Environmental contamination and resistance

The advent of synthetic insecticides in the mid-20th century made the control of insects and other arthropod pests much more effective, and such chemicals remain essential in modern agriculture despite their environmental drawbacks. By preventing crop losses, raising the quality of produce, and lowering the cost of farming, modern insecticides increased crop yields by as much as 50 percent in some regions of the world in the period 1945–65. They have also been important in improving the health of both humans and domestic animals; malaria, yellow fever, and typhus, among other infectious diseases, have been greatly reduced in many areas of the world through their use.

But the use of insecticides has also resulted in several serious problems, chief among them environmental contamination and the development of resistance in pest species. Because insecticides are poisonous compounds, they may adversely affect other organisms besides harmful insects. The accumulation of some insecticides in the environment can in fact pose a serious threat to both wildlife and humans. Many insecticides are short-lived or are metabolized by the animals that ingest them, but some are persistent, and when applied in large amounts they pervade the environment. When an insecticide is applied, much of it reaches the soil, and groundwater can become contaminated from direct application or runoff from treated areas. The main soil contaminants are the chlorinated hydrocarbons such as DDT, aldrin, dieldrin, heptachlor, and BHC. Owing to repeated sprayings, these chemicals can accumulate in soils in surprisingly large amounts (10–112 kilograms per hectare ), and their effect on wildlife is greatly increased as they become associated with food chains. The stability of DDT and its relatives leads to their accumulation in the bodily tissues of insects that constitute the diet of other animals higher up the food chain, with toxic effects on the latter. Birds of prey such as eagles, hawks, and falcons are usually most severely affected, and serious declines in their populations have been traced to the effects of DDT and its relatives. Consequently, the use of such chemicals began to be restricted in the 1960s and banned outright in the 1970s in many countries.

Cases of insecticide poisoning of humans also occur occasionally, and the use of one common organophosphate, parathion, was drastically curtailed in the United States in 1991 owing to its toxic effects on farm labourers who were directly exposed to it.

Another problem with insecticides is the tendency of some target insect populations to develop resistance as their susceptible members are killed off and those resistant strains that survive multiply, eventually perhaps to form a majority of the population. Resistance denotes a formerly susceptible insect population that can no longer be controlled by a pesticide at normally recommended rates. Hundreds of species of harmful insects have acquired resistance to different synthetic organic pesticides, and strains that become resistant to one insecticide may also be resistant to a second that has a similar mode of action to the first. Once resistance has developed, it tends to persist in the absence of the pesticide for varying amounts of time, depending on the type of resistance and the species of pest.

Insecticides may also encourage the growth of harmful insect populations by eliminating the natural enemies that previously held them in check. The nonspecific nature of broad-spectrum chemicals makes them more likely to have such unintended effects on the abundance of both harmful and beneficial insects.

Because of the problems associated with the heavy use of some chemical insecticides, current insect-control practice combines their use with biological methods in an approach called integrated control. In this approach, a minimal use of insecticide may be combined with the use of pest-resistant crop varieties; the use of crop-raising methods that inhibit pest proliferation; the release of organisms that are predators or parasites of the pest species; and the disruption of the pest’s reproduction by the release of sterilized pests.

7 Types of pesticides and how they enter animals and plants

Pesticides can be grouped according to the types of pests which they kill:

  • Insecticides – insects
  • Herbicides – plants
  • Rodenticides – rodents (rats and mice)
  • Bactericides – bacteria
  • Fungicides – fungi
  • Larvicides – larvae

Fig. 5.23: Some well known insecticide containers
There are also other ways to group pesticides. For example, they can be grouped according to the chemicals in them or to the method of application.

