Pesticide sprayers take the guesswork out of measuring, provide more even coverage than generic spray bottles and let you distribute large amounts of chemicals, such as those needed when treating lawns. For example, hose-end sprayers allow you to simply pour the label’s recommended amount of pesticide in the container, attach a water hose and spray large areas -- no mixing required. Pump-type sprayers let you spot-treat infested areas accurately, minimizing overspray, and mix up to 1 gallon of pesticide, a plus when spraying trees and large shrubs. Pesticide sprayers are a must when applying certain pesticides, such as beneficial nematodes.
Fill the tank half full of water.
Check the pesticide label for the amount of concentrated pesticide you need per gallon of water. Almost all pesticides available at home and garden stores have application rates indicating how many ounces of product to mix with 1 gallon of water.
Pour the specified amount of pesticide in the tank of the sprayer, using a measuring cup or spoon for the task. Tighten the cap on the tank and shake until mixed, about one minute.
Hold the tank away from your body and unscrew the cap. Add the rest of the water and shake again to mix, about one minute.
Adjust the nozzle to spray a fine mist or stream. Use a stream when spot-treating, or spraying one or two groups of pests on a plant or flower. Use a fine mist when covering an entire plant or both sides of foliage.
Press and depress the pump handle until significant pressure builds, or when it gets difficult to pump the tank.
Spray the pests or plants according to label instructions. For example, if the label says to cover the foliage on both sides until dripping, adjust the nozzle to the stream setting. Hold the wand by the handle so the nozzle is a few inches from the leaves and spray until you coat both sides with pesticide until it drips off. If the label directs you to cover the entire plant until wet but not running off, adjust the nozzle to the mist setting. Hold the wand by the handle so the nozzle is about 8 inches to 1 foot from the plant. Spray the pesticide on all sides of the plant uniformly until just wet.
Turn the water-control switch and the pesticide control dial to the “Off” position. Unscrew the pesticide container from the hose-end sprayer and place it on a flat, level surface.
Check the label for the amount of concentrated pesticide you need per gallon of water. Most pesticides available at home and garden stores have application rates indicating how many ounces of product to mix with 1 gallon of water. Sometimes a label directs you to mix an amount of pesticide per 100 or 1,000 square feet of area. If so, measure the area you need to treat in square feet and calculate the amount needed. For example, if you have to treat a 700-square-foot area, but the label says use 2 ounces per 1,000 square feet, first divide your area by the label area (700 square feet/1,000 square feet = 0.7). Then, multiply the answer by the amount of pesticide per 1,000 square feet indicated on the label to find out how much pesticide you need for 700 square feet (0.7 x 2 = 1.4 ounces).
Pour the label’s recommended amount of pesticide in the hose-end sprayer’s container. Screw the hose-end sprayer back on the container.
Connect the water hose to the hose-end sprayer. Adjust the hose-end sprayer’s pesticide control dial to the amount of pesticide according to the pesticide label. For example, if the pesticide label directs you to mix 1/2 ounce of pesticide per gallon, or 1/2 ounce per 1,000 square feet, adjust the control knob to the “1/2 ounce” setting.
Turn on the water hose. Turn the water-control switch and the pesticide-control dial to the “On” position. Squeeze the palm trigger to apply the pesticide to your plants or lawns. Since hose-end sprayers are used mainly for spraying large, wide areas, such as lawns, walk the area while squeezing the trigger and moving the sprayer in a back-and-forth, sweeping motion.
Turn the pesticide-control dial and the water-control knob to their "Off" positions. Unscrew the pesticide container and pour any leftover pesticide in the original container.
Screw the pesticide container back on the hose-end sprayer. Turn the water-control knob to the "On" position. Spray the water through the hose-end sprayer for a few seconds to rinse and allow it to air dry.