By Eddie Ayers, County Extension Agent
Gardening and commercial production is in full swing and that means that it’s time to battle bugs, weeds, and diseases. If you are like many other people, you use pesticides but you often get in a hurry and may not properly store them. Before someone gets hurt or sick, or the chemical does not do the job that you want it to do, consider the following points.
First and foremost, the most important rule when using any type of pesticide product is this — handle pesticides safely!!! From purchase to disposal, pesticides demand cautious handling!!!
Always read the label before you use or store any pesticide. The label is a required statement which provides the user with proper handling information.
When handling or storing pesticides wear protective clothing, especially items specified on the container label. At a minimum wear liquid-proof gloves and shoes, a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and a hat when applying pesticides.
Never eat, drink, smoke or go to the bathroom while handling pesticides.
Do not store pesticides near food, seed, animals, children’s toys or flammable materials.
Store pesticides in a locked place out of reach of children and pets. Post a sign on the storage area that says: “Danger – Pesticides” or “Keep Out – Pesticides.”
Store pesticides in an area that is dry, cool (but above freezing), ventilated and out of direct sunlight. Store pesticides in their original containers with the original label attached. Never put pesticides in cola bottles, fruit jars or other food containers. Check containers for leaks. Once a pesticide has been mixed, it usually is only effective for two weeks. If you have pesticides that you don’t need then give, sell or trade these pesticides to friends, neighbors or others who can use them according to label directions.
Do not store pesticides for more than three years. Pesticides that are three or more years old are often ineffective so you should consider proper disposal. The best procedure for disposing of small quantities of old, unwanted or cancelled pesticides used for homeowner purposes is to use the chemical in the área that it was intended to be used but if this is not posible then you can try other disposal methods such as contacting companies that handle unused pesticides. Unfortunately there are none in our área and when you fin done, they can get expensive, but it is safe.
If you have liquid pesticides, pour the liquid into a box of absorbent material such as cat litter. After the liquid has been fully absorbed, triple bag the cat litter into heavy duty plastic bags and put them in the garbage. For wettable powders or dusts, triple bag the pesticide container in heavy duty plastic bags, and put them in the garbage. Clean empty containers by rinsing three times. General guidelines for disposal is absorption in cat litter or other absorbent material, triple bagging in heavy duty plastic bags and placing them in the garbage or punching holes in plastic, metal or cardboard containers, wrapping them in newspaper and triple bagging them in heavy duty plastic bags then placing them in the garbage.
For more information on using, storing and disposing of pesticides, contact me in the Gilmer County UGA Extension office.