7.1 How pesticides enter animals and plants


It is important to know the target insect’s habits when choosing the insecticide and which form (solid, liquid, granule or aerosol) to use. For example, flying pests such as adult mosquitoes are best attacked by aerosol sprays or fogs (droplets in the air), while crawling insects are best treated with surface powders, sprays or granules for dermal and/or oral entry.
Insecticides kill insects by getting inside their bodies where they then act as poison.
There are three different ways insecticides can get into an insect body.
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These are:

  • Dermal Entry
    The insecticide enters the body through the skin. In insects, the skin is called the cuticle. Insecticides of this kind are called contact poisons.
    Dermal entry can happen when:
    • aerosol spray droplets hit the insect
    • insects walk over and thereby come into contact with powder or granule forms of insecticide

Fig. 5.24: Dermal entry.
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  • Oral Entry
    The insecticide enters the body through the mouth when the insect eats it. Insecticides of this type are called ingested poisons. The insecticide may be ingested by the insect:
    • as a poisonous bait ( a food to which insecticide has been added)
    • when it ‘grooms’ (cleans) itself after the poison comes into contact with its body

Fig. 5.25: Oral entry.

  • Respiratory EntryT
    The insecticide is breathed in by the insect. These insecticides are called inhaled poisons.
    Insects do not breathe through the mouth as most animals do. They breathe through spiracles (small holes along the side of the abdomen).

Fig. 5.26: Respiratory entry.


Herbicides are used to kill plants. This may be by:

  • killing that part of the plant which they touch
  • killing the plant when they are absorbed into it through the leaves, stems or roots


Rodenticides are used to kill rodents. These poisons are usually put into food to make poisonous baits which rodents eat.

These natural and DIY pesticides are effective at helping to rid your crops of harmful critters, but safe enough to keep from poisoning you and your family.

There’s nothing like having a home garden to make you begin to appreciate the trials and tribulations of the farmers who grow our food. Between weather, weeds, and insects, not to mention the challenges of soil fertility, it can be an incredibly humbling experience to try to put food on the table with a home garden – especially when adhering to organic protocols that don’t rely on quick, yet potentially harmful, solutions, such as herbicides, pesticides, and conventional fertilizers. We’ve written previously about homemade herbicides, which can help you get a handle on noxious or invasive weeds without as much labor as hand-weeding, and this time around, we’re taking aim at insect pests, which have the potential to turn your formerly lush garden into their own insect all-you-can-eat buffet.

When it comes to keeping your crops healthy in the face of massive quantities of plant-munching bugs insects, there are a number of approaches that can help turn the tide in favor of your own harvests, and while removing insects by hand is one time-tested method, it can also be incredibly challenging to do so, or can be too little too late. Another, far less time-intensive method of knocking back insect populations is by applying natural or homemade insecticides, which can reduce their numbers or eliminate them all together. Not all bugs insects are harmful, so applying insecticides indiscriminately, especially harsh pesticides that affect even the beneficial insects, can have a detrimental effect on your local garden ecosystem.

8 Natural and homemade insecticides

1. Oil spray insecticide

A homemade insecticide made from vegetable oil mixed with a mild soap (such as Dr. Bronners castile soap) can have a devastating effect on certain troublesome insects, such as aphids, mites, thrips, etc. To make a basic oil spray insecticide, mix 1 cup of vegetable oil with 1 tablespoon of soap (cover and shake thoroughly), and then when ready to apply, add 2 teaspoons of the oil spray mix with 1 quart of water, shake thoroughly, and spray directly on the surfaces of the plants which are being affected by the little pests. The oil coats the bodies of the insects, effectively suffocating them, as it blocks the pores through which they breathe.

2. Soap spray insecticide

A very similar homemade pesticide to the oil spray is a soap spray, which is also effective for controlling mites, aphids, whiteflies, beetles, and other hungry little insects. To make a basic soap spray insecticide, mix 1 1/2 teaspoons of a mild liquid soap (such as castile soap) with 1 quart of water, and spray the mixture directly on the infected surfaces of the plants. A soap spray insecticide works in a similar fashion as an oil spray pesticide, and can be applied as necessary (though it is always recommended to NOT apply it during the hot sunny part of the day, but rather in the evenings or early mornings).

