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How to choose the most effective formulations for perimeter pest control

By Eric Paysen, Ph.D., Technical Services Manager, Syngenta Professional Pest Management

The primary goal for perimeter pest control is protecting a structure’s interior with preventive products and best practices. Recognizing common pests and understanding biological processes are essential when developing treatment strategies. As part of that, using various insecticide formulations should be included in a strong treatment strategy.

Insecticide formulations include at least one active ingredient combined with various inert components that allow for product dispersal. During development, chemists consider safety, storage, handling, application and the effectiveness of various combinations. Formulations are typically grouped into the following categories based on composition:


Although often overlooked in perimeter pest management, baits can be incredibly effective. Ants are target pests for bait treatments outdoors, but baits also control chewing insects like peridomestic cockroaches, crickets and earwigs. Comprised of food materials and slower-acting active ingredients, outdoor baits fall into two categories:

Gel baits

These baits are consumed by sweet-loving ants, including many super-colony ants. Optigard® Ant gel bait and Advion® Ant gel bait are examples of effective sweet gel baits. In ant colonies, gel baits are effective when applied directly to active foraging trails but should not be applied if no foragers are present during the inspection. For super-colony ants, gel baits should be used in combination with liquid residual treatments.

Solid granular baits

Advion Insect granular bait combines food ingredients, including oils and proteins, with carbohydrates. This formulation is effective at managing various ant species and is also an option for other chewing insects, like cockroaches, crickets and earwigs. Solid granular baits are an excellent addition to preventive perimeter treatments and are most effective in the spring when insect activity begins.

Liquid residuals

These are the most commonly applied products in perimeter pest management. Including microencapsulations (CS), wettable powders (WP), water-dispersible granules (WDG) and suspension concentrates (SC), all liquid residual formulations require adding water to the bottled concentrate before application. Liquid residuals can be divided into two categories:


These formulations typically contain active ingredients in the pyrethroid class of insecticides. They are useful in creating barriers that control pests that breach the treatment zone. Barriers created by microencapsulations like Demand® CS insecticide and Tandem® insecticide are especially effective because the capsule protects the active ingredient from UV rays and other damaging environmental factors. With iCAP technology™ found in Demand CS and Tandem, lipophilic microcaps are attracted to insects’ exoskeletons, ensuring pests receive a lethal dose after contacting dried residuals.


In this case, slower is better, in that the extended time required for mortality gives pests time to transfer the active ingredient to their nestmates. This effect, called horizontal transfer, is most common in ant management. These formulations have revolutionized ant management and are used by creating perimeter treatment zones, following leading edges where ants trail and by directly treating active foraging trails. Often containing the same active ingredient as baits, they are compatible options for combination treatments with bait usage. Optigard Flex liquid insecticide and Advion WDG insecticide are examples of effective residuals engineered for tough ant infestations.

Granular insecticides

Not to be confused with granular bait formulations, granular insecticides are not eaten, instead providing long-lasting residual control and relatively quick contact mortality. Demand G insecticide is an example of a pyrethroid-based granular insecticide that is highly effective in perimeter programs. Ideal treatment sites include heavily vegetated planter beds and areas with dense river rock landscaping. Like high-volume liquid applications, but without the need for a large spray rig, these formulations can settle down through complex substrates to the soil level where pests breed and harbor. A granular insecticide application is a time-effective tool that can help eliminate pests from tough-to-treat habitats.

Syngenta is proud to offer a portfolio of perimeter products to help keep your routes callback-free throughout the year. If you have questions or need ideas, please contact your local Syngenta territory manager.

©2021 Syngenta. Important: Always read and follow label instructions. Some products may not be registered for sale or use in all states or counties and/or may have state-specific use requirements. Please check with your local extension service to ensure registration and proper use. Advion®, Demand®, For Life Uninterrupted™, Optigard®, Tandem®, with iCAP technology™ and the Syngenta logo are trademarks of a Syngenta Group Company. Syngenta Customer Center: 1-866-SYNGENT(A) (796-4368).

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© Syngenta. Important: Always read and follow label instructions. Some products may not be registered for sale or use in all states or counties and/or may have state-specific use requirements. Please check with your local extension service to ensure registration and proper use. The trademarks displayed or otherwise used herein are trademarks or service marks of a Syngenta Group Company or third parties. Syngenta Customer Center: 1-866-SYNGENT(A) (796-4368).