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CUES: Center for Urban Ecology and Sustainability

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Biorational vs. Traditional Pesticides

Modes of Action

Product Types by Chemical Class

Biorational insecticides are often the best choice when chemically treating your home for pests, especially around children or pets.

Chemical Class Relative Residual Life Number of Formulations Insect Toxicity Mammalian Toxicity Ecological Toxicity
Pyrethroid Long Many High Low (except cats) High (aquatic)
Organophosphate Moderate to Long Moderate High Moderate High (avian)
Biorational Short Few to Moderate Low to Moderate Very Low Very Low

Modes of Action

Cockroach and Ant Baits:

Reduces the amount of energy obtained from food; insect eventually starves to death.

Biorational Sprays:

Products disrupt normal functions; exact modes of action not known.


Traditional Sprays:

Products target specific areas of nervous system. Many of these hormones and receptors are also found in humans.


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Last modified on May 08, 2013