3. Neem oil insecticide

An oil extracted from the seeds of the neem tree is a powerful natural insecticide, capable of disrupting the life cycle of insects at all stages (adult, larvae, and egg), making it a great resource for the organic gardener. Neem oil acts as a hormone disruptor and as an “antifeedant” for insects that feed on leaves and other plant parts. Neem oil is biodegradable and is nontoxic to pets, birds, fish, and other wildlife, and is effective against a variety of common garden insect pests, as well as being a natural fungicide that can combat powder mildew and other fungal infections on plants. It can be found at many garden stores or natural foods markets. To use neem oil as an insecticide, either follow the instructions on the bottle, or start out with a basic mixture of 2 teaspoons neem oil and 1 teaspoon of mild liquid soap shaken thoroughly with 1 quart of water, and then sprayed on the affected plant foilage. Neem oil can also be used preventatively by spraying the leaves of plants that are often ravaged by pests, before they’re actually infested.

4. Diatomaceous earth as a natural pesticide

This natural substance with a somewhat unwieldy name is made from a sedimentary rock created by fossilized algae (diatoms), and which is a rather abundant resource (diatomaceous earth is said to make up 26% of the earth’s crust by weight). Diatomaceous earth has a number of uses in and around the home, and acting as a natural insecticide is just one of them. This material works not by poisoning or smothering the insects, but instead by virtue of its abrasive qualities and its affinity for absorbing the lipids (a waxy substance) from insects’ exoskeleton, which then dehydrates them to death. Diatomaceous earth is often available at garden stores, although many times only in large bags, so if you’ve got a small yard, consider splitting it with a neighbor. To apply, simply dust the ground around your plants, or even sprinkle it on the foliage, where it will help control snails and slugs as well as other crawling insects. Due to its dried nature, in order to be an effective natural pesticide, diatomaceous earth needs to be reapplied after every rain.

5. Garlic insecticide spray

Garlic is well-known for its pungent aroma, which is delectable to some and yet repellent to others, and it is this strong scent that comes into play when used as a natural insecticide. Actually, it’s not really clear if garlic spray and chile spray (below) are actually insecticides or are more likely insect repellents, but either way, these common kitchen ingredients can be used to knock down, or even knock out, insect infestations in the garden. To make a basic garlic spray, take 2 whole bulbs (not just 2 cloves) and puree them in a blender or food processor with a small amount of water. quart of water. Let the mixture sit overnight, then strain it into a quart jar, adding 1/2 cup of vegetable oil (optional), 1 teaspoon of mild liquid soap, and enough water to fill the jar. To use this homemade insecticide, use 1 cup of mixture with 1 quart of water and spray liberally on infested plants.

6. Chile pepper insecticide spray

Similar to garlic spray, chile pepper spray is a great homemade natural insect repellent that can be used for a variety of different pests. Chile spray can be made from either fresh hot peppers or chile pepper powder. To make a basic chile spray from pepper powder, mix 1 tablespoon of chile powder with 1 quart of water and several drops of mild liquid soap. This mixture can be used full-strength on the leaves of affected plants. To make chile spray from fresh chile peppers, blend or puree 1/2 cup of peppers with 1 cup of water, then add 1 quart of water and bring to a boil. Let sit until cooled, then strain out the chile material, add several drops of liquid soap to it and spray as desired.

7. All-in-one homemade insecticide spray

From the folks at Rodale’s Organic Life comes this all-in-one DIY natural insecticide, which is said to be a combination of many different recipes submitted by readers. To make it, puree 1 bulb of garlic and 1 small onion, add 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder and let steep for an hour. Strain the mixture and add 1 tablespoon of liquid soap and mix well. To apply this homemade insecticide, spray it full-strength onto both the upper surface of the leaves, as well as the undersides, and store the remainder in the refrigerator for up to a week if desired.

8. Tomato leaf as a natural insecticide

I have to admit that this one is new to me, but I’ve seen enough mentions of it now to warrant its inclusion here as a natural pesticide. Tomato plants are part of the nightshade family, and as such, contain alkaloids such as the aptly named “tomatine,” which can effectively control aphids and other insects. To make tomato leaf spray for a natural insecticide, chop 2 cups of fresh tomato leaves (which can be taken from the bottom part of the plant) into 1 quart of water, and let steep overnight. Strain out the plant material and spray onto plant foliage.

Make, use, and observe, then modify

Although there are many more natural pesticides available, such as Bt (a soil microbe toxic to certain insects), milky spore (also a microbe), nicotine (extracted as a tea from bulk tobacco), pyrethrum (derived from a variety of daisy), and iron phosphate (a natural mineral toxic to slugs and snails), the above natural and homemade insecticide recipes should give you a good starting point for creating your own version. Every organic gardener seems to have their own particular blend and ratio of ingredients, so by paying close attention to the effects of a specific recipe, it’s possible to modify it to best suit your own insect battles.

Just remember, killing off all of the insects in your garden is not the desired result here, as any healthy ecosystem requires an abundance of beneficial insects, microbes, and fungi, both in the soil and on the plants themselves, so introducing other predatory insects (ladybugs, praying mantis, etc.) or creating good habitat for them, as well as building soil fertility, can also be an effective pest management approach.

Plant-Pesticide Interaction

Pesticides can be absorbed by plants through the leaves and roots. Pesticides that are taken up by plants can move (translocate) to other parts of the plant.

  • Herbicides that are taken up by the plant (systemic herbicides) often are designed to interfere with the plants development by mimicking plant hormones. This type of herbicide can take longer to act, but they can also be more effective because they are working throughout the plant. Other herbicides are meant to kill by contact. These types of herbicides tend to act faster – you may see an immediate “knock-down” of the weed.
  • Systemic insecticides move throughout the plant. When insects feed on the plant, the insecticide can kill them. This type of insecticide can be harmful to bees and other pollinators. When the bee is pollinating the plant, it may also receive a toxic dose of the pesticide. It is important to read the label and use this type of product only when it will not pose a threat to the pollinators.

Here are some tips to help minimize environmental risks when using pesticides on plants:

  • Read the pesticide label, including the “Environmental Hazards” section, and make sure you are using the product properly to minimize the risks to the environment.
  • Consider adopting an IPM approach to controlling pests. IPM practices are designed to have minimal impacts on the environment.
  • When possible, try to use pesticides that are specifically designed for the pest you are trying to control, rather than broad-spectrum pesticides, which are more likely to affect non-target organisms.
  • Always dispose of unused pesticides properly.
  • Insects, weeds and diseases can become resistant to pesticides that are used repeatedly. As such, it is important to use pesticides only when necessary, and only as often as the label indicates.

Additional Resources:

  • Insects, Plant Diseases and Pesticides – Mississippi State University
  • GreenScaping – The Easy Way to a Greener, Healthier Yard – Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Plant Hormones – The Ohio State University
  • Weed Susceptibility to Herbicides Database – University of California Weed Workgroup
  • What are Biopesticides? – Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Aquatic Plant Management: Aquatic Herbicides – Washington State Department of Ecology


  • Insect Resistance Management – Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Arthropod Pesticide Resistance Database (APRD) – Michigan State University Extension
  • Pesticide Resistance – Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service
  • Insect Resistance – Insect Resistance Action Committee (IRAC)

Last updated May 09, 2019

Spring is nearly here and you know what that means – it’s time to start planning your garden! If you’re like me, you love organic food straight from your own vegetable garden. There is just something so satisfying about gathering foods from the garden that you have grown yourself and preparing family dinners from veggies that you know are safe. But, do you really know that they are safe? What kind of pesticides or insecticides are you using on your garden every year? Do you know that some of those products contain ingredients that can be harmful to your family?

So what are you to do about the bugs? Well, you could always make your own all natural pesticides and rid your garden of bugs without putting things on your foods that may be harmful. And, I have just the list of homemade insecticides to help you. I have found 10 all natural DIY insecticides that you can add to your garden this year to knock out those bugs that eat your plants. And, these don’t contain anything that will be harmful to you or your family. DIY really is the better way to go. And you should also check out these 15 organic homemade fertilizers that will really help those plants to grow.

Most of these insecticides can be made with things that you probably have in your kitchen right now. From mild dish detergent and baking soda to essential oils, you may have everything that you need to keep those pesky bugs off of your plants this spring and help your plants to grow strong and beautiful. And, if you want to get started really early with some seedlings or you want to keep those fresh veggies and fruits coming all year long, be sure to take a look at these 20 free DIY greenhouse plans.

