Insecticide Basics for the Pest Management Professional
Decisions concerning the management and prevention of pest infestations in the urban environment should always be knowledge-based. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a decision-making process driven by information collected during an inspection. Pest management professionals (PMPs) committed to an IPM mindset make decisions about pest management that are logical reactions to the information gathered during the inspection process. An IPM mindset, therefore, demands that all options — including a sensible use of pesticides — be considered when developing a pest management action plan. For this reason, PMPs should be skilled in the proper handling and use of pesticides because they will continue to play a role in urban and structural pest management programs for the near future.
The intent of this bulletin is to educate the PMP about pesticides and to instill vigilance in their handling and use. When used responsibly, pesticide-based controls can reduce or eliminate a pest population while maintaining a stable, sound environment. However, because many pesticides are broad-spectrum, they must be used with great care to prevent undesirable effects. In order to understand how to use chemical pest control products responsibly, PMPs must have a basic understanding of the various definitions associated with pesticides, be able to interpret labels and material safety data sheets (including principles of toxicity), be aware of their own safety, understand the mode of action (i.e., how pesticides work) of the various active ingredients they use, and be aware of differences in formulation types. The remainder of this bulletin addresses these various topics.
Daniel R. Suiter, Ph.D.
Department of Entomology University of Georgia Griffin, Georgia
Michael E. Scharf, Ph.D.
Department of Entomology and Nematology University of Florida Gainesville, Florida