“Pesticide” can refer to any substance used to control or prevent pests, including weeds, insects, rodents, fungus, and more. (Herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, and rodenticides are all pesticides.) Included are common household products used to control ants, mice, and spiders. Products used to control dandelions and other weeds, as well as pests like wasps and mosquitoes and even fleas on pets.
Pesticides help protect us from diseases carried by insects (like West Nile virus and Lyme disease). Weeds such as poison ivy and poison oak are harmful to people. Other weeds are harmful to livestock. Weeds also attract stinging insects and cause cracking and breaking of concrete, making sidewalks difficult to use and increasing repair costs.
Controlling weeds and insects helps keeps our homes pest-free and our lawns, parks, and other outdoor spaces usable. A recent ban of cosmetic use of pesticides in Canada has led to more expensive road maintenance needs and the degradation of sidewalks and playgrounds as uncontrolled weeds crack and break-up concrete and blacktop. Many weeds also trigger allergic reactions.
In agriculture, pesticides are used to protect crops from damage and diseases. Insects spread diseases and damage fruits and vegetables. When an insect takes a bit out of a plant, the wound is open to infection.
Weeds compete with plants for water, nutrients and sunlight.
How do I use pesticides safely?
The label is the law. Read and follow instructions to ensure safe use and effective pest control.
The first step in safe and effective pest control is to accurately identify the pest. Choose right and use right by following these steps:
If you're not sure, call a professional. Anyone who applies pesticides professionally must be trained and licensed.
Just as pesticides help protect us from stinging and biting insects, pesticides also protect pets from flies, mosquitoes, fleas and ticks. Always read and follow the label when applying pesticides. When using pest control products around your home:
Did you know that an adequate, reliable food supply couldn’t be guaranteed without crop protection products?
Pesticides used by organic farmers are made from natural products.
Natural does not mean non-toxic.
Organic pest control products must be used according to label directions.
If misused, organic products can harm humans, animals and the environment.