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Using and Storing Insecticides

So you do your own exterminating?  No problem.  Lots of people do.  There are specific rules to follow if you do.

First of all, remember that all insecticides are POISONS.  And even though they are designed to kill insects, many of them will also have a deleterious effect on mammals (that's us) too.  So you have to handle all of them with care.

The first thing to remember is to READ AND FOLLOW THE LABEL.  The label on every product tells you everything you need to know to use it.  So when it says you should use one ounce, you don't use two ounces because you have a "bad problem." Most insecticides are designed to be used at that one concentration - and they act best at that concentration, so don't deviate from that amount.

Before you purchase your product, make sure that it's what you need.  Read the label, make sure the pests you intend to control are on the label.  That will mean that it was designed to affect that insect.  If the insect is NOT on the label, don't use it.  

Make sure the container is sealed and unopened.  And when YOU store it, keep it in the original container, store it in a dry, dark, secure place and keep the original receipt with your purchase.  Don't buy more than you need.  Many insecticides have a shelf life, so write the date of purchase on the container, so you'll know how old it is in the future.

If you are purchasing dry insecticides, (granulars) this goes double.  Don't buy more than you'll need in one season, before you buy it, feel it through the package, it should feel like sugar, with no lumps or tears in the package.  Some granulars now come vacuum-packed - similar to the coffee you can buy that comes sealed in a "brick."  For the most part, products packed like this retain their optimum intended state.  Again, use it according to label instructions.

When pouring liquid insecticides, use rubber or latex gloves, eye protection, and, sometimes, a respirator.  (Not a dust mask.)  Any container you use for mixing or measuring should not be used for anything else.  And it's best to use SEPARATE containers for different types of insecticides too.  Some insecticides will react (badly) with other insecticides.

If you've read this far, you might well consider that using a professional exterminator might be a better idea.  For several reasons.  Most important, of course, is safety. Exterminators are trained to use insecticides, we know how they are supposed to be used, where they're supposed to be used, and how much they're supposed to be used. Remember, you can buy a scalpel, but that doesn't make you a doctor....

So if you decide that you're going to do the job yourself, please be careful, FOLLOW THE LABEL, and if what you do doesn't work, call a REAL exterminator.

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