Insecticides are chemicals that are used to kill, control or repel insects. Commonly used in agriculture, they can also be used in the home and garden

Insecticides can be used to control one or more species of insect. They work by attacking the nervous system of the insect or by damaging their exoskeleton.

Insecticides can come in many different forms such as sprays, foams, gels, bait or powders. Their form is often dependent on what type of pest the insecticide is being used for.

Different types of insecticide

There are three different types of insecticide:

  • Systematic -  An application of insecticide is applied to the soil. The plants then take the insecticide through the roots and moves up through the plants until it is on the plant's leaves, twigs and fruit. Any insect that then eats the plants will ingest the poisonous insecticide
  • Contact- These insecticides kill insects that are directly hit with an application of insecticide. Often known as insect sprays, this will only work if the insect is hit with the spray. This does not work as a preventative measure
  • Ingested - These insecticides are a poison that requires the insect to eat the insecticide, so they must be placed in a convenient place

Insecticides can be used to combat a variety of different insects including bed bugs, ants, spiders and moths. It is important when purchasing insecticide that you purchase one that is specific to your needs.

Insecticides can be made up of varying different chemicals and not all of the insects are affected by the same chemical.

Are insecticides safe?

Insecticides are often toxic and can be dangerous if used incorrectly. It is important to use insecticides as directed by the instructions on the packaging. If they are used in low dosage, then they generally pose no threat to humans or animals.

Some people will have a sensitivity if they come into contact with an insecticide. Eye irritation, skin rashes and mild allergic reactions can be common when using chemicals. It is recommended that you wear gloves, masks and goggles when using chemical insecticides.