Wednesday, 30 May 2007


Could you tell me a bit about pesticides on the market, there are so many I don’t know which to use. Thanks D.K. by e-mail.

Reply: Before I begin I must stress that if you can avoid using pesticides then do so. Even the products that claim to be safe and biodegradable, they have probably just polluted a different part of the planet when being produced. That aside if you feel that you have a problem with pests, disease or weeds and cannot find an organic solution then read on. The word Pesticide is the legal term given to substances used to control pests, diseases and weeds or to modify plant growth, e.g. rooting powders Make sure you get the most out of these products by carefully reading the labels; these contain vital information on how to use the product safely and effectively.

Label requirements
The results of the manufacturers research are summarised on the pesticide label, on the container and often on other packaging or in leaflets enclosed with the product. Once you have found a product that suits your needs, follow the instructions carefully to benefit from the best application methods, the most effective and economical dosages and avoid risking their own safety and of other people and of the environment. Even those pesticides acceptable for use in organic gardening must carry essential advice and information on their labels. Some information on labels is legally binding. Although the Garda are unlikely to raid potting sheds, most gardeners will be at pains to use pesticides in a lawful and responsible manner, and adhere to the statutory conditions of use.

Statutory information
Statutory information appears on packaging as a box labeled ‘Statutory Conditions for Use’ and normally includes information on what the product is used for such as: what the product ids meant to do and how much you should use etc.

A five figure Ministerially Approved Pesticide Product' (MAPP) number that identifies the product. This means that it has been tested and is safe ONLY to use for the purposes stated. Some pesticides for use in the home and other buildings don't have MAPP numbers - e.g. sprays and dusts for controlling ants, wasps and wasp nests, woodlice and flying insects indoors. These are registered and tested under a different scheme run by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and are given four figure HSE numbers. These numbers by no means identify the product as being safe.

Contact details and advice
Manufacturers contact details, including a helpline telephone number, must also be included on labels in case we have any mishaps. The MAPP number will assist the helpline staff in the event of queries. Helpline staff have access to all the data from research and can advise on their products.


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