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The use of an insect growth regulator is one way for a pest manager to minimise potential resistance to the ‘go to’ insecticides in his or her toolkit.

Most pest managers have their ‘go to’ product, especially for general pest spray treatments. But using the same product during each visit, especially in regular service accounts with high pest pressure, can cause problems over time. Insecticide resistance can develop and your ‘go to’ product may become your ‘no go’ product!

In commercial accounts where regular treatments take place, considering the potential for resistance is crucial to any successful, ongoing pest management plan.

In professional pest management, flies, mosquitoes, cockroaches, fleas and bed bugs are the key insects that have developed increasing levels of insecticide resistance. These insects have two common attributes that lend themselves to developing insecticide resistance:

  • They often develop high population numbers and can persist over a long period of time in a given area, requiring regular treatments for management
  • Their rapid life cycle, coupled with large populations, means that new individuals containing genetic variations with increased levels of resistance can appear quite rapidly in a population.

It’s not uncommon for such conditions to occur in commercial accounts and it is important that pest managers are aware of and manage the possibility of resistance.

One solution is to rotate between products that contain insecticides with different modes of action; each visit or at the most every couple of visits, use a product with a different mode of action. The mode of action can be determined from the chemical group (number/letter) specified on the label – products with a different mode of action come from a different chemical group.

Another option is to combine two different actives, with different modes of action, in the same tank mix. When considering cockroach and flea infestations, an ideal combination is to add an insect growth regulator, such as Sumilarv from Sumitomo Chemicals, to your regular insecticide.

Sumilarv acts on juvenile stages as they moult and also prevents the development of viable eggs, breaking the breeding cycle. Pyriproxyfen, the insect growth regulator in Sumilarv, is a very stable molecule, active at low doses. As a result it delivers long residual performance on a variety of surfaces. For example, it can prevent egg hatch in fleas for up to 12 months on carpet. Combining it with a knockdown/residual insecticide such as Sumiguard (that contains the pyrethroid esfenvalerate), provides long-lasting population control.

Not only does the addition of an IGR provide improved performance, but also you are doing the right thing by protecting your favourite products from resistance problems in the future. It also allows you to make claims such as ‘breaks the breeding cycle’ that are easy to for your customer to understand, giving you a point of difference that supports your professional approach.

Charles McClintock, Professional Products Business Manager, Sumitomo Chemical Australia