Pesticide Formulations

- The physical "form" of a pesticide product -

Summary: The same pesticide ingredient is often available in different physical forms, or formulations. The best choice is generally determined by the area to be treated and the available application equipment.

Jack DeAngelis, PhD
OSU Ext. Entomologist (ret.)

Pesticides are supplied in a number of different physical forms, or formulations. Products may be in the form of dust, aerosol spray, wettable powder, liquid concentrate, and granules. The pesticide itself is made of one or more active ingredients (poison) plus inactive carriers like clay or oil. Aerosol sprays also contain a propellent that pressurizes the can.

Dust (D) formulations are dry with the active ingredient bound to clay or some other fine powder, or made entirely from pure active ingredient such as silica or borate. The problem with dust formulations is they are difficult to apply evenly.

Aerosols sprays (spray cans) are convenient because the active ingredient is pre-mixed and you don't need a separate sprayer. Aerosols are relatively expensive, however, on a per volume basis and so are best used only for small areas.

Wettable powder (WP) pesticides are dust-like formulations that are mixed with water, or sometimes oil, and sprayed through a sprayer. Wettable powders are economical and solve the application problems inherent in dust formulations.

Liquid concentrate (LC) pesticides are diluted with water and applied through some type of sprayer. Liquid concentrates are economical and generally easy to apply but you will need a separate sprayer.

The final commonly used formulation is granular pesticides (G). Granules are course, dry pellets that are applied thrugh some type of spreader. Turf and lawn care pesticides are often applied as granules.

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