Pesticide labels promote bad pest control

How many times have you gotten a chair or toy or just anything from the store that needed to be put together but instead of a 15 minute project you ended up spending 3 hours on the thing, had to take parts off and redo and then had extra parts left over when you were done? I can tell you that being the chief ‘put-er together’ in my house this is one of my most aggravating tasks and the kids and the dogs know to just leave me alone after just a few short minutes. Why is it so hard? The picture looks so grande and the way they put the happy family in the background admiring their new whatchamacallit and at this point I just want to scream!

I put full and total blame on the directions and their incessant need to tell me that part A needs to go to part D after you’ve slid part C into slot F but the little dashed line doesn’t line up with what I’m looking at or the bolt is either to long or to short. Besides most of the specialty hardware is something I’ve never seen before and sometimes if you lock it in where it shouldn’t go it’s to late once you figure out that it’s wrong- that thing is stuck and won’t come out. I’m sure some engineer somewhere with his big thick glasses that keep sliding down his nose and the over sized pencil protector in his pocket is just snickering and snorting at his little joke he’s played on millions of consumers.

I hate to say it but I think pesticide labels are much the same. I’ve been in the industry for a long time and even I have trouble trying topocket protector dude figure out just what the directions are trying to tell me. The mixing and measuring instructions are sometimes the equivalent to an mathematical theory that only Albert Einstein would get. They put tables and charts for all sorts of different situations that really just confuse you and make it very difficult to just find the answer you want. There are inert ingredients with their percentages, statements, disclaimers, medical advice that not even a Doctor would get right off and the always lovely “It is illegal to use this product improperly clause.” Well hell, I’d bet you 90% of the people using the stuff don’t know if they are or if they’re not. It’s kinda like the mattress tag that’s illegal to take off, we all know that someone somewhere say’s not to do it but we don’t know why and we can’t see the harm in it. Riiiiiiiiiiiiip.

My concern is not so much for me or the professional operator cause we sleep-ehem- sit attentively through the safety classes and core ceu’s every year and hear enough to get by. Once you’ve done something long enough you pretty much figure out what’s what and skip through the confusing manusha and find what you need. But what about the new techs and more importantly the home owner? Most products I buy for pest control come with a ‘squeeze or tip’ and pour which is pre measured but have you been to your local big box store lately? Most all of it is pouring the concentrate straight into your sprayer just like professional exterminators did years ago. If the pros get confused by the legalese language of a label what do you think a homeowner is? Down right befuddled!

confusing signs pestcemetery.comThis point hit home not to long ago while I was treating a clients home, they were mixing weed killer in a sprayer and had no idea of how much to put in. We spent a few minutes trying to read the wonderful taped on mini novel (label) on the side of the already pesticide stained jug and couldn’t make heads or tails of what was right. (I think he was missing a page or two besides) I told him without knowing it would be best not to spray at all and to look at the label on line or call the store, he did neither. He simply poured in what he thought looked like enough and then in true DIY fashion added another 5 or 6 ounces just to make it stronger.
He told me the only reason he bought the stuff in the first place was because the picture on the front looked like the weeds he had in his yard.

So maybe that’s the answer and I don’t mean to belittle anyone by saying this. Perhaps pictures are the way to go or prepackaged doses or tip and pours for everything. I’m not saying anyone is dumb because they can’t figure out a label but maybe the ones who wrote it are just too smart.

About The Bug Doctor

Jerry Schappert is a certified pest control operator and Associate Certified Entomologist with over two and a half decades of experience from birds to termites and everything in between. He started as a route technician and worked his way up to commercial/national accounts representative. Always learning in his craft he is familiar with rural pest services and big city control techniques. Jerry has owned and operated a successful pest control company since 1993 in Ocala,Florida. While his knowledge and practical application has benefitted his community Jerry wanted to impart his wisdom on a broader scale to help many more. was born from that idea in 2007 and has been well received. It is the goal of this site to inform you with his keen insights and safely guide you through your pest control treatment needs.

This entry was posted in Safety. Bookmark the permalink.