more than ten times the maximum recommended concentration on the label,
- You know how to use spraying equipment,
- You have carried out a risk assessment for human beings.
You won’t have to worry about drift or cross-contamination if you are spraying in an enclosed environment such as a greenhouse. Before you can use sprayers for mist or fog treatments in a closed environment you must take into consideration the possibility of people who work there accidentally inhaling the pesticide. Clear all people and personal belongings from the area before the spraying and then clean down any exposed surfaces afterwards. Remember to have a safe ventilation method in place. Sending in an employee to open the windows is not safe. Have a fan or air pump ready instead.
Granular Applicators for Solid Pesticides
Granular pesticides are usually applied to the ground or directly into the soil. They work well to deal with soil nematodes and other pests that attack the roots of desired crops. Granular pesticides usually come as dry, fine powders that contain ten percent of the active ingredient. The rest of the powder consists of chalk, clay or volcanic ash.
Because the powders are dry, granular pesticides are also susceptible to drift. This is why granular spreaders are designed to apply the pesticide directly to where it is needed. Rotary and drop spreaders are two common types of granular spreaders which deliver the pesticide directly to the soil.