Buyer Beware: Some Pesticides Might Be Duds

In the spring and early summer each year, vendors might appear in your area, selling ineffective chemicals at seemingly cut-rate prices. Rule of thumb: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture receives many complaints in the spring from consumers who have purchased ineffective chemicals over the telephone or on the Internet because the sellers claimed they were comparable to well-known national brands.

Ken Franks of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture works with licensed pesticide retailers throughout the state and said before buying a chemical product via the phone or Internet, you should ask the seller the questions in the box at left.

Beware of pressure tactics, i.e., if the seller tells you to buy his product now or the deal will be gone forever. Be sure to compare labels of the "comparable" chemicals that the seller names before purchasing, and never buy a product that requires cash upon delivery.

For more information, contact Franks at


  • Ask for the product's EPA registration number.
  • Call the department of agriculture to ensure the product is registered for use in your state.
  • Ask for the product's active ingredients and record the percentages of each.
  • Ask how many square feet or acres the product will cover.
  • Request complete directions for use.
  • Ask for the company's name, address, and telephone number.
  • Compare the product to a similar one offered by your local retailer.
  • Ask if the seller has a license to sell in your state and request his license number.
  • Keep a record of all of this information.
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