4 Considerations when Choosing Pesticides

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There are a myriad of pesticide companies and products available to cannabis cultivators. Some are organic, others are chemical-based; some are oils; others are soap; some are systemic, others are contact, and the list goes on.

Arborjet’s Horticulture Technical Specialist Matt Andrus shares four considerations growers should keep in mind when searching for the right treatment.

  1. Make sure it’s approved. The fear of losing a crop due to a pest is a common occurrence and often leads to using non-approved pesticides. The real fear is applying a toxic chemical that makes the crop not suitable for consumption or retail sale. There is now an extensive list outlining the approved active ingredients and products allowed in cannabis production. Using products that are not on this list can pose a health hazard to growers, applicators, processors and customers. All cannabis products cultivated for retail sales must be tested by approved labs before being placed in dispensaries.
  2. Protect yourself and your employees. The next thing to consider is human exposure and wearing the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Frequency of exposure is great concern in horticulture and agriculture; so always read the label and look for signal words such as: “caution,” “warning” and “danger”. Pesticides have classifications ranging from: Unlikely to present acute hazard to Extremely Hazardous.  Understanding the chemistries used in pest management helps to prevent misuse and potential negative effect on human health and the environment.
  3. Reference government resources. The DOA has a list of approved products and is regularly updated with new additions and removals. That is the safest way to choose a pest control product. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a classification system called Federal Insecticide, Fungicide & Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Minimum Risk Pesticide Products, commonly referred to as: 25(b) Products. There are two parts to this classification. This first part is Active Ingredients (A.I.). The second part is Inert Ingredients. All A.I.’s and Inert Ingredients have a “Food” and “Non-Food” use classification. Each ingredient is identified by the Chemical Abstract Service Number (CAS #).
  4. Use food-grade product when possible. Finally, using food-grade products to manage pests is a simple way to remain compliant. If the crop must be tested for approval for retail sales you can rest assured that the 25(b) food approved products won’t fail a crop in laboratory testing.

Source: Cannabis Business Times

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