You can use both organic and inorganic chemicals in pesticide sprayers.

How to Use a Pesticide Sprayer

by A.J. Andrews

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.

1. Pump-Type Sprayer

1 Fill the tank half full of water.

2. Pump-Type Sprayer

2 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.

3. Pump-Type Sprayer

3 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.

4. Pump-Type Sprayer

4 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.

5. Pump-Type Sprayer

5 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.

6. Pump-Type Sprayer

6 Press and depress the pump handle until significant pressure builds, or when it gets difficult to pump the tank.

7. Pump-Type Sprayer

7 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.

8. Hose-End Sprayer

1 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.

9. Hose-End Sprayer

2 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).

10. Hose-End Sprayer

3 Pour the label’s recommended amount of pesticide in the hose-end sprayer’s container. Screw the hose-end sprayer back on the container.

11. Hose-End Sprayer

4 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.

12. Hose-End Sprayer

5 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.

13. Hose-End Sprayer

6 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.

14. Hose-End Sprayer

7 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.

Tips

  • Purchase sprayers from manufacturers that offer replacement parts. Gaskets and seals wear out over time.
  • One ounce of fluid pesticide equals 2 tablespoons.
  • Use organic pesticides whenever possible.

Warnings

  • Always follow label instructions and safety precautions when mixing and applying pesticides.
  • Keep sprayers and pesticides out of reach of children.
  • Always wear a respirator, safety goggles, chemical-proof gloves, long pants, long sleeves and closed-toe shoes when using pesticides.
  • Always follow label instructions and safety precautions when handling, mixing and applying pesticides. Always use the pesticide dilution rates according to the label.
  • Keep children and pets away from a treated area until it dries or until the label's recommended amount of time has elapsed.
  • Use one sprayer for pesticides and another for herbicides, and label each as such. Using and labeling two sprayers helps ensure you won't accidentally spray your plants with herbicide, and also prevents cross contamination.
  • Label measuring cups, spoons and other utensils as "Garden Use Only," or with similar phrasing. Never use measuring or stirring utensils used with pesticides for another purpose.
  • Don't spray pesticides during heavy winds to minimize drift.
  • Don't spray pesticides just after or before a rain.
  • Never dispose of unused pesticides in a sink, storm drain, toilet or any receptacle that leads to a body of water.
  • Give unused pesticides, in their original containers, to your sanitation service when they pick up chemical waste. You can dispose of unrinsed, empty pesticide containers in the trash.

Photo Credits

  • Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images