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Most Common Chemicals Used as Pesticides


Are there pests like ants, rats, roaches, or wild animals in your home? You can try your luck with the many pest control chemicals sold in the market.

What are Pesticides?
Pesticides are chemicals or natural substances that can kill or repel harmful organisms.
Hundreds of organisms that can become pests. As a result, thousands of pesticides are now available for commercial use.
Pesticides aren’t only used in homes. They’re also used in commercial establishments like shops, storage facilities, offices, and farms, to name a few.

Are Pesticides Harmful to Humans?
Yes, most pesticides can be hazardous to humans and pets. Scientists have carefully formulated these pest control chemicals and active ingredients. However, some of the chemicals are harmful to humans and animals. This is because the chemicals need to be more potent to be effective for pests.
Commercial pesticides have instructions written on the back regarding storage and use. As a rule, humans and pets should be kept away from places where the pesticides are being used. The bottle or packet of pesticide should also always be sealed properly. They should also be stored in a safe place away from kids and pets.
Pesticide poisoning is an emergency. Call for emergency services or the poison control center right away. Poisoning includes getting the pesticide on your skin, inhaling it, or eating and drinking it. You can also get poisoned if you get the pesticide in your eye.
First aid for pesticide poisoning may include:

  • Washing or irrigating the skin or eyes with water
  • Taking the patient to a place with good ventilation
  • Induced vomiting, but only when directed by emergency personnel

Common Chemicals Used for Pest Control

  1. Insecticides

Insecticides are pest control chemicals that harm, kill, or repel insect pests. These include ants, termites, cockroaches, mosquitoes, flies, and/or other insects that may be harmful to produce.
Insecticides can affect the nervous system of the insects, or damage their exoskeletons. They can also simply repel them from the area without causing much damage. A type of insecticide called IGR (insect growth regulators) manage the insects by preventing them to grow or lay eggs.
Some common chemical insecticides are:

  • Abamectin – an insecticide, nematicide (kills nematodes that infest plants), and miticide (kills mites and ticks). Most commonly formulated as cockroach and ant bait pesticide.
  • Cyfluthrin – a complex organic chemical that is common in household pesticides. Relatively less toxic to humans, but highly harmful to fish. Used to indoor pests such as ants, termites and roaches. Also used for outdoor pests such as wasps, ticks, and aphids.
  1. Herbicides

Herbicides are substances that kill unwanted plants. They are also known as weedkillers.
Selective herbicides target a specific species of weed. Total or non-selective herbicides will kill any and all plants within the area.
Most weedkillers are used in farms. But, home gardeners might also need a bottle for their lawn and garden.
Some common chemical herbicides are:

  • Atrazine – A common and inexpensive weedkiller. Most effective against broadleaf weeds. Used not only in sugarcane and maize farms, but also in home gardens and even golf courses.
  • Fluridone – Herbicide used for aquatic weeds such as Eurasian watermilfoil and hydrillas. It’s an organic compound with almost no toxicity to animals and humans.
  1. Rodenticides

Rodenticides are pesticides that target mice and rats. They’re commonly known as rat poison.
Different rodenticides have different modes of action. Some kill the rodents after just a single exposure. Some will achieve the desired effect after several doses.
Rats and mice don’t eat the entire food if they don’t recognize it. They prefer to nibble small pieces, instead. This is why some rodenticides are more effective only after several doses.
Rat poisons are harmful to all mammals, and that includes humans and pets. If you have rat poison at home, make sure to store them in a place that can’t be reached by pets and children.
Some common chemical rodenticides are:

  • Warfarin – an anticoagulant, or blood thinner. When ingested, it can cause internal bleeding. Rats and mice will usually die within two weeks after ingestion.
  • Zinc phosphide – a metal phosphide that is lethal even after a single dose. It can kill rodents within 3 days. Usually used at the same time with warfarin for places with severe rodent infestation.
  • Cholecalciferol – a type of vitamin D (specifically vitamin D3). High levels of vitamin D can cause hypercalcemia (excess calcium in the blood). If the blood calcium level is high enough, it can cause death. Rat poisons using vitamin D are usually formulated with an anticoagulant to make them more effective.
  1. Bactericides and Fungicides

Bactericides are commonly known as antiseptics, disinfectants, or antibiotics. They’re also considered as pesticides. This is because some bactericides can be used in agriculture. Disinfectants are rarely used on plants, however.
Fungicides have the same function as bactericides. The difference is their target. Fungicides target parasitic fungi and fungi spores.
These two are commonly used together in farming.
Some common chemical bactericides and fungicides are:

  • Chlorine – Common chemical used to sanitize swimming pools and potable drinking water.
  • Dicloran – Fungicide used for many varieties of crops such as apricots, celery, snap beans, grapes, potatoes, and more.
  • Thiabendazole – Fungicide used against blight, rot and mold on produce. This isn’t harmful to honey bees.
  • Streptomycin sulfate – an antibiotic used against blight for apples and pears.
  1. Larvicides

Larvicides are insecticides that target insects within their larval stages. These pesticides are most commonly used against mosquitoes.
Some common chemical larvicides are:

  • Methoprene – an IGR (insect growth regulator) that prevents mosquito larvae from developing into the pupal stage. Used on large bodies of water such as lakes and ponds. It’s quite harmful to some fish, lobster, and shrimp, and especially so to freshwater varieties. It’s not as toxic to humans and animals.
  • Neem oil – oil pressed from the seeds and fruits of the neem tree. Can reduce up to 100% of mosquito larvae after a week.

These are but a few of the pest control chemicals commonly used today. Do you understand pesticides a little better? That knowledge will help you control the pests invading your home.

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