Hefner, M. 2019, Tips for Using Pesticides Safely, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno. IP

Tips for Using Pesticides Safely

Remember, pesticides are designed to kill or repel pests. Keep yourself, your family and your pets safe by following these tips:

  • Start by verifying that a pest problem exists. Identify the pest. Make sure you need to use a pesticide. Check out all the other options first.
  • Select a product that will work on the particular pest.
  • Choose products that are sold as "ready-to-use." These pesticides don't require mixing, so there's less risk of a spill and accidental exposure.

Photo of a pesticide label that indicates that it is ready to use

  • Before you purchase, use or dispose of a product, read the entire label. It has important information on the safe use of the product, and it's your legal obligation.
  • Products labeled with the signal word "CAUTION" are the safest. Look for this word on the label.

Photo of a pesticide label that says caution

  • Don't apply more than the maximum rate listed on the label.
  • Always wear all the personal protective equipment listed on the label when mixing or applying pesticides.

Photo of a man administrating pesticides while wearing gloves, eye protection and a hat

  • Don't smoke, eat or drink while making an application. Stop, remove your gloves, and wash your hands.
  • Wash carefully after using a pesticide or during an application if you need to use the bathroom.
  • Wash the clothes you wore while making the application separately from your other laundry.
  • Never spray when it's windy or raining.
  • Keep children, toys, pets and their food and water bowls out of the area while you spray. Don't let them into the area until the time specified on the product label has passed.
  • Keep pesticides safely locked up away from children. Never repackage them into other containers. Store pesticides at the right temperature. The label has that information.
  • Dispose of pesticides and their containers properly. Contact Nevada Department of Agriculture, 775-353-3715, for information on pesticide disposal.

Learn more about the author(s)


Also of Interest:

Protecting Pollinators/ Protegiendo a los Polinizadores
This bilingual (Spanish and English) publication describes how to protect pollinators during a pesticide application. It also describes native bees and provides additional resources for information. This is one of a series of 10 Pesticide Use and Safety/ Uso y Seguridad de Pestic...
Hefner, M., Kratsch, H., Fisher, J. and Schaerer, M.F. 2020, University of Nevada, Reno Extension Fact Sheet FS-20-10
mowing lawn
Certified Nursery Workers (2019)
A list of certified Nursery Workers from the 2019 Green Industry Training program.
Fisher, J. 2019, Extension website
Insect Management
Applying IPM strategies: Insect control can be split into these five separate categories.
Hefner, M. 2019, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno. IP
Tips for Lower-risk Pest Control
Products are available that have less risk to the user and others. Select these whenever appropriate.
Hefner, M. 2019, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, IP
Tips for Managing Insect Pests in the Landscape
Did you know that 99% of all insects are not harmful to you or your landscape? Determine which insects are helpful and head head off insect pests by following these tips:
Hefner, M. 2019, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno. IP.

Associated Programs

ladybug larva eating aphids on a pepper plant

Integrated Pest Management

Integrated Pest Management program is a long-term management strategy that uses a combination of tactics to reduce pests to tolerable levels with potentially lower costs for the pest manager and minimal effect on the environment.


Extension Director's Office | On the campus of University of Nevada, Reno