Table of Contents

1. Easy DIY Garden Fungicide And Pest Deterrent

This easy to make homemade garden fungicide will keep your plants healthy and deter pests. You just mix baking soda, mild dish soap – preferably something biodegradable without phosphates – and water. You just mix the ingredients together into a spray bottle and spray your plants regularly to help them grow healthy and bug-free. And, there is nothing in this solution that could be harmful to you, your family or your pets.

Recipe/Instructions: thegrownetwork

2. Homemade Essential Oil Pesticide

If you have yet to discover the joys of using essential oils, you really need to start now. And, this homemade essential oil pesticide can be your first project. This one is so easy to mix up and it works really well on all types of bugs. You use three different essential oils and mix with water and a mild dish soap. Then just spray this on your plants and watch those bugs find a new home. There are some wonderful DIY essential oil sprays for your entire home.

Recipe/Instructions: migardener

3. DIY Natural Garlic Pesticide Spray

Garlic deters much more than vampires. You can use a homemade garlic spray in your garden to keep slugs, snails, aphids and just about any other garden creature off of your plants. You just mix garlic cloves and water to create the solution and it is safe enough to use as often as you need it – although just one spray is enough to deter most garden pests. Plus, the garlic is a natural solution that is perfectly safe and healthy and it won’t penetrate your plants – so your cucumbers won’t taste like garlic.

Recipe/Instructions: lifemadefull

4. DIY Insecticidal Soap

This easy DIY insecticide uses Fels Naptha soap and water and it is one of the most effective sprays that you can make. It’s also much cheaper than anything you can buy at the farmer’s supply store and it is much safer for you to use on your garden plants. You just grate the soap and create the solution – it only takes a few minutes – and then spray all of your garden plants to rid them of those pesky bugs and insects.

Recipe/Instructions: herbsandoilsremedies

5. DIY Peppermint Oil Garden Spray

Peppermint oil smells wonderful and it can really help you to keep pests away. There are some great DIY home spray recipes that use peppermint oil to keep ants and flies out of your home and this one uses the same essential oil to keep bugs out of your garden. You can get peppermint oil at any health food store or anywhere that they sell essential oils – I buy mine at the Dollar Store and it’s just $5 per bottle.

Recipe/Instructions: yankeehomestead

6. Homemade Garlic Mint Garden Plant Spray

This homemade garlic mint plant spray works after just an application or two and it keeps away all of those pesky garden bugs. This one is super easy to make up and it gives you much better results than anything that you can buy in the store – plus it is all natural so it is very safe for you and your family. The combination of garlic cloves, mint leaves and cayenne pepper will rid your garden of bugs and help to repair damage to plants that are already affected by insects. Once you learn how to quickly peel a head of garlic, this one is a cinch to mix up.

Recipe/Instructions: anoregoncottage

7. Homemade Oil Spray For Vegetable Gardens

If your garden is affected by aphids, spider mites and other crawly pests, an easy to make homemade oil spray is the answer. This one only needs dishwashing liquid, cooking oil and water and it is super effective against those bugs that want to eat your veggie plants before they have the chance to produce. It’s also really safe to use – it won’t harm your plants or the foods that come from them.

Recipe/Instructions: homeguides

8. DIY Insecticidal Castile Soap Spray

Castile soap is super safe for your garden and it can be very effective in keeping those pests away. You don’t even need that much soap to mix up a spray bottle full so one package of soap will do several spray bottles of insecticide. You want something used on your plants that isn’t going to harm them or cause chemicals to build up on the foods that they produce. Castile soap is perfect because it is safe to use on plants and effective on bugs.

Recipe/Instructions: homemadeforelle

9. Homemade Veggie Soup Insecticide

Believe it or not, the vegetables that you are growing in your garden can actually help you to keep those plants safe from bug infestations. For this natural veggie soup solution, you need garlic, onion, jalapeno, dish soap and a few other basic supplies that you probably have in your kitchen right now. You make a soup from the ingredients and then store in a spray bottle. The combination of ingredients make this one effective against just about any bug that may try to infest your garden.

