Purchasing Pesticides

Tips for Purchasing Insecticides

  • Purchase only enough product to address current pest problems to avoid hazardous storage conditions.
  • Purchase only recently stocked, fresh products, particularly fire ant baits.
  • Know the generic names of insecticides in brand name products. These are found in the contents listing. Many products contain similar ingredients have different use labels and vary in concentration and price.
  • Determine the application equipment needed for apply the products you buy, as well as the required equipment and adjuvants and the product’s compatibility with other pesticides.


  • Know the pH of the water where these pesticides are used. Some insecticides, like malathion, rapidly degrade in alkaline solutions. So, if left in the sprayer diluted and ready to use, the spray could be ineffective after a short storage period. Only mix enough for the immediate application and never leave unused solution in a sprayer.
  • Know applicable regulations (FIFRA section 2ee, etc.).  RESTRICTED USE insecticides can not be purchased without a private or commercial applicator’s license provided in this state by the Texas Department of Agriculture.
  • Keep records of  the cost of the finished spray material (dollars per acre, per ant mound, per 100 gallons, etc.).
  • Understand the product’s mode of action*, rate of kill and other technological characteristics.
  • Develop a label file with cross reference system to access pest/site information for the products you use. Keeping records will help document mistakes like phytotoxic reactions by plants treated, loss of effectiveness (if any) and may be useful in a medical emergency.

* The Insecticide Resistance Action Committee Website, http://www.irac-online.org/teams/mode-of-action/, provides information about the mode of action of insecticides and miticides along with information about managing insecticide resistant pest populations.