Dusting equipment basics

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September 3, 2015

[Andy McGinty also contributed to this blog entry.]

Over the last two years or so, we have observed that while in the pursuit of structural pests such as bed bugs, fleas and other influential insects, inappropriate or counter-labeler use of dust formulations has resulted in a significant increase of both claims and lawsuits.

Throughout the U.S., whether performed by pest management professionals or wildlife damage control professionals (licensed and certified to apply a dust formulation), some applications have resulted in third parties and/or consumers filing complaints with the courts and/or regulatory agencies. Claims are not limited to certain areas of the country. We have handled, or helped PMPs handle, exposures in all four corners of the country.

We are hopeful the following information will help with the technical side of applying dust products:

A duster pulls air into a chamber and, through agitation, mixes a metered dose of dust per compression application. The best method to protect yourself — both physically and in avoiding dust-related claims — is to read, understand and follow the label.

Within their directions, product labels incorporate and balance all dust formulation characteristics. Within the integrated pest management (IPM) template, product labels blend all required information to provide the “How to…” within an environmental assessment:

  • OTC product name
  • Formulation
  • Application techniques (for a dust: crack and crevice, spot, void and/or space)
  • Target pests (always identify to species)
  • Specific locations for use, indoors and outdoors
  • Environmental preparations for use
  • Active ingredient
  • S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) information
  • Cautions during use, including personal protective equipment (PPE) and re-entries
  • First Aid
  • Application rates
  • Application scenarios by pest
  • Storage, handling and disposal
  • Manufacturer and contact/emergency contact information

Dust applications must result in a fine surface film within unexposed and/or inaccessible sites. Note that the label of most dusts on the market will specify what pre-calibrated application equipment to use, including:

  • Bulb dusters: approximately 0.04 oz. of dust per compression*
  • Bellows dusters: approximately >0.04 oz. of dust per compression*
  • Piston dusters: approximately 0.25 oz. of dust per compression*
  • Battery-powered dusters: adjustable flow rates*
  • Electric duster: used to treat large areas*

Never forget: label is the law. If you use it as your guide, and make sure you do consistent, verifiable training with employees, you’ll go a long way in keeping your reputation as a firm that uses dust applications judiciously, cautiously and effectively.

*Varies by manufacturer (calibrate equipment per the product label).

About the Author

MITCHELL, D.O., DVM, PsyD, BCE, is technical director of PestWest, and a frequent contributor to PMP.

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