Last updated: June 14, 2021

What Does Pesticide Mean?

A pesticide is any chemical substance or mixture produced with the intent of eliminating, preventing, repelling, or decreasing the population of one or more pests.

According to the EPA, nitrogen stabilizers and substances intended to be used on plants as desiccants, defoliants, or regulators are also defined as pesticides. In general, pesticides can be identified by their labels, chemical composition, and intended use.


Maximum Yield Explains Pesticide

It’s important to know about different pesticides, how they are used, and how they may be helpful to you and your garden. Some are more harmful than others, and implementing an integrated pest management plan can help reduce or eliminate the need for preventive pesticide use.

Pesticides are usually registered at the federal level and their use is enforced at the state, provincial, or regional levels. Records of their use are required for any commercial establishment growing cannabis or any other crop.

The definition of “pesticide” is very broad. In the United States, pesticides are under the purview of the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with state EPA’s or equivalent organizations generally applying further restrictions within each individual state. The first pesticide law in the United States was the 1910 Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

In Canada, the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) of Health Canada serves the same role in regards to pesticides as does the EPA in the U.S. with the Pest Control Products Act and Regulations (PCPA) serving a similar guiding role as FIFRA. Other international pesticide regulatory agencies include the United Kingdom’s Chemicals Regulation Directorate and the Australian Pesticides, and Veterinary Medicines Authority.

Before using pesticides, it is important to identify the type of pest that needs eradicating, and always follow usage instructions. Some pesticides are not intended to be used on consumable products such as cannabis, so it's important to research what you're buying.

Pesticides come in a variety of different forms. While most people associate the word pesticide with chemicals that are sprayed or dusted over food crops, there are actually several different types of pesticides available. These include:

  • Bactericides – Designed to prevent the spread of one or more types of bacteria.
  • Baits – Products designed to capture or kill larger pests, such as rabbits and dogs.
  • Fungicides – Designed to eliminate or control fungus. They may also be designed to render specific forms of fungus harmless to plants.
  • Herbicides – Created to eliminate or reduce the presence of invasive plant species and weeds.
  • Insecticides – Focus on suppressing, killing, stupefying, or inhibiting infestations or feeding by one or more types of insects.
  • Lures – Chemicals designed to be attractive to pests, luring them to pesticides with the ultimate intention of killing them.
  • Repellents – Designed to repel pests instead of eliminating or reducing their numbers.
  • Rodenticides – Chemicals used to control rodents.

Some other types of pesticides include insecticides, fumigants, algicides, miticides, and others. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) also come under the heading of pesticides. These plants have been genetically altered to make them less attractive to or more resistant to pests. They may also be modified to be more resistant to diseases or more tolerant of specific herbicides.


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