To Spray or Not to Spray...?

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
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Integrated Pest Management Has the Answer!

Spring is here and you may have already started planning this year’s garden. As you plan out your garden, there are some steps you can take to avoid pest problems in efforts to reduce the use of pesticides. Any chemical applied to prevent, mitigate, or repel pests (herbaceous, rodent, or insect), is considered a pesticide. Please use these products carefully and only as part of an integrated pest management plan. 

What is integrated pest management?   

Integrated Pest management brings together, or integrates, a range of biological, organic, cultural, mechanical, and chemical options for pest problems. There are many steps you can take to prevent pest problems and minimize the application of pesticides. This includes: 

  • Mechanical controls such as mulching, weeding, and/or improving drainage 
  • Cultural controls such as choosing the best plant for the right location.  
  • Biological controls, such as encouraging beneficial insects so they predate other more nuisance bugs 

Read the Label - It’s the Law.  Important information is contained on the label such as: 

  • Target pest  
  • Environmental hazards 
  • Human hazards - signal words (PDF) 
  • Application rate 


Want to learn more about how to manage pest, reduce pesticide use and have the garden of your dreams?  Check out: 

National Pesticide Information Center’s low toxicity products page. This can help you sort out the products that are going to be the least harmful while still helping to impose control over a nuisance pest. Cornell IPM has some good pest management guidance for both the at-home gardener and larger agricultural institutions. If you decide you have a real problem, you may want to hire a professional. If so, New York State Pesticide Administration Database can be a great resource to look up certified businesses in your area! Questions? We're here: or 518-402-8748.