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Integrated Pest Management · Agriculture and Natural Resources

University of California

Mitigating pesticide hazards

When planning for pesticide applications, consult the UC Pest Management Guidelines for your crop, and consider practices that minimize environmental and efficacy problems.

Choose a pesticide from the Pest Management Guidelines, considering these factors:

Bee precaution button

In Pest Management Guidelines, this takes you to guidance on how to reduce bee poisoning from pesticides. Note: These are not the pollinator protection statements on the pesticide labels.

Water Quality Compare Treatments button image

Water Quality (Compare Treatments) button. In Pest Management Guidelines, this takes you to guidelines for mitigating water quality problems for that crop.

  • Impact on natural enemies and pollinators.

    Consult the Relative Toxicities of Insecticides and Miticides table in the Pest Management Guidelines. Where pesticides are suggested in the Pest Management Guidelines, click on the Protect bees button for the Bee precaution pesticide ratings, based on reported pesticide effects on adults and brood of honey bees and other bee species. For more information see Protecting Natural Enemies and Pollinators.

  • Potential for water quality problems

    Where pesticides are suggested in the Pest Management Guidelines, click on the Compare Treatments button to see data from the UC IPM WaterTox database for those pesticides.

  • Impact on aquatic invertebrates

    See the publication Pesticide Choice (PDF).

  • Chemical mode of action

    If pesticide resistance is an issue, it's important to use pesticides with different modes of action. See Herbicide Resistance (PDF).

    Pesticide Resistance Online Training

  • Endangered species

    Find out whether there are endangered species near your site using the Department of Pesticide Regulation's PRESCRIBE program.

Before an application

  • Ensure that spray equipment is properly calibrated to deliver the desired pesticide amount for optimal coverage.
  • Use appropriate spray nozzles and pressure to minimize off-site movement of pesticides.
  • Avoid spraying during these conditions:
    • Wind speed over 10 and under 3 mph
    • Temperature inversions
    • Just prior to rain or irrigation (unless it is specifically recommended, as when incorporating a soil-applied pesticide)
    • At tractor speeds over 2 mph
  • Identify and take special care to protect sensitive areas (for example, waterways or riparian areas) surrounding your application site.
  • Review and follow labeling for pesticide handling, personal protection equipment (PPE) requirements, storage, and disposal guidelines.
  • Check and follow restricted-entry intervals (REI) and preharvest intervals (PHI).

After an application

  • Record application date, product used, rate, and location of application.
  • Follow up to confirm that treatment was effective.

Consider water management practices that
reduce pesticide movement off-site

Air Quality Calculate Emissions button

Air Quality (Calculate Emissions) button. In Pest Management Guidelines, this links to the Volatile Organic Compounds page with links to emissions calculators.

Consider practices that reduce air quality problems

  • When possible, reduce volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions by decreasing the amount of pesticide applied, choosing low-emission management methods, and avoiding emulsifiable concentrate (EC) formulations.
  • Use the Department of Pesticide Regulation calculators to determine VOC emission rates from nonfumigant pesticides.

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