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Updated Jul 16, 2022


  • First, read pesticide product labels. Carefully follow the instructions.
  • Pesticide labels have specific information to help protect people, pets, and the environment from harm.
  • Follow the tips below to minimize the risk of pesticide products.


Before application

  • Remove toys, pet food, and water dishes from the application area.
  • Avoid or cover items such as wellheads, play structures, pet living or sleeping areas, vegetable gardens, and sensitive plants.
  • If the application will be near a house, close the doors and windows and turn off air intakes such as air conditioners.

During application

  • Don’t use the high-pressure settings, unless directed by the label. This can create small particles that may linger in the air, and drift off-site.
  • Don’t spray when it’s windy, or the product may drift away from the application site.
  • Keep people and pets out of the area until sprays have dried.

After application

  • Keep people and pets out of the area until sprays have dried, or longer if directed by the label.
  • Be aware that damp or shaded areas may not dry as quickly as sunny locations.
  • If you have to walk on the treated area, remove shoes before going inside to minimize tracked-in residue on floors.


Before application

  • Remove food, toys, pet food and water dishes, and any bedding in the application area.
  • Close doors to rooms, closets, and cupboards that are not infested.
  • Determine the location of air ducts and openings so they can be avoided. Turn off central heating and air conditioning.

During application

  • Apply at low pressure to avoid creating small particles that linger in the air.
  • Avoid treating food-preparation areas, the interior of pantries, or pet feeding or sleeping areas, unless directed by the label.
  • In order to prevent accidents, avoid interruptions or distractions.

After application

  • Speed up drying time by opening windows and turning on fans.
  • Keep kids and pets out of the treated area until sprays have dried.


Before application

  • Cover, avoid, or remove any items that could capture granules, such as potted plants, pathways, or bird baths.

During application

  • Avoid getting granules stuck in pant legs, shoe laces, etc.
  • If using a broadcast spreader, be careful not to fling the product into non-target areas such as gardens, pools, playgrounds, etc.

After application

  • Keep pets and children out of the area until the granules are “watered in” and the surface is dry. Check the label for application directions for your specific product.
  • Use caution when mowing, edging, or trimming if granules are still visible. The process might chop them up and fling them into the air.


Before application

  • Determine the location of air ducts and openings so they can be avoided. Turn off any heating or cooling systems during the application to avoid disturbing the dust.
  • Remove items such as food, toys, pet food and water dishes, and any bedding or clothing that will be in or near the application area.
  • If drilling holes is necessary for the application, plan and perform the drilling before starting the application.

During application

  • Avoid putting your face close to the application site.
  • Avoid driving excess dust into the air.
  • Avoid wind, drafts, or ventilation that could carry the product to unintended areas.

After application

  • If any dust goes airborne, keep people and pets away until it settles. Clean up the area as needed, according to the label directions.
  • If there is visible excess dust outside of cracks and crevices, clean it up according to the label directions.
  • There should never be piles of pesticide dust left lying around.


The National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC)  can answer questions about pest control chemicals.
 1-800-858-7378 or  

Content provided by Kaci Buhl and Weston Miller.

 Peer reviewed by OSU Department of Horticulture.

Photo of Kaci Buhl

Kaci Buhl

At the state level, I lead the Pesticide Safety Education Program (PSEP). The program hosts live recertification events around the state, serving over 1,000 licensed pesticide applicators each year. We also produce web-based training modules and license-preparation study manuals. Special training for unlicensed pesticide applicators is also available through a grant from the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. The PSEP at OSU works closely with the Oregon Department of Agriculture's Pesticides Division.

Photo of Weston Miller

Weston Miller

Project Founder and Content Writer

Weston Miller served as Community and Urban Horticulture faculty for Oregon State University Extension Service for Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington Counties. Weston is an author for content for this website. He developed funding partnerships with Portland area agencies to initiate and build out the Solve Pest Problems website focused on this goals: