Key points in safe use of pest control product
Farming systems in the tropics( Kenya included):
- Crop production in the tropics is abound with pest and diseases which thrive in these climates.
- Subsistence small scale farming or commercial production under mono crop or mixed crop systems rely on various approaches to keep the losses from pest at the lowest level possible.
- Farmers are encouraged to use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices so as to achieve economic yields from their farms.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM):
IPM is the use of several pest suppression methods so as to achieve an economic yield from the farm. These management options can be classified according to their nature as being either Cultural, Mechanical, Biological, physical or Chemical.
IPM is based on the farmer understanding the history of the farm so as to predict the possible pest attacks which may occur in the course of the production season. Regular scouting andmonitoring of the farm should be done by the farmer to determine pest levels that require the farmer to take action.
Not all pest attacks shall require the farmer to make chemical applicationsince he/she has various options depending on the severity of the pest.
Cultural methods– These are the day to day good agricultural practices carried out by the farmer that have a result of reducing the pest population in the farm. These are activities such as crop rotation, weeding, clearing of the bushes, removal of infected plants, proper spacing of plants along rows and between plants and other such practices.
Mechanical/ Physical Methods: These are methods of pest management that require the use of physical barriers to prevent the pest. These may be methods such as the use of shade nets, green houses, plastic mulch, use of mechanical traps (light trap, water trap, light traps) and the ploughing of land to expose the pest to harsh weather.
Biological Methods:This involves the use of other living things or their products to compete or destroy the pest from the farm. These can be methods such as the use of insects and microorganisms that feed on the pest, insects/microorganisms that affect the reproduction of the pest, use of plant extracts and the use of pheromone traps which attract the males before killing them.
Chemical Methods: this method employs the use of chemicals to kill or chase the pest. It is used as a last resort and should always be used together with other IPM methods.
- The choice and time of application of the chemicals should always be done in such a way that its use does not reduce the effectiveness of the other methods.
Safety of Chemical Pest Control Products:
There are nine things that are vital in safe pest management which are as follows:
- Pest control products are designed to control a specific range of pests or diseases on a particular crop. Inspect your farm regularly (Scouting) to identify which pests and diseases need to be controlled and what management options are available in your area.
- Where there is more than one suitable Pest Control Product, select the one that is specific to the pest you have identified on your farm. Regular scouting will indicate when a broader spectrum product is needed, so as to address the wider range of pests or diseases on your farm.
- The Same Active ingredient should not be used repeatedly against the same pest/disease during the season as this increases the risk of the target pest becoming immune (pest resistance) to the pest control product.
Before purchasing pest control products:
- Ensure you can clearly identify the pest/disease you want to manage by scouting on the farm. Seek guidance from extension officers if in doubt.
- Know the size of the area where the pest control product is to be applied. This will assist you in purchasing a sufficient amount that will not overstay in your store.
- Buy the appropriate amount for specific use in specific duration.
- Consider the capacity of your store if there is need to store products on the farm.
While purchasing pest control products:
- Buy pest control products from licensed agro dealers only. The agrovet should have a PCPB license and should preferably be accredited by PCPB and Agrochemicals Association of Kenya (AAK).
- Be aware of counterfeits and other unregistered pest control products! Only use pest control products purchased from registered and licensed manufacturers and agrodealers.
- Read the pest control product label carefully to identify:
- The pest it controls
- dosage rates
- mode of action of the pest control product
- its toxicity- indicated on the colour band
- pre-harvest interval
- expiry date
- when to apply the pest control product
- if the product has the correct 4 digit PCPB registration number (-PCPB- CR XXXX)
- if some security features such as holograms on specific products are missing
- Ensure all seals are intact and not tampered with.
- Check the packaging to see if it has any leaks.
- The receiptshould have contacts of the seller and working phonenumbers.
- Request for the proper measuring equipment fromyour dealer.
