Most Common Pesticides Used in Agriculture

Have you ever wondered the possible pesticides you can use to control pests mostly agricultural related pest? then you have it; because here are the most common pesticides used in agriculture. However, in this article, all the facts you need to know about the common pesticides used in agriculture are discussed. Firstly, let begin by understanding what a pesticide is.

What is a Pesticide?

Pesticides are substances used to curb pests. The word pesticide comprises; herbicide, insecticide, nematicide, molluscicide, piscicide, avicide, rodenticide, bactericide, insectifuge , animal repellent, antimicrobial, and fungicide. The most widely used of this list are herbicides which have roughly 80% usage. Pesticides are vastly made for crop protection. It protects plants from weeds, fungi, and insects, etc. For instance, Aquatic weed, Salvinia can be fought with Fungus Alternaria.

Extensively, a pesticide can be said to be a chemical like a carbamate or a biological agent like a virus, a bacterium, or a fungus that hinders, weakens, or kills pests. These pests include; insects, plant pathogens, weeds, mollusks, birds, mammals, fish, nematodes, and microbes that tend to weaken plants, and spread disease. Notwithstanding, pesticides have adverse effects on humans.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has defined pesticide as: “Any substance or mixture of drugs intended for preventing, destroying, or controlling any pest. These includes vectors of human or animal disease, unwanted species of plants or animals, causing harm during or otherwise interfering with the assembly, processing, storage, transport, or marketing of food, agricultural commodities, wood and wood products or animal feedstuffs, or substances which will be administered to animals for the control of insects, arachnids, or other pests in or on their bodies”.

Pesticides are usually categorized by target organism which entails: herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, etc. It can also be classified by its chemical pattern. Which includes: organic, inorganic, synthetic, or biological (biopesticide). Sometimes these differences cannot be pointed out.

We also have classification based on their physical state (gaseous). It includes; microbial pesticides and biochemical pesticides. Pertinent to note is the rapid development of Plant-derived pesticides, or “botanicals.” They entail; the pyrethroids, rotenoids, nicotinoids, and the fourth group that includes strychnine and scilliroside.


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Most Common Pesticides Used In Agriculture
Most common pesticides used in agriculture


Common Pesticides Used in Agriculture

Below are the list of the common pesticides used in agriculture which eliminates pest effectively;

Azoxystrobin: This is a fungicide used on cereals, fruit crops, vegetables, turf, potatoes, rice, peanuts, and ornamentals, etc. This chemical does not purge and unlikely to pollute water bodies. It has very low ecological risks, to aquatic life, birds, and mammals. It can also be known as; Abound, Amistar, Bankit, Heritage, and Quadris.

Tebuconazole: This is a substance used in the treatment of pathogenic and foliar plant fungi on feed and food crops.

Thiabendazole: This fungicide is used to prevent mold, rot, decay, and smudge on fruits and vegetables. It is non-toxic to honey bees.

Dicloran: Commonly utilized fungicide and used on different ornamentals, fruit and vegetable crops like apricots, snap beans, carrots, celery, cherries, cucumber, endive, fennel, garlic, grapes, lettuce, nectarines, onions, peaches, plums, potatoes, prunes, rhubarb, shallots, etc.

Atrazine: This herbicide is popularly used and it is very effective and cheap. It helps eradicate noxious weeds in primary crops. It hurts groundwater and can cause a male frog (amphibians) to change gender. It is prohibited in Europe.

Fluridone: This substance is used to prevent aquatic weeds in freshwater ponds whether floating or emerged. It Is a herbicide.

Trifluralin: This herbicide is insoluble in water and does not leave sediments on crops. Hence sediments only occur in root tissues. It is deemed a pre-emergence herbicide. It’s used on grass, to control broadleaf weeds and on some fruit and vegetable crops, flowers, and shrubs such as cotton, alfalfa, sunflowers, and soybeans.

Chlorpyrifos: This is an effective insecticide used in curbing insects like; cutworms, corn rootworms, cockroaches, grubs, flea beetles, flies, termites, fire ants, lice, etc. It is majorly used as an insecticide crop like; grain, cotton, field, fruit, nut, and vegetable crops. And also on lawns and ornamental plants. The use of chlorpyrifos poses a serious threat to aquatic life, wildlife, and honeybees.

2,4 Dimethylphenyl formamide (DMPF): It is a multi-purpose insecticide but is mainly used on mite or tick-infested dogs. Amitraz as it is called is a non-systemic acaricide and insecticide.

Acetamiprid: This contact neonicatinoid insecticide is majorly aimed at sucking-type insects. Can be smeared into the soil and can as well be served as a foliar spray on apples, cherries, lettuce, peas, peppers, house and garden plants, plums, etc.

Thiamethoxam: This insecticide has been categorized as a neonicatoid. It is used to impede insect infestation. Insects like; aphids, thrips, beetles, centipedes, millipedes, sawflies, leaf miners, stem borers, and termites.


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Most Common Pesticides Used in Agriculture

Chlorpyrifos is the most popularly used pesticide. We will be seeing a little about this chemical which has proven to be effective in curbing pests in agriculture, homes, and public places.

What is Chlorpyrifos?

Chlorpyrifos was first enlisted as an insecticide in 1965 and was later endorsed by The US Environmental Protection Agency in 2006. The only accepted way for indoor use of Chlorpyrifos is in containers with treated bait. Chlorpyrifos can be classified as an organophosphate insecticide. Real chlorpyrifos consists of white or colorless crystals.

And has this unique skunky smell, that can be passed for that of a rancid egg or rotten garlic. It is useful in the control of diverse kinds of pests like; termites, mosquitoes, roundworms, etc.

According to the World Health Organization, Chlorpyrifos can be modestly dangerous for humans based on its perceptive toxicity. One is likely to suffer neurological effects, persistent developmental disorder, and even autoimmune disorders when excessively exposed to this chemical.

Exposure to Chlorpyrifos during pregnancy can cause damage to the mental development of the child. Home use of this chemical was banned in the US. In agriculture generally, it is one of the most popularly used organophosphate insecticides in the US and was also one of the most popularly used residential insecticides.

Chlorpyrifos is used in approximately a hundred countries of the world to prevent insects in homes, public or commercial facilities, and most importantly agriculture. But its use in homes is highly prohibited in so many countries.

According to Dow, “Chlorpyrifos is registered to be used in nearly 100 countries and is annually applied to approximately 8.5 million crop acres”.

It’s suitable for crops like; cotton, corn, almonds, and fruit trees, including oranges, bananas, and apples. But not suitable for the tomato crop, as it kills the whole plant within the space of two days.

It was tallied by EPA that between 1987 and 1998, roughly 21 million pounds of chlorpyrifos were used annually in the US. And in 2001, chlorpyrifos was rated 15th amongst all pesticides used in the United States, with a rough estimate of 8 to 11 million pounds used. In 2007, it was rated the 14th most used pesticide ingredient in agriculture in the US.


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How to Apply Chlorpyrifos

Chlorpyrifos is usually procured as a 23.5% or 50% liquid concentrate. 0.5% is the approved concentration for direct-spray pinpoint applications. And 0.03–0.12% mix is recommended for wide-area application in the US.



There are so many pesticides that can be effectively used in preventing pest and pest diseases. This we have listed taking a keen interest in the common ones and giving special attention to the most popularly used. Chlorpyrifos is widely in use to prevent pests and their concurring effects on crops and even humans alike.

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