Time to inventory your stored pesticides

Before the growing season begins, take a look to ensure pesticides are stored properly and in good condition.

Properly stored pesticides can have a storage life of several years, but pesticides do need to be protected from moisture and temperature extremes. Before the next growing season begins is a good time to take inventory of existing pesticides to evaluate their condition. Water or excess moisture can damage pesticides containers and their contents. Moisture can cause metal containers to rust and paper or cardboard containers to split or crumble. Dry pesticides stored under these conditions may cake or crumble. Slow release products may release their active ingredients.

To prevent water and moisture damage

  • Keep containers securely closed when not in use.
  • Place opened bags of dry formulations (wettable and soluble powders, dry flowables and granules) into sealable plastic bags or clear plastic containers to reduce moisture absorption and prevent spills.
  • A jug containing a liquid formulation may be set inside a plastic pan set on the shelf to contain leaks.
  • Keep bags off the floor; store on plastic pallets.
  • Place metal drums in a drum rack or on a plastic pallet. Direct contact with the floor may make drums more susceptible to rusting.
  • Avoid locating a pesticide storage facility in an area likely to flood or where runoff water can be a potential problem.

The normal temperature range for storing liquid pesticides is usually 40º to 100º F.

Protection from temperature extremes is important because either freezing or excess heat can shorten their shelf life and reduce effectiveness. Low temperatures can cause the product to break down or separate, or the container to rupture. If a pesticide has frozen, contact the manufacturer for specific advice on what to do. Heat expansion of containers may cause them to break or overflow. More specific storage requirements for individual products can be obtained by contacting the manufacturer.

To prevent damage to pesticides from temperature

  • Water soluble packages may attract moisture and become brittle when frozen. Store them in a warm, dry place.
  • Storage areas should be insulated or temperature controlled to prevent freezing or overheating.
  • Exhaust fans vented to the outside can help reduce temperatures and remove vapors and fumes from the storage area.
  • Avoid storing pesticides in direct sunlight to avoid overheating or degradation of products.

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