Safe Pesticide Storage

Generally, manufacturers recommend a 2-year storage period for pesticides. However, storage times vary with active ingredient, formulation, type of container, and storage conditions. Get the most out of carry-over products by carefully reading the Storage and Disposal section of each label for pesticides that you store over the winter.

Proper Pesticide Storage

Proper pesticide storage keeps people safe and preserves your investment. Buy carefully to avoid having large volumes of products to store from one season to another.

  • Choose a cool, dry, well-ventilated storage area that will remain between 40o F and 100o F. This area must have adequate lighting so that labels can be read easily and containers can be checked regularly for leaks, corrosion, or deterioration. Each storage site must have a supply of clean water and an eyewash dispenser immediately available for emergencies.
  • Secure the site to keep unauthorized people out. Post signs on doors and windows to alert people that pesticides are stored there.
Figure 1.  Post signs on doors and windows of the pesticide storage area.

Figure 1. Post signs on doors and windows of the pesticide storage area.

  • The floor of the storage site should be made of sealed cement, glazed ceramic tile, no-wax sheet flooring, or another easily cleaned material. Have spill clean-up materials available.
  • Store pesticides in their original containers. Never put them in containers that might cause children and other people to mistake them for food or drink.
  • Keep liquids on lower shelves and dry formulations above them. Keep herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides in separate areas to avoid picking up the wrong product and to avoid contamination. Store combustible pesticides away from open flames and other heat sources. Volatile pesticides should be stored apart from other types of pesticides, other chemicals, feed, and seed.
  • Inspect the storage site to determine the likely path of pesticides in case of spills, leaks, drainage of equipment wash water, and heavy pesticide runoff from firefighting or floods.
  • Keep an up-to-date inventory of stored pesticides. The inventory list also will aid in insurance settlements and in estimating future pesticide needs. Mark each pesticide container with the date of purchase before it is stored. Use older materials first.

Kentucky Department of Agricultural (KDA) Chemical Collections Program

The KDA program deals only with unwanted agricultural pesticides. It does not include such items as motor oils, cleaners, paint, antifreeze, or industrial chemicals. There is no cost to farmers to dispose of old chemicals! Over-pack supplies, transporting of unwanted chemicals, and their disposal is paid for by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

KDA field representatives will come to your farm to package, load, and transport the unwanted chemicals from your farm. Once the unwanted chemicals leave the farm, they are then taken to an approved landfill or incinerator for proper disposal, thus reducing or eliminating the potential for pollution to the land and waters of Kentucky.

Call the KDA at (800)-327-6568 or (502) 573-0282 to take advantage of this service. You may be put on a waiting list for chemical collection disposal due to budget limitations.


By Lee Townsend, Extension Entomologist




Posted in Pesticide Topics