Recipe/Instructions: instructables

10. Homemade Neem Oil Spray

Neem oil is excellent for keeping away all types of garden bugs and this solution is really easy to mix up. You will need pure cold pressed Neem oil, along with an antiseptic type liquid soap and some water to mix this up. You just mix up all of the ingredients than then spray your plants a time or two until you notice a vast improvement in the number of insects. It shouldn’t take more than one or two treatments to rid your garden of insects and leave your plants healthy and thriving.

Recipe/Instructions: discoverneem

Lawn & Garden

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Lawn Care, Gardening, and Outdoor Pest Control

Make your lawn the envy of the neighborhood while saving money with DoMyOwn’s selection of professional grade lawn care products. DIY lawn care can be much more than just mowing your lawn yourself. By applying herbicides, fungicides, fertilizers, and weed killer yourself, you will create a healthy, beautiful lawn for less.

It may seem intimidating, but you absolutely can do your own lawn care and save money in the process. How much does it cost to have your lawn mowed? Now compare the savings to when you mow the lawn yourself. Those savings also translate in other aspects of lawn care.

When you do it yourself, you can select products that work with your specific grass type and soil chemistry, apply them as needed, and focus on treating the weeds you have without wasting product on spraying or applying product you do not need. When you DIY your lawn care and tailor your approach to your own lawn, you save big while achieving big results.

Understanding your lawn’s chemistry is the first step to bringing your lawn back to life. DoMyOwn’s selection of lawn tests, including the Soil Savvy test, will analyze your soil and give recommendations for fertilizers, which add nutrients back into your lawn and garden. This is a major step to keep your lawn healthy year round.

Lawns include gardens and ornamentals, and our premium garden equipment will help even the most amateur gardener keep their plants and flowers thriving.

Pre-emergent and post-emergent herbicides will combat weeds throughout your lawn and garden. Use pre-emergent herbicides in the spring and fall to prevent weeds from growing and kill any weeds that may appear with post-emergent herbicides. Crabgrass, spurge, nutsedge, clover, poa annua, and other weeds won’t stand a chance against your DIY weed control.

Our lawn care products are as diverse as our customers and where they live in the United States. We carry lawn care supplies that can be used on warm-season turfs like Bermuda, St. Augustine, centipede, and zoysia and cool-season turfs like fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, bentgrass, and ryegrass and multiple products that can be used on all turf types. Our products contain different active ingredients for rotation (especially important for fungicides) and we also have a large selection of natural and organic products for those interested in a green approach.

DoMyOwn’s Lawn Care Subscription Program is a smart way to begin your weed and disease prevention journey. Every month, we will send you premium lawn care products, sized right for your lawn and customized to your local climate, directly to your door. The program takes the guesswork out of selecting products, just apply as instructed and watch as your lawn grows healthy and green. Subscribers save on product and receive additional savings on lawn care equipment like sprayers and granular spreaders.

Outdoor pest control is an often forgotten but vital part of lawn maintenance. Controlling outdoor pests while they are outside will prevent them from entering and infesting your home. Cockroaches, ants, beetles, millipedes, flies, and other pests can be addresses with our lawn pest control selection, including insecticides, traps, and baits. And milky spore and insecticides will assist with white grubs and Japanese beetles.

If you need assistance selecting the right lawn care products for your needs, give our customer service experts a call at 866-581-7378 or email [email protected]

Can’t find the product you are looking for? E-mail us and we’ll get it for you!

We sell professional do it yourself pest control (diy), exterminator and
extermination insecticide, pesticide, chemical and bug killer treatment
products to spray, eliminate and exterminate pests.

Many of our products are not available in stores
such as Home Depot, Walmart or Lowes.


Pesticides are used to ensure a plentiful supply of food is produced by farmers at a reasonable price all year round.

Farmers use pesticides to protect crops from insect pests, weeds and fungal disease while they are growing and prevent rats, mice, flies and other insects from contaminating stored foods.

