LAYTON -- After attending a class on proper pesticide application, Jim Layton plans to check what he uses for pesticides in order to protect the bee population.
"I've been reading a lot about the bee population collapsing," Layton said.
"Bees are hungry in the spring, and fruit trees are in bloom in the spring. If you spray too soon, you could harm the bees and then the bees don't pollinate the blossoms and you have no fruit."
Layton was among 100 homeowners and commercial pesticide applicators who attended the daylong workshop Tuesday at the Weber State University Davis Campus.
It was hosted by Utah State University Extension's Pesticide Safety Education Program and the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food.
The program is being offered across the state and is free to homeowners.
Two more courses will be taught in the Top of Utah in December, both starting at 9 a.m.
The first is Dec. 8 at Ogden Weber Applied Technology College, in the lecture hall of the business building, 200 N. Washington Blvd., Ogden.
The second is Dec. 9 at Bridgerland Applied Technology College, in the conference room at 325 W. 1100 South, Brigham City.
Topics covered Tuesday included minimizing pesticide impacts on bees, how to spot and deal with insects not native to Utah and safe handling of pesticides.
The No. 1 rule those in attendance heard over and over again was "read the label."
Dr. Richard Beard, with USU Extension Service, said officials have reviewed the rules concerning the use of pesticides after the deaths of 4-year-old Rebecca Toone and her 15-month-old sister, Rachel, in February.
The two Layton girls died following the improper application of Fumitoxin, a pesticide used to exterminate rodents. Coleman Nocks, who was the exterminator, has been charged with two counts of negligent homicide, which are class A misdemeanors, and has a court hearing set for Jan. 4 in Layton.
Beard said one of the rules that has been changed since the deaths of the girls is, businesses are responsible for updating their employees on rule changes.
Another area that has the public concerned, Beard said, is bedbugs.
Utah is seeing an infestation of bedbugs, he said. In the past year, he has found bedbugs in four of the five hotels he has stayed at as he has traveled across the state.
Beard said he has received reports of bedbugs found in retirement homes, university dormitories, residential homes, apartment buildings, offices, motels and hotels.
He warned that no matter what is used to kill bedbugs, "the label is the law."
AJ Ferguson, vice president of safety with the Utah Farm Bureau Federation, discussed the proper way to apply pesticides.
He too said homeowners and commercial applicators must follow what is written on the label of all pesticides.
"If I don't follow the label, then I have no protection from the law," he said.
Ferguson also cautioned homeowners to wear the proper clothing when they use weed-and-feed products on their lawns or spray their fruit trees.
The chemicals from the products also can be carried through the house on shoes and clothes, he said.
Ferguson advised taking the clothes off outside in "a discreet place" and putting them inside a plastic bag. The clothes should be washed in hot water separately from the family's regular laundry, and then, to wash away any residue, the washing machine should go through a cycle without any clothes.
The person should immediately shower to wash any residue of the chemicals from their body.
But Ferguson also warned that it's not always the chemicals used outside of a home that cause problems.
"Household cleaning products can also cause harm," he said. "It's best to read the label."