Reduce or eliminate pesticide use by following these tips:
- Control weeds in your yard by maintaining a thick, healthy lawn and by mulching your garden.
- Use hand tools to remove weeds, or decide to live with a few weeds.
- Use corn gluten meal for crabgrass control.
- Choose plants that are resistant to insect and disease pests, and plant a wide variety of plants in your landscape.
- Remove diseased plant debris and weeds that often harbor insect pests.
- Store food, bird seed, grass seed, and garbage in tightly sealed containers.
- Thoroughly rinse food and beverage containers before placing them in your recycling bin.
- Store recycling, garbage and pet food in secure containers.
- Take garbage out of the house often and always keep the lid closed on garbage carts.
- Seal wall cracks and spaces under doors to prevent pests from entering your home. Fill in spaces around pipes.
Always follow the application instructions on the label, using only the amount required for the job.
If you decide to use a pesticide, look for a less-toxic alternative. Pesticides labeled with the word "caution" are less toxic than those with "warning" (moderately toxic), or "danger" or "poison" (highly toxic).
Keep pesticides in good condition by storing them indoors over the winter. Some pesticides may become ineffective after freezing. Don’t use pesticides that are more than 10 years old.
For more information on weed control, check out the University of Minnesota Extension Service’s Weed Control in Lawns and Other Turf.
For more information on pest management, visit the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and the University of Minnesota Extension’s Your Sustainable Yard fact sheet.
You also can find helpful information about pests found in the garden and home at the University of Minnesota Extension Service.