Website Provides Pesticide Stewardship Information

Find tips for responsible pest management on the Pesticide Environmental Stewardship website.

by Dani Yokhna
Garden pests
Courtesy Stock.XCHNG
A new website provides information on controlling unwanted insects on your crops.

A new Pesticide Environmental Stewardship website, recently launched by the Center for Integrated Pest Management, was designed to assist people who apply, sell, store or dispose of pesticides; provide advice or training on pesticide use; or are involved in pesticide stewardship or regulation.

“Our ultimate goal is to cover the basic tenets that apply regardless of who you are, where you live or the pest you’re trying to control,” says Wayne Buhler of North Carolina State University, PES national coordinator and a Pesticide Safety Education Program coordinator for North Carolina. “There are fundamental principles and practices to be aware of, whether you are protecting agricultural crops, homegrown vegetables, a lawn or golf course. We hope that whenever the choice is made to use a pesticide, good stewardship practices will be followed.” 

The new website complements the work of county extension agents and state-level pesticide safety education programs. It covers a wide variety of stewardship topics, ranging from pesticide storage, handling and disposal to how to avoid drift, runoff and leaching during and after the pesticide application. Homeowners and those interested in integrated pest management can go straight to sections geared to their needs. 

“We know there is a wealth of expertise in the public and private sector regarding pesticide stewardship,” observes Ron Gardner of Cornell University, who helped develop the PES website.  “We look forward to a growing list of partners who will help us add value to current and future topics on the site.”

A pesticide resistance management topic is currently under development for the website. Future plans also include educational quizzes to reinforce important pesticide stewardship concepts and self-assessment tools to evaluate personal pesticide stewardship practices.

“Search the web for phrases like ‘pesticide stewardship and drift’ and you will get thousands of results,” says Carol Somody, senior stewardship manager for Syngenta Crop Protection and PES industry coordinator. “It can be quite overwhelming to someone who wants to start with the basics, and teaching the basics is the purpose of PES. It provides a much-needed entry point to essential pesticide-stewardship information.”

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10 Tips from the Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Website

The amount of information on the website may be overwhelming at first glance. Use these 10 tips as a warm up to entering a pesticide stewardship plan.

  1. Read the label before buying the pesticide.
  2. Buy only the amount of pesticide needed for one season.
  3. As a general rule of thumb, the temperature inside the pesticide storage area should be between 40 degrees F and 100 degrees F.
  4. Calibrate equipment carefully to assure that the pesticide is applied at labeled rates. 
  5. Be aware of the current and probable future weather conditions in order to make the best pesticide application decisions to prevent drift.
  6. Locate the mixing and loading site away from wells, streams and lakes. 
  7. Never leave a tank while it is being filled and pay constant attention during filling to prevent overfilling and spilling of the pesticide on the ground.
  8. When you empty a container, allow it to drain into the spray tank for 10 seconds after it begins to drip.
  9. Remember that exceeding the label rate of pesticide application is a violation of the law.
  10. Follow the label each time you mix and use the pesticide, and follow the label when storing or disposing of the pesticide. Do not trust your memory.

Buhler’s colleagues in the Pesticide Safety Education Program from across the United States were instrumental in the development of PES, including Ron Gardner of Cornell University, Carol Ramsay of Washington State University, Jim Wilson of South Dakota State University and Fred Whitford of Purdue University. Other scientists in academia, extension, government and industry partnered with CIPM on the project, including members of the Weed Science Society of America, the Entomological Society of America and the American Phytopathological Society.  


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