Integrated Pest Management · Agriculture and Natural Resources
University of California
Mitigating pesticide hazards
IPM and the environment
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:
Impact on natural enemies and pollinators
Consult the Relative Toxicities of Insecticides and Miticides table in the Pest Management Guidelines.
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 .
Chemical mode of action
If pesticide resistance is an issue, it's important to use pesticides with different modes of action. See Herbicide Resistance .
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.
- Learn how Smart Sprayer technology saves money and protects orchards and the environment.
- Avoid spraying during these conditions:
- Wind speed over 5 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
- Consult relevant publications.
- Consult the Department of Pesticide Regulation Ground Water Protection Program (GWPA) Web site for pesticide information and mitigation measures.
- Install an irrigation recirculation or storage and reuse system.
- Use drip rather than sprinkler or flood irrigation.
- Limit irrigation to the amount required by using soil moisture monitoring and evapotranspiration (ET) estimates. See Understanding Your Orchard's Water Requirements
- Consider using cover crops.
- Consider using vegetative filter strips or ditches.
- Install sediment traps.
- Use polyacrylamide (PAM) tablets in furrows to prevent off-site movement of sediments.
- Redesign inlets and outlets into tailwater ditches to reduce erosion.
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 fumigant and nonfumigant pesticides.
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