- If you purchase many pest control products, ensure they areplaced in an appropriate packaging that reduceschances of breakage and mistaken poisoning. Solidsshould be separated from liquids.
- Isolate pest control products from food or animal feed to avoid contamination.
- Before loading, ensure there are no sharp objects that may puncture the pest control product container.
- Safely secure pest control product containers with ropes and fasteners to avoid tipping over and spillage.
- Declare pest control products to the driver of public transport.
- Transport pest control products in the luggage area of the bus or taxi.
- Keep a proper record ledger to ensure products are not overstocked/understocked
- Check expiry dates on a regular basis. Use products that came in first before opening newer ones (first in, first out)
- Store liquid pest control products and dry formulation pest control products separately.
- Keep them dry, but away from fires, and out of direct sunlight.
- Keep the store locked and out of children’s reach.
- Keep them in their original containers with a readable label.
- DO NOT store crop protection products with food or animal feeds to avoid contamination.
- DO NOT store crop protection products for farm use in living quarters.
- After use, rinse the empty pesticide container three times(triple rinsing) and always empty the rinsate to the knapsack/mixing tank you are about to spray.
- Puncture the triple rinsed container so it cannot be used for domestic purposes.
- Take the container to a designated Empty Pesticide Container CollectionCentre as advised by the extension officer or agrodealer.
The golden rule is: The HIGHER the toxicity of the pest control product the MORE protective equipment you need to wear. Get the professional advice from agrodealer/agronomist and on the Toxicological color band at the bottom of all registered pest control products.
- Goggles: To protect the eyes.
- Face shield: To protect the eyes and face.
- Mask: To protect the nose and mouth from dust formulations.
- Respirator: To protect the nose and mouth from liquid and gaseous formulations.
- Overalls: To protect the legs, arms and body.
- Hat: To protect the head, ears and forehead.
- Apron: To protect the front of the body.
- Hood: To protect the head, neck and ears.
- Boots: To protect the feet. It is best to wear heavy-duty rubber.
- Gloves: To protect the hands. long-sleeve non-reactive nitrile rubber gloves are recommended.
- Read the recommended dosage from the pest control product label.
- Know your sprayer output calibration i.e. how much product the sprayer’snozzle discharges per unit area. (mls/M2).
- Know the exact size of the area to be treated or estimate it as closely as possible.
- The amount of diluted pest control product that is required can then be calculated as; Area to be sprayed (M2 ) X Calibration factor (mls/M2).
- Ensure you read the label before applying pest control products.
- Wear protective clothing and equipment at all times.
- Wash hand after applying pest control products
- Keep people and domestic animals away from the field while spraying.
- Take regular breaks to rest and concentrate on the job you are busy with. Mistakes can be dangerous.
- Mix only enough for the day’s work.
- Check regularly for leakages.
- Observe a buffer zone of at least 15 meters between the crops you spray and any waterbody.
- Clean up your body using running water after application of pest control products.
- Clean the personal protective equipment and application equipment after each use.
- NEVER allow anyone to be at the farm during and immediately after your application. Observe the recommended Re-Entry Intervals (REI) as given on the product label
- Don’t apply pest control products if the wind is causing excessive drift of products away from the target.
- Don’t spray during extremely hot periods of the day. Good to spray early morning and late in the evening
- Don’t spray when rain is anticipated. Get professional advice from trained agrodealers, the meteorological department or your nearest agricultural officer.
- Don’t eat, drink or smoke while applying pest control products.
- Don’t spray directly overhead. There will be a higher risk of exposure to pest control product.
- Don’t suck on blocked nozzles or unblock nozzles with a sharp object. Instead, use a fine brush to clean and unclog your nozzles and filters.
- Don’t spray left-over pest control product mixtures on crops.
- Incorrect identification of the Pest.
- Incorrect Pest Control Product used
- Incorrect timing of application of the Pest Control Product.
- Incorrect amount/dosage of the Pest Control Product.
- Incorrect application equipment