Understanding the Different Types of Insecticides
When the mosquitoes are keeping you indoors, preventing you
from meeting friends and family for outside gatherings, you
can count on insecticides to help. However, understanding
the various types of insecticides available on the market
today, and their effect on the body and the environment is
mosquito attack can not only spoil nature’s relaxing
effect on your mood, but it can also limit your enjoyment
of outdoor activities such as camping, sports and gardening.
Besides the pain and annoyance of being bit by mosquitoes,
these little bugs can carry viruses such as West Nile Virus,
which is a serious illness. To
learn more about the West Nile Virus see here. Mosquitoes
can also cause allergic reactions in certain individuals.
You can take control of frustrating mosquito situations with
quality insecticides. There are two types of insecticides:
organic and inorganic. Within these two categories, you will
find a wide selection of mosquito fighting compounds that
produce varying results.
Comprehensive List of Insecticides
Organic insecticides include carbon and should not always
be considered better for the environment. Some organic insecticides
are applied to your body to repel the insects on contact,
while others are released into the air to repel or kill the
insects from the surrounding area.
The common organic types of insecticides are the
- Organochlorine (OC) – These insecticides
are produced by combining an organic molecule with chlorine.
The most well-known insecticide of today, DDT, is classified
as an organochlorine and works by attacking the nerve cells
of insects. Organochlorines are considered less than ideal
for the environment because they are persistent and tend
to linger in the area, some are alleged to last for years.
Lindane and Chlrodane are two other organochlorine insecticides.
- Organophosphates (OP) – These types
of insecticides are a combination of an organic molecule
and phosphates. They assault the insect’s nerve cells
and are somewhat similar to the chemical agents of nerve
warfare. Many are not recommended for residential use because
of their long-lasting effects on plants and the surrounding
- Carbamates – These insecticides
work in the same way as organophosphates but do not remain
in the area for nearly as long, making them a better choice
for the earth. Bendiocarbamate is a common type.
- Pyrethrum – Found in nature, a
product of the tropical chrysanthemum, this insecticidal
chemical is very effective, even in small doses. It is often
diluted and released through a fog machine to rid an entire
backyard of mosquitoes. Although relatively expensive in
natural form, this insecticide is favorable and potent.
- Pyrethroids – A synthetic version
of the natural insecticide pyrethrum, it mimics pyrethrum;
however, it is significantly less toxic than other compounds.
Pyrethroids are most often used in residential applications.
Inorganic insecticides commonly contain
ingredients such as arsenic, lead, copper, and mercury. They
are much less in use today due to the dangers they pose to
The common inorganic types of insecticides are the
- Paris Green – This product was
utilized in the past as an insecticide for protecting fruit
against insect contamination. This chemical compound, containing
copper and arsenate, is extremely toxic and used in fireworks
as well as some paints.
- Silica Gel – This product is found
in certain insecticide dusts and works to suffocate pests.
It is more commonly used for ticks, termites and mites,
and can be combined with borates and pyrethroids/pyrethrins
for added power and effectiveness.
Formulations and Applications
All types of insecticides need to be formulated into a useable,
transportable material. Most often we think of insecticides
in the form of bug spray or insect repellent lotion that is
rubbed or applied directly onto the skin. However, there are
other formulations available that can be much more effective
in particular situations.
Foggers and misters work by spraying a diluted insecticide
mixture into the air at a set rate of distribution. The rate
is typically selected based on the surrounding population
of pests and the size of the area.
There are solid products available that can be placed in
bird baths, ponds and puddles to destroy mosquito larvae,
aiming directly at the root of the problem. They are generally
non-toxic to humans and animals, and come in the form of floating
pellets or heavier proportions that sink and dissolve.
With the wide variety of insecticides available, you are bound
to find one that will help eliminate mosquitoes in your surroundings.
Be mindful of the potential harmful effects to the environment,
and of any possible hazardous issues with respect to humans
and wildlife in the area.
Battle mosquitoes with knowledge and the appropriate products;
Article written by Anna DeGaborik
Anna DeGaborik is the author
for the All Mosquito
Netting Info website. She studies insect diseases and
prevention, specializing in mosquitoes.