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Pest Control Dictionary:

Knowledge is power and when it comes to pest control, it is no different.  The technical language of pest control can be quite confusing so, has created a Pest Control Dictionary to put you in the know, because knowing exactly what you need to get rid of your particular pest can save you time and money. Here is a list of the most common pest control words and vocabulary, with their definitions that can help you to make the best pest control decisions for your home or business.



Q. What are adjuvants?

A. An adjuvants is a chemical that is added to a pesticide mixture that gives and extra boost to the active ingredients. For example, an adjuvant can be added to a specific pesticide to help the pesticide penetrate better into a plant that has a waxy surface, whereas without the adjuvant the pesticide would just run off.


Q. What is an adulticide?

A. An Adulticide is a pesticide or insecticide that is used to kill or control adult insects such as mosquitoes or fleas. Adulticides are not effective on the larvae. Adulticides can be used in ULV foggers or applied as a spray or from an aerosol can. Adulticides should not be applied directly to fruits and vegetables or applied near food. When applied properly, in accordance with the label and allowed to dry thoroughly, adulticides are not harmful to people or pets.



Q. What are poisonous baits?

A. Poisonous baits, (rat baits, cockroach baits, ant baits) is a pesticide mixed with a food to attract the pest to eat it. Baits have a lower concentration of pesticide



Q. What does compatibility mean with pesticides?

A. Compatibility has to do with the chemical reaction between two pesticides. Many times, two or more pesticides are mixed together to control multiple pests. For example, many pest controllers like to mix an adulticide with an insect growth regulator (IGR) to control the adult pest as well as controlling the larvae or nymphs. This is a more complete control pest control solution. So, it important to read the label to make sure the two pesticides are compatible so that neither of the pesticides loses effectiveness once mixed.


Q. What is an insecticide concentrate?

A. An insecticide concentrate is an insecticide or pesticide that is in concentrated form. Insecticide concentrates are intended to be diluted with water or oil depending on the pesticide label. Insecticide concentrates are intended to be used with hand-held garden sprayers, backpack sprayers or large truck mounted tank sprayers.

Contact Insecticides:

Q. What is a contact insecticide?

A. A contact insecticide is an insecticide that is toxic upon direct contact to the pest. In other words, a pest must directly touch the pesticide in order for it to be affected by the pesticide.



Emulsifiable Concentrates

Q. What is an emulsifiable concentrate?

A. An emulsifiable concentrate is a insecticide that contains a high concentration of the pesticide that are designed to be mixed with oil or water. Emulsifiable concentrates typically contain up to 8 pounds of pesticide per gallon of concentrate. Emulsifiable concentrates or (EC) should be applied with low-pressure, low-volume sprayers or mist blowers.



Q. What are flowables or dry flowables?

A. Flowables or dry flowables are pesticides that are manufactured as a solid material (typically a dust) but then are suspended in a liquid.


Q. What is a fumigant?

A. A fumigant is a pesticide in the form of a poisonous or toxic gas. Fumigants are toxic when absorbed or inhaled. Fumigants are highly toxic and should be used only according to the label and with person protective equipment.


Q. What is a fungicide?

A. A fungicide is a pesticide that kills or controls fungi or fungal diseases. It is important to know exactly what you are treating because fungicides will not be effective on bacteria or nematodes.

  • Contact fungicides protect the plant from fungus damaging the plants’ surface.

  • Systemic fungicides are applied at the root and are absorbed and travel through plant, protecting it from the inside.

Using a fungicide correctly, according to the product label can be extremely beneficial and effective in protecting your plants.



Q. What are insecticide granules?

A. Insecticide granules are a pesticide in a dry, ready-to-use granular form. Insecticide granules are typically a low concentration mixture of pesticide and are applied to lawns and gardens by using a handheld spreader or a push spreader. Some insecticide granules come in smaller shaker bottles which make it easy to apply to smaller gardens or planters. The advantage of using a granular insecticide is that they can control pests at the soil level. The disadvantage of using a granular insecticide is that they are not good treating foliage because the granules will not stick to them.



Q. What is an herbicide?

A. An herbicide is a chemical or pesticide that is used to control plant growth or weeds. Herbicides can be produced to kill specific plants or weeds while not harming others, for example some herbicides can be sprayed on your lawn to kill clover but not harm the grass. Always make sure to check the label to avoid damaging non-target plants.


