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Pesticides come in a variety of forms and are so common in America today that it is estimated that over 85% of all households have at least one pesticide product present at any given time. Especially in South Florida, where high temperatures and moisture levels in the air provide highly hospitable environments for many household pests and wild plants, unwelcome home visitors seem to prove a particularly difficult problem. However, not all pesticides are the same and many perform very specific functions, so a little research in advance is definitely recommended to ensure that application is done smoothly and safely.

When choosing the right pesticide, there are a few very important questions to ask yourself:

1. Do I want to kill, control, or repel pests? Attempting to destroy a current invasion requires a different pesticide than if you are simply taking preventative measures to make sure that none occurs. It’s important to understand the differences and how they apply to your desired outcome, otherwise you may find certain products ineffective.

2. Do I need a targeted or broad spectrum pesticide? If you are only going after a certain weed or pest, and want to prevent harm to any surrounding plants, then targeted pesticides are best. Broad spectrum pesticides were designed to kill almost anything in their paths, and must be used carefully to avoid harming areas you’d like to preserve.

3. Should I use chemical or organic pesticides? These terms refer to the processes by which the products were derived, with chemical pesticides having been chemically produced and organic pesticides having been derived from naturally occurring substances. However, just because a product is organic does not necessarily make it safer or less toxic than its chemical counterparts, so you should aways check a product’s toxicity label. This label is required on all pesticides by the Environmental Protection Agency and rates products on four levels (caution-warning-danger-poison).

4. Are there any alternatives to using pesticides? Because pesticides can be hazardous to your health and the environment, they should only be used when absolutely necessary. For example, problematic weeds in your yard should always be handpicked before attempting to treat them with pesticides, and if you are using pesticides as a preventative measure, an actual risk should always be present or else you risk creating problems where none might have existed otherwise.

Also important to note, the terms “pesticide” and “insecticide” do not mean the same thing, although they are often used interchangeably. Insecticides are only one type of pesticide, as the term “pesticide” actually incapsulates a variety of products. While insecticides are only used on insects, and usually on specific types of insects, pesticides can also be used on weeds, fungi, slugs and snails, rodents, and soil-bound pests such as nematodes. Understanding the correct use of these terms, as well as the specific functions of certain pesticides, can go a long way in helping you choose the right product for your situation.

For more information on keeping your lawn or garden pristine and free of unwanted visitors, pay a visit to the Lawn & Garden Center at Shell Lumber in Miami. We offer only the highest quality products available, and at prices that we are proud of, so that your home in South Florida can look and feel its best year round.


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