Pesticides are a significant investment for many agricultural producers, and cold weather during storage can ruin some pesticides. Pesticides also must be stored properly and in a secured place to meet regulations and keep persons and the environment safe. Winter months are also a good time to make sure your pesticide inventory is up-to-date and complete. Here are a few guidelines to follow.
Specific Storage Requirements
Specific storage needs for pesticides is usually found near the beginning of the label in the STORAGE and DISPOSAL section. You need to read this section and follow those requirements carefully. Store pesticides in their original containers. Many dry materials should be stored in a cool, dry location, with good ventilation. Partially used bags of dry formulated pesticides can be stored in clear, sealable plastic bags to keep moisture out to avoid clumping or caking. Many liquid pesticides must be stored above a specific temperature to avoid crystallization, separation, or active ingredients falling out of solution; It may not be possible to re-suspend these materials so that the chemicals can be used in the future. These temperature requirements for storage are found on the individual pesticide labels and will vary by product.
Pesticides must be stored in a locked area, either a locked cabinet or room with signage indicating this is a pesticide storage area. This should be away from children, untrained adults, and animals. The area should be well-lit and ventilated. I prefer to store pesticides in plastic bins so that if a jug ruptures or a bag tears, the pesticide spill would be contained. It is also good to store herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides separately, as well as storing dry materials separate from liquids. Keep a current inventory of your pesticides, this will let you manage ordering new products more effectively.
Personal Protection Equipment
Winter is a good time to also inspect your personal protective equipment (PPE) to make certain it is in good condition. Reusable PPE should be cleaned after each use and be air-dried before storage, as well as stored in areas away from pesticides. Respirators can be stored in sealable plastic bags after they are thoroughly air dried to avoid mold. Check your inventory of respirator cartridges, gloves, and disposable suits for the coming season.
Ric Bessin, Extension Entomologist