Pesticides are an essential part of a vineyard's integrated pest management program. Fortunately the vast majority of pesticides used to manage vineyard pests are classified as general use. This does not mean that we should become complaceant about their use. All pesticides - with a few exceptions - must be toxic to living organisms (the ones we consider pests) in order to be effective. Care must be taken when handling pesticides in order to not only insure our personal safety but to also minimze their impact on the surrounding environment.
Classification of Pesticides
The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) requires that all pesticides be classified as either gerneral or restricted use.
Even if you plan to use only 'general use' pesticides and are not required to be a Certified Applicator, it is advisable to do so. The test is relatively easy, and the information that you will learn will be very helpful. The tests are given periodically by The University of Maryland's Cooperative Extension Office. Contact your local Extension Office HERE).
- GENERAL USE PESTICIDES: These pesticides are not likely to harm the environment when used according to label directions. Anyone can but and
use a general use pesticide.
- RESTRICTED USE PESTICIDES: These pesticides may harm humans or the environment even when used according to label directions. You must be a Certified Applicator to buy and use these pesticides.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is worn to protect the body from contact with pesticides. PPE include items such as long-sleeved shirts and long pants, coveralls, aprons, gloves, footwear, respirators, eyewear and headgear. You are legally required to follow all PPE instructions that appear on the label.
Don't carry pesticides in the passenger section of a car, van or truck and never leave the vehicle unattended. Be sure and anchor all containers securely to prevent them from rolling or sliding.
Pesticide labeling lists PPE required during mixing and loading. During these operations, choose a well-ventilated area away from unprotected people, animals, food and other items that might be contaminated. When filling the mix tank, it's a good idea to use a check valve, antisiphoning device or backflow preventer to protect your water source from contamination. Also keep the water pipe or hose well above the level of the pesticide mixture.
If you are using hand-carried application equipment, be aware of dripping or leaky nozzles, hoses and connections. If you're using a backback type sprayer you may want to consider wearing a cape to protect your back and shoulders.
Airblast (mist blower) application of pesticides are common in vineyards and pose a special exposure risk. Large amounts of pesticide fallout can be deposited on your skin and clothing. It is impossible to avoid this exposure - unless you are in an enclosed cab - so it is a good idea to wear more PPE than the pesticide labeling requires.
Always clean all pesticide mixing, loading and applicatiopn equipment as soon as you finish using it. Avoid washing equipment repeatedly in the same location. Over time this can lead to that area becoming contaminated with large amounts of pesticides. Better still, use a containment pad or tray. Rinsates created during the cleanup process can be use as a diluent for future mixes with the same or compatable pesticides.
Store pesticides in well-labeled containers. Use transparent tape to protect the label and to keep it legible. Mark containers with the date of purchase and use older materials first. Keep an accurate inventory of pesticides in storage. This inventory list will be essential in case of an emergency and will also aid in estimating future needs.
If the empty pesticide container cannot be refilled, recyled or returned to the manufacturer, chrush, break of puncture them. Then dispose of in accordance with label directions. Rinsable conatiners should be triple-rinsed before diposing. Most counties provide an annual collection date for properly rinsed pesticide conatiners.
You are legally required to keep records of pesticide applications. These records must be kept for two years and be made available to the MD Dept of Agriculture upon request. These records must contain:
- Name of applicator.
- Address of treated property.
- Date of application.
- Pest and type of plant.
- Acreage of numbet of plants.
- Common name and EPA reg number of pesticide.
- Rate and concentration.
- Total amount used.