Many gardeners prefer using only organic pest management techniques. However, sometimes it is necessary to bring out the heavy artillery to get rid of tough, voracious pests. Chemical pesticides vary in their toxicity. Malathion is often the chemical of choice because of its effectiveness and low toxicity to humans. But malathion requires careful handling to avoid harming fish and pets. Follow the directions on the malathion package.
Things You'll Need
- Neoprene gloves
- Protective clothing
- Disposable container (optional)
- Garden aerosol sprayer
- Soap and water
Follow the Directions
Wear protective clothing and neoprene gloves to keep malathion from coming in contact with skin. Wear gloves, long pants, long sleeves, a hat, and a mask that fits over the nose and mouth. Malathion has low toxicity to humans but practicing good safety measures all the time prevents lapses when handling more dangerous chemicals.
Read the directions on the malathion container and follow them to the letter. If any mixing is required, use a disposable container that cannot be inadvertently re-used for storing food. Pour the malathion mixture into the garden sprayer and secure the sprayer lid.
Spray the malathion on plant surfaces where insect damage is noticeable. Also spray any organic material under the plants that may harbor pests. Monitor the area for two or three days and repeat the malathion application if required.
Avoid smoking, eating, or drinking while using malathion. When finished spraying, wash the outsides of the neoprene gloves with soap and water before removal. Remove any clothing that was worn during the malathion application and launder it as soon as possible. Wash any skin with soap and water that might have been exposed to malathion.
Return any unused portion of malathion to its original container. Wear neoprene gloves while washing and rinsing the sprayer. Do not dispose of the rinse water by dumping it down a drain or into nearby bodies of water. Place it in a sealable container. Consult state and local guidelines for mandated procedures regarding disposal of unused malathion and contaminated washing and rinsing water. Guidelines vary by locale.