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Imidacloprid is a widely used insecticide and a popular active ingredient used in a variety of formulations in products. Imidacloprid is used in a number of different ways which include crop and vegetation protection, insecticide sprays, termite control and control of fleas among other pests.
On this page, you will learn a little about Imidacloprid why this active ingredient works so effectively to treat various problem pests.
What is Imidacloprid?
Imidacloprid is a general-use insecticide that is systemic and behaves as an insect neurotoxin. Imidacloprid belongs to a class of chemicals called neonicotinoids. The word neonicotinoids may sound familiar to you because it contains the word “nicotine”. This means that this chemical is made to imitate the properties of nicotine, a powerful neurotoxin found naturally in tobacco.
Imidacloprid was patented in the United States by Bayer CropScience in 1992 for the use of turfgrass and ornamentals. Initially used as a form of pest control for the agricultural industry, Bayer would sell this under many different names for many different uses including termite control around home foundations, pest control for gardens and turf, treatment of domestic pets to control fleas,protection of trees from boring insects, and as a preservative for some types of lumber products .
The insects that Imidacloprid successfully targets are bed bugs, ants, flies, roaches and termites. It is also commonly applied to soil, seed, and foliage to control nutrient-sucking insects including aphids, thrips, whiteflies, turf insects, soil insects and some beetles. It is most commonly used on agricultural crops and is especially effective when used as a seed or soil treatment.
How Does Imidacloprid Work?
Imidacloprid is designed to mimic the effects of nicotine, found commonly in tobacco. Imidacloprid’s mode of action is achieved by disrupting inhibiting stimuli transmission within the nervous system of the targeted insect when that insect either ingests or absorbs the poison into its body.
In other words, imidacloprid blocks a certain type of neuronal pathways that are much more prevalent in insects than mammals. That is why the chemical is much more toxic to insects than humans or animals. As a result of this blockage, the insect begins to accumulate acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter, resulting in the insect's paralysis, and eventually their death.
Benefits of Imidacloprid
Imidacloprid comes in a variety of formulations. It is used in liquid insecticide concentrates and gel baits among others.
Imidacloprid is effective against insects, especially when protecting insects that are damaging plants because it is a systemic insecticide and goes through the plant down to its roots, without harming the plant. Insects that bite into the plant are then effected and succumb to the active ingredient.
Imidacloprid is best used to treat against pest infestations on turf, ornamentals, trees, shrubs, and other garden plants. Indoors it works great for the control of ant and roach infestation in bait form.
Drawbacks of Imidacloprid
Extended use of Imidacloprid may lead to the target insect developing a resistance to the active ingredient. You may not want to use Imidacloprid if you desire a quicker knockdown of a problem pest and do not want to wait for the chemical to affect the entire population.
Is Imidacloprid Safe?
Imidacloprid is safe to use when applied carefully according to label directions. When handling products containing imidacloprid it is best to err on the side of caution and use gloves and protective clothing when spraying the products. Please use the product according to the instructions on the label and take heed to the safety measures on the label when applying the product.
What To Expect
Imidacloprid has a dual mode of action so it can affect insects upon contact or ingestion. After application, once the insect has been exposed to the active ingredient, their feeding activity stops within minutes to hours and they often die within 1 to 2 days but it can take up to 7 days depending on the formulation and the target pest.