About Pesticides

Pesticides include a broad range of chemicals that protect crops. They're applied by dusting, fogging, spraying, or injecting them into the soil:

  • Herbicides control weeds.
  • Fungicides control mold, mildew, and fungi that cause plant disease, and inhibit molds that may be harmful to consumers.
  • Insecticides control harmful insects, often those that damage crops or carry plant disease.
  • Rodenticides control rodents in the field.
  • Disinfectants act against bacteria and other disease-carrying microorganisms.

When people think of pesticides, synthetic chemicals often come to mind. However, naturally occurring chemicals in the environment, such as copper, nicotine, and sulfur, and some bacteria also are used to control pests. And many plants protect themselves by producing their own pesticides in low levels.

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