Insect Growth Regulators (IGR)

Q. What is an insect growth regulator (IGR)?

A. An insect growth regulator or IGR is a chemical that mimics the juvenile hormone in pests such as cockroaches or fleas. When an IGR comes in contact with the eggs, larvae or nymphs, the IGR prevents them from maturing into reproducing adults. Some IGR can also inhibit the molting process, not allowing for the exoskeleton to form properly thus causing the insect to die. IGR’s typically are not a quick knockdown control solution for pests but can be very valuable when used in conjunction with a compatible adulticide.


Q. What is an insecticide?

A. An insecticide is any chemical that is used to kill insects.





Q. What is a Larvicide?

A. A Larvicide is a pesticide or insecticide that is used to kill insects such as mosquitoes or fleas at the larvae stage in the lifecycle. Larvicides kill the larvae and pupae before they can mature into adults. Larvicides do not kill adult insects. When applied properly, in accordance with the label and allowed to dry thoroughly, larvicides are not harmful to people or pets.




Q. What is a non-repellant pesticide?

A. A non-repellant pesticide is a slower acting pesticide that does not kill on contact and is not detected by the target pest. Non-repellants are effective by allowing the pesticide to be carried back to the nest and spread to the rest of the colony.



Q. What is an ornamental plant?

A. An ornamental plant is a plant that is used for decorative purposes such as rose bushes or shrubs.


Post- Emergent Herbicides

Q. What are post-emergent herbicides?

A. Post-emergent herbicides are applied to weeds after they have already germinated. They work by traveling down the plant stalk and into the root system to kill the weed. They are effective in controlling weeds that have already sprouted and dried. It is important to note that post-emergent herbicides only work on actively growing weeds. Therefore, they should be applied when the weeds are actively growing,

Pre-Emergent Herbicides

Q. What are pre-emergent herbicides?

A. Pre-emergent herbicides are applied to the soil before the weeds have a chance to grow. They work by inhibiting cell division in the young root system of the germinating weed, which results in the death of the young seedling weed shortly after germination.




Q. What is a repellant pesticide?

A. A repellant pesticide is a detectable pesticide that can create a barrier between the pest and the area sprayed. It can also be a pesticide that provides a quick knockdown or on-contact kill.

Ready-To-Use (RTU)

Q. What is a ready-to-use or (RTU) pesticide?

A. Ready-to-use or (RTU) pesticides are low concentration insecticides usually in the form of a spray or aerosol. Ready-to-use pesticides are good for in home use and because they are pre-mixed there is less of a chance for mistakes.


Systemic Insecticides

Q. What is a systemic insecticide?

A. A systemic insecticide is a type of pesticide that is absorbed into a plant and distributed throughout its tissues, reaching the plant’s stem, leaves, roots, and any fruits or flowers. Systemic insecticides are specifically those that target insects. They are effective in controlling pests that feed on the plant’s sap, such as aphids, whiteflies, and mealybugs. Some of the most commonly used systemic insecticides are neonicotinoids, which interfere with insect nervous systems It is important to note that systemic insecticides cannot be washed off a plant after they are absorbed, since they are inside the plant.


Thermal Fogging

Q. What is thermal fogging?

A. Thermal fogging is the process of dispersing a large amount of chemical into a room or space with the use of a thermal fogger. The thermal fogger heats the chemical, creating a large amount of fog without diluting the active ingredient in the chemical.


ULV Fogging

Q. What is ULV fogging (Ultra-Low Volume)

A. ULV or Ultra-Low Volume fogging is the process of dispersing a large amount of chemical into a room or space with the use of a ULV fogger. ULV foggers use large volumes of air at low pressures to transform liquid into droplets.



Wettable/Soluble Powders

Q. What is a wettable or soluble powder?

A. A wettable or soluble powders are powders that contain a high concentration of pesticides. Wettable powders are mixed with water to form a suspension and soluble powders will dissolve in water to form a solution. When applying wettable or soluble powders you will need to agitate the sprayer tank often as the particles will settle. Once dry, wettable/soluble powders do leave more of a visible residue.





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