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When insects get out of control, you’ll need a way to control them, and using insecticides is the best way. Insecticides are usually formulated to kill, repel, harm or mitigate single or multiple insect species. Insecticides work in different ways, some damage the exoskeletons, others repel insects and others disrupt the nervous system.


Sometimes you may need to use an insecticide in sensitive areas where food is stored or handled such as in homes, hospitals and zoos. Such insecticides include cockroach insecticides used to specifically control cockroaches. In such instances, a lot of precaution should be taken to ensure that the selected insecticide is not harmful to humans, pets and other animals. In most cases, the packaging will usually indicate safe to use areas.


How an insecticide is delivered to the pest is crucial. This is determined by how a pest behaves and where it spends most of its time. For instance, ants spend most of their time crawling on object surfaces, therefore, the best ant insecticides are those formulated in dust form. Mosquitoes spend most of their time flying around are best controlled using aerosol formulations. Some insecticides have ingredients that are only active against specific pests and not others. Check the label to ensure the pest you want to control is listed.

Environmental Factors

Once applied on surfaces, various environmental factors such as temperature, humidity and light can affect and reduce their effectiveness. For instance, high temperatures are known to reduce the effectiveness of insecticides containing chlorinated hydrocarbon and organophosphate (OP). Ultraviolet light is known to breakdown some insecticides through photodecomposition. Residual insecticides are affected by wind as it increases the rate of volatilisation.


Currently, synthetic (high impact) and organic (low impact ) insecticides are the two main types. Organic insecticides are made out of plant extracts that have insect killing properties while synthetic insecticides have chemicals mixed in controlled labs. However, both are toxic as they contain chemicals. The only difference is that organic insecticides tend to have lower toxicity and decompose faster upon exposure to light and water.

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