Pesticide regulations and Brexit

While it is the position of the Scottish Government that Scotland is better off remaining in the EU, preparations are underway for the UK’s exit from the EU.

The four UK administrations have been working with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to ensure new regulations are similar to those in place before Brexit to protect human health and the environment and to provide stability for businesses and consumers.

The rules will be different depending on how the UK leaves the EU. The guidance below will help you prepare for each scenario:

  • arrangements for regulation of pesticides during an implementation period
  • regulation of pesticides if there is no deal

HSE will continue to operate as the UK’s regulator in both deal and no deal scenarios.

Pesticide approval process

The European Commission is responsible for the approval of active substances for use in pesticides in European Union Member States. Approval is only given after a rigorous lengthy assessment and scrutiny process which involves the European Food Safety Authority, Member States and scientific experts.

When an active substance is approved in Europe, companies can apply to the regulatory authority within each Member State, which in the UK is the Chemicals Regulation Division (CRD) of the Health and Safety Executive, for permission to place their product on the market.

The CRD maintains a number of databases on pesticide products for use in the UK, including information on current professional and amateur products.

Code of practice for using plant protection products in Scotland

The code of practice reflects our policy to reduce to the lowest possible level the effect of pesticide use on people, wildlife, plants and the environment while making sure pests, diseases, and weeds are effectively controlled. It is due to be updated to take account of new pesticide legislation.

Cross compliance

As a condition of receiving support payments, land managers have to comply with a range of requirements known as cross compliance. The correct use of pesticides is part of cross compliance and breaches of the requirements could result in payments being reduced. Detailed information is available from Rural Payments and Services.

Scotland’s Pesticide Survey Unit

Information on the use of pesticides in Scotland is collected and published annually by the Pesticide Survey Unit at SASA (Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture).

Pesticides and the water environment

The Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations 2011 (CAR) place controls on the storage of pesticides and their use in the proximity of the water environment. Full guidance on the rules within CAR can be found on the Farming and Water Scotland website.


The Plant Protection Products (Sustainable Use) Regulations 2012 implement The Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive 2009/128/EC.

The directive includes a number of new provisions aimed at reducing risks and impacts on human health and the environment, and to improve controls on distribution and use. These include:

  • a Pesticides: UK National Action Plan
  • compulsory testing of application equipment
  • provision of training for, and arrangements for the certification of operators, advisors and distributors
  • a ban (subject to limited exceptions) on aerial spraying
  • provisions to protect water, public spaces and conservation areas
  • the minimisation of risks from handling, storage and disposal
  • and the promotion of low input regimes

Grandfather rights – certificate of competence

A former exemption in UK law, commonly known as grandfather rights, meant that anyone born before 31 December 1964 could use pesticides which have been authorised for professional use either on their own or their employer’s land, without having to hold a certificate of competence.

Since November 2015 this exemption was removed and it is now an offence for anyone to purchase pesticides authorised for professional use unless they have ensured that the intended end user of the pesticide product has a certificate of competence. All users must comply with the rules in The Plant Protection Products (Sustainable Use) Regulations 2012. If professional users of pesticides do not have a certificate, they will need to get one to be able to continue to use them as part of their job.

Existing certificates of competence will remain valid under the new legislation. Anyone who already has one of the existing certificates need not do anything new.

Aerial spraying

Aerial spraying is used where there are no viable alternatives, or where there are clear advantages for human health and the environment from aerial spraying compared to using land-based pesticide application equipment. Only pesticides approved for aerial spraying can be used.

For example, aerial spraying is used to control bracken, which unless controlled is often invasive and can replace heather moorlands and rich grassland habitats.

Guidance relating to the aerial application of pesticides came into effect in July 2012 as a result of changes to pesticide legislation. The objective of the changes was to minimise the hazards and risks to health and the environment from the use of pesticides.

Detailed information on the requirement to complete an application plan and obtain a permit from the Chemicals Regulation Directorate (CRD) before aerial spraying can take place is available on the aerial spraying permit arrangements page of CRD’s website.

