Plant diseases

What is imidacloprid and how is it used?

That plants can be attacked by numerous pests and by microorganisms that cause diseases is a fact, but it is also true that today we have a wide variety of products that fight them. One of the most used are those with Imidacloprid.

But what are its features and applications? What side effects does its use have? We are going to talk to you about all this and more below.

What is imidacloprid?

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It is a substance that was designed and patented by Bayer Cropscience on May 3, 1988 in Tokyo (Japan). Its insecticidal properties make it easily salable; not in vain, its effectiveness is very fast. In fact, it is a very good product to control all types of pests: be they termites, fleas, cockroaches, weevils (such as the red weevil that affects palm trees so much) or ants. Furthermore, it can also be used to treat the seeds before and during sowing.

Today it is sold under various brand names, such as Admire, Advantage, Piccus, Prothor or Seedoprid.

What are its uses?

Home agriculture and gardening

Imidacloprid is a good and effective insecticide, which -as long as it is used properly- will help us control and even eliminate practically all insects that are damaging crops, such as aphids, mealybugs, thrips or whiteflies for example.

As a systemic insecticide, it is absorbed by the roots and transported by the stems through the xylem (woody vessels) of plants. Thus, when the insects bite it, they become intoxicated and die.

Elimination of subterranean termites

Termites that live below ground level can cause a lot of trouble and annoyance, not only to crops but also to wooden furniture.

To avoid or eliminate them, mix between 12.5 and 25g of this insecticide with 15 liters of water. After stirring, it is ready for direct application on the ground.

Control of pests in animals

If you have pets, you have probably bought an antiparasitic that contains imidacloprid, perhaps from the Advantage brand. Always avoiding contact with the eyes, nose, mouth and mucous membranes, and following the vet’s instructions to the letter, it is good even as a preventive.

What measures must be taken to be able to use it?

Imidacloprid is a substance considered moderately toxic. I can tell you that I made the mistake many years ago of not taking any safety measures, and I had the skin on the fingers of my right hand (the one that had been in contact with the product continuously for almost a month) as scaly.

Although he recovered well (my skin is smooth again ), it made me see that it is very, very important to take seriously the manufacturer’s specified indications, and others that are…, yes, common sense:

  • You have to put on rubber gloves, if possible new, or failing that they are not broken anywhere. Avoid at all costs that the liquid comes into contact with the skin.
  • The use of a mask does not hurt either to avoid accidental ingestions.
  • Do not use it on windy days, for our own safety.
  • Do not use it in full sun, as otherwise the plants would burn due to the magnifying glass effect (that is, the sun’s rays, when coming into contact with the product attached to the leaves, would burn them). It is better to wait for sunset/ dusk, when the star is low.
  • Keep it away from animals and children. Ideally, keep it in a closet that is difficult for them to access.
  • It should never be thrown away in nature, or in the gardens. It is very harmful.

What side effects does it have?

Reduces the population of bees and bumblebees

Imidcaloprid, as well as the rest of neonicotinoids, are substances so effective in pest control that they also harm, probably, the insects that should matter most to us: bees and bumblebees. Both are one of the main pollinating animals on the planet ; without them, all humanity would be lost.

For this reason, little by little we are seeing that different countries are regulating their trade. Germany was the first to prohibit treating seeds with this insecticide, and in Spain Royal Decree 1054/2002 was drafted, which regulates the evaluation process for the registration, authorization and commercialization of biocides. In 2018, he reached high positions and it was the EU itself that almost completely banned it ( here you have more information).

Redness, scaling, and other health problems

I know this first-hand, and that my case was rather mild. If you have contact with this product and you are not wearing any type of protection, wash the area with soap and water as soon as possible; otherwise it may become red, flaky, or even irritated.

In addition, if ingested, depending on the dose, you could have respiratory distress, internal burning sensation, vomiting, seizures or dizziness, among others. Obviously, a visit to the doctor is mandatory.

You have more information in this study.

Plants less resistant to pests

The use of chemical insecticides makes the plants’ own immune systems weaken, “go to sleep.” They get used to receiving them when they have pests, and not to fighting those insects themselves.

I hope you have learned a lot about imidacloprid, its uses and side effects.

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