Tech Notes

Repelling vs. Non-repelling

Repelling vs. Non-repelling: What’s the difference and when do I use each one?

Understanding the difference between repellent and non-repellent insecticides and which should be used to treat pests is a significant part of pest management. To serve customers most effectively, pest management professionals (PMPs) must have a clear understanding of their customers’ pests to determine the type of treatment to use.
 
The main difference a user will find between repellent and non-repellent insecticides is the length of time it takes for the product to knock down an insect and whether the insect has time to transfer the insecticide to fellow pests or nestmates. Fast acting pyrethroid insecticides, like Demand® CS, are considered repellent products because they create a barrier and act quickly to prevent social insects like ants from maintaining a pheromone trail. The resulting distraction from their trail gives the appearance that they have been repelled, even if a product formulation limits repellency. Slower acting insecticides, like Optigard® Flex, are categorized as non-repellent products and take longer to knock down an insect. Insects cross over surfaces treated with these insecticides and return to the nest before they are affected, thus maintaining a trail and encouraging more ants to come in contact with the same treatment.
 
Fast-acting insecticides are excellent for creating chemical barriers around structures, but PMPs must be sure to make a thorough application. Areas covered with heavy vegetation, ground cover or mulch may be difficult to treat thoroughly. Trailing insects may be able to move freely beneath the treated surface if the liquid has not penetrated beneath the canopy. In such cases, the use of a granular insecticide like Demand G may help move the active ingredient through the vegetation or mulch where it can create a complete barrier to insect movement.
 
Slower acting insecticides like Optigard are excellent for treating insect trails and nests. Their delayed activity helps to maximize the number of insects that come into contact with the active ingredient and improve colony control. Because the insects are not deterred from the treatment, it is more likely to affect them and the nest or colony to which they return.
 
So when choosing a pest management product, consider your primary goal:  exclusion, attraction, or maximum exposure to the pest, and then chose your product accordingly. Whether you are applying a repellent or non-repellent insecticide, always remember to read and follow the label. Labels are written to ensure you obtain the best results with the product you are using.
 
 ©2011 Syngenta Crop Protection, LLC, 410 Swing Road, Greensboro, NC 27409.

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