AgEBB-MU CAFNR Extension

David Burton
Civic Communications Specialist
2400 S. Scenic Ave.
Springfield, MO 65807

December 4, 2009

"Winter Storage of Pesticides Requires Extra Care," Says Extension Specialist

Many homeowners and agricultural producers find it a real challenge to safely store unused pesticides during winter months.

Usual recommended storage temperatures of pesticides range from 40 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit according to Brie Menjoulet, an agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

"Some pesticides are less tolerant of the heat or cold. The label attached to the pesticide container will state the exact storage temperatures," said Menjoulet.

Exposure to extreme temperatures can alter chemicals in the pesticides.

For example, when liquid pesticides are allowed to freeze, active ingredients can separate, coagulate, or crystallize and that reduces the effectiveness of the product.

"Because pesticides should not be stored inside the home, finding a proper storage area can be challenging," said Menjoulet. "Winter storage of pesticides requires extra care."

Storing pesticides in an attached garage where temperatures are kept above freezing is one option.

"You still need to take several safety precautions in a garage," said Menjoulet.

Ideally a locked cabinet should be used, which will help insure the safety of children and pets while also keeping dry or granular pesticides away from wet areas.

If a locked area is not available, Menjoulet says to at least check that the pesticide container is not cracked, torn, or damaged and is clearly labeled.

Put the pesticides in a crate or box and place it on a sturdy shelf out of reach of children. If the shelf is narrow or above head-height, secure the box or crate to the shelf using ties or straps.

If there is a strong chemical scent, move the pesticides to another location or outbuilding.

"Another option is to avoid the winter storage of pesticides by purchasing only what is needed for one season," said Menjoulet.

But most importantly, always read and follow label instructions when handling, storing, or disposing of pesticides.

For more information on storing pesticides, contact any of these MU Extension agronomy specialists in southwest Missouri: Tim Schnakenberg in Stone County, (417) 357-6812; Jay Chism in Barton County, (417) 682-3579; John Hobbs in McDonald County, (417) 223-4775 or Brie Menjoulet in Hickory County, (417) 745-6767.

Source: Brie Menjoulet (417) 745-6767

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