pes-ti-cide: any substance used to kill, repel or otherwise control a pest. Pesticides are often referred to by the type of pest they control: insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, rodenticides and disinfectants (to name a few).
What you should know
Think how many pesticides exist around your home—in the garage, under the kitchen sink or in the backyard shed. An all purpose insecticide for the garden, an herbicide for weed control, indoor ant and roach sprays, outdoor foggers, insect repellents, flea collars and shampoo for the pets—even chlorine bleach—are pesticides commonly found in homes.
Too often people think many pesticides are "safe" just because they may be purchased at the local hardware store, garden supply or supermarket.
Pesticides are designed to be toxic—poisonous— to particular pests. That means if used improperly, a pesticide product could pose risks to children and adults, pets and beneficial creatures and plants.
To protect yourself and others, read the pesticide label carefully. The label is a legal document that tells what pests the product controls and where it can be applied. It also tells how to mix, store and dispose of unused portions or empty containers. For garden use products, the label says how long you must wait before picking a treated food crop.
It's wise to read the label before buying a pesticide, as well as before every application, even if you think you're familiar with the product. Don't rely on memory.
And, use the exact amounts directed by the label and under the conditions specified for the purpose listed. Using any pesticide in a way not consistent with the label is illegal. Also, don't think double strength makes for a better product. It doesn't. Improper use increases your risk of exposure.
List of common pesticides
Algicides—control algea in swimming pools, lakes, canals and water used industrially or stored
Disinfectants and sanitizers—kill or inactivate disease-producing microorganisms (like bacteria and viruses) on inanimate objects
Fungicides—kill fungi (many infect and cause diseases in plants, animals and people; examples: rusts, mildews, blights and molds)
Fumigants—produce gas or vapor to destroy insects, fungi, bacteria or rodents
Herbicides—kill weeds and other plants
Miticides—kill mites that feed on plants and animals
Microbials—microorganisms that kill, inhibit or out compete pests, including insects or other microorganisms
Molluscicides—kill snails and slugs
Nematicides—kill nematodes (microscopic, wormlike organisms that feed on plant roots)
Ovicides—kill eggs of insects and mites
Repellents—repel pests, including birds and insects
Rodenticides—control mice and other rodent pests