News of the deaths in Amarillo, TX caused by a restricted use pesticide, sends a chill through the hearts of pest control professionals. Authorities are looking into why the family had the pesticide pellets, called Weevil-cide, which may only be sold to licensed, certified applicators. According to Amarillo Fire Capt. Larry Davis, the father of the children who died told first responders that he had spread the pellets under the family’s mobile home after obtaining the product from a friend.

Nothing will lessen this tragedy, so let’s at least learn from it.

1. Read and Follow the Label. A pesticide label may contain 15 parts—all of which are important, so read the entire label BEFORE use.  If the label states “For use by Certified Applicators”–do not use unless you are a certified applicator. To do so is against the law. If the label states “USE OF THIS PRODUCT IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED…”–do not use in a manner that is prohibited. If a pesticide label contains the signal word “DANGER” or “WARNING,” the product may not be appropriate for use without extensive training and it is rarely appropriate in a residential setting. If you cannot read the label because is it missing, damaged, too small, or in a language you do not understand, do not use the product.

2. Only Use Products Stored in the Original Packaging. If the product you are going to use is not in the original container or doesn’t have a label, STOP. Do not use it! Your safety is not worth the risk.

3. More and Stronger is Not Better. Untrained individuals should not ask for or use “Professional Grade” pesticides. Often these pesticides are either formulated for agriculture or warehouse food storage, or must be diluted. The correct amount of pesticide to use is the amount listed on the label for your situation. Some pesticides reduce a pest population over time. Give the product time to work. Do not reapply too soon. Overuse of pesticides poses a risk to your health and the environment.

Weevil-cide Label Highlighted