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BeSure! to Stay Safe and Protect Pollinators

May 17, 2021
farmer spraying pesticide

The Growing Matters coalition is reminding applicators to wear proper personal protective equipment when spraying pesticides to keep themselves safe.

Product labels cover everything an applicator needs to know about the product – including guidelines to keep the applicator safe and best practices to employ successful Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs. This year’s BeSure! campaign is a reminder to use product labels, and other resources, to keep yourself, pollinators and other wildlife safe when applying pesticides.

Safety should be at the start of every action taken throughout the season. Regardless of the product, BeSure! to cover exposed skin, wear goggles and closed-toed shoes, and use non-absorbent gloves. Depending on the product, the label will outline additional safety precautions or personal protective equipment that should be worn when spraying.

Product labels also provide guidance on applicator certification requirements and much more, including tips to help improve product stewardship and protect pollinators.

IPM programs are one way to do this and employ a combination of practices that control pests and minimize risks to pollinators and other beneficial insects. When spraying crops, using the recommended pesticide at the appropriate labeled rate with the proper timing and placement helps ensure the product remains efficacious and mitigates the risk of pest resistance.

When setting up IPM programs, the following components are critical to maximize the program and enhance pest management:

  • Identify insect pests.
  • Monitor insect pest populations.
  • Scout pests and beneficial insect population levels.
  • Use Economic Threshold Levels or Action Threshold Levels to determine if the pest will cause economic damage.
  • Employ Pest Control Measures, including using pest-resistance varieties and biological, cultural and chemical controls.

These practices help reduce the risk of potential pesticide exposure, improve your stewardship activities, and help protect the sprayer and non-target organisms. For any questions, reach out to your local crop advisor, extension agent or state/country departments of agriculture.

For additional information about product stewardship and what is on the label, please visit www.growingmatters.org/besure or take our Pollinator Stewardship Learning Module to earn CEU credit.

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