Integrated pest management

Integrated pest management (IPM) is a whole farm approach to managing the land, maximising the efficiency of production whilst minimising negative effects on the environment. Reduced reliance on pesticides can be achieved by minimising pest, weed and disease risks through:

  • tailored and efficient use of chemical inputs such as fertilisers and pesticides
  • appropriate cultural controls such as crop rotations and the use of resistant varieties
  • physical and mechanical controls including the use of nets, mulches and mechanical weeding
  • enhancement of wildlife habitats to encourage biodiversity and beneficial organisms that provide biological control
  • monitoring of crops for pests, weeds and diseases and the use of forecasts and thresholds for treatment

Amenity forum

The Amenity forum is the independent body bringing together professional organisations with an involvement in weed, pest and disease control in the amenity horticulture sector. The organisation was formed as a key action to support the UK Voluntary Initiative, an industry-led project agreed with Government, with a primary aim to promote and encourage proper and responsible use of pesticides and integrated methods to control pests, weeds and diseases.

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            • Upper Tier Establishments by Region
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    • Quarrying
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    • Renewable Energy
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  • Chemicals
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      • Treoirlínte ar Bhainistiú Sábháilteachta, Sláinte agus Leasa i mBunscoileanna
    • Teacher Support and Classroom Resources
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      • Only a Giant can Lift a Bull
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      • Health and Safety Training Providers
    • Health and Safety Courses Online
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  • Legislation
    • Acts
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      • Chemicals Acts 2008 and 2010
      • Chemical Weapons Act 1997
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      • Safety in Industry Act 1980
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        • Retail & Private Petroleum Stores SI 712 2011
        • Retail & Private Petroleum Stores SI 628 2010
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        • Retail and Private Petroleum Stores S.I. No 574 of 2014
      • Factories Act 1955
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    • Regulations and Orders
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    • Codes of Practice
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      • More Codes of Practice
  • Publications and Forms
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  • Safety Alerts
    • 2019
      • Electrical Hazards in Restaurants & Kitchens
      • Use of Portable Medical Oxygen/Entonox(Integral Valve) Cylinders
      • Passenger Lifts installed by Ellickson Engineering
      • Lift with defective Worm Gear
    • 2018
      • Wood Pellets: Toxic Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
      • Management of Asbestos Containing Materials on Demolition and Refurbishment Sites
    • 2017
      • Garden Buddy PM35 Lawn Mower
      • ATEX Lighting products
      • Safety Footwear Recall
      • Portable Medical Oxygen Cylinder
      • Hot Work on Drums and Containers
      • Passenger Lifts CE490 Ellickson Engineering
      • Sanli Chainsaw SCS4950
      • NC 300 Series Power Tilt Dump Trailer
    • 2016
      • Explosion Risk – Split Rim Wheels
      • Scaffolding Components
      • Working on Fragile Roofs
      • Chain Flail
      • Bosch Grinders GWS20 and GWS 22
    • 2015
      • Large Tyre Inflation Alert
      • Excavator Quick Hitch 2015
      • Nitro Motors Eco Cobra Quad Bike Alert
      • Confined Space Safety Alert
      • Small Tipper Trucks
      • Crushing Hazards on Electrically Powered Gates
      • Working Platforms Near or Over Water
      • Hook Loader
      • Refrigerated Seawater Systems on Fishing Vessels
      • Genie MEWP Alert 2015
    • 2014
      • Gas Safety Alert
      • GME EPIRB Recall
      • Lorry Mounted Crane Alert
      • Electric Cable Reel Alert
      • Safety Shoe Alert
      • Scaffold Safety Alert
      • Genie MEWP Alert
      • Petzl ZigZag Recall
      • Generator Usage Alert
      • Calving Safety Alert
      • Passenger Lift Alert
      • Equestrian Helmets
    • 2013
      • Chainsaw Competency Alert
      • Mobile Sandblaster Alert
      • Uvex Riding Helmet Safety Alert
      • Laundry Liquid Capsule Alert
      • Refuse Vehicle Safety Alert
    • 2012
      • Thermia Heat Pumps Safety Alert
      • MAPP Cylinder Recall
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    • 2011
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