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What Is Secondary Kill?

What Is Secondary Kill?

If you’ve done some research about pest control options, you may have encountered the term “secondary kill” – but what is it? 

Many insecticides work only when the target pest makes direct contact with them. This contact may involve simply touching a surface with the insecticide, while other insecticides, such as baits, require ingestion by the pest in order to work. Insecticides that work only through direct contact typically have to be applied very broadly to ensure that the target pests make contact. Those that do not directly contact the insecticide do not die. Direct contact insecticides are extremely effective, however, and are the only choice for many common pests. 

This brings us to secondary kill. Some insecticides do not need to be applied as broadly because they actually rely on the pests themselves to spread their effects to other conspecifics (i.e., others of the same species). Insects can transfer insecticide to each other through direct physical contact (e.g., mating, touching antennae together, brushing past one another in tight spaces), the contact or consumption of frass (feces), oral exchange of food materials, or the consumption of dead or dying insects. Insecticides involving secondary kill are most common with social insects, such as ants and termites, and those that live in large, crowded aggregations like cockroaches. 

We are proud to offer Termidor® as part of our Triangle pest control services. Termidor’s trademarked Transfer Effect™ sets it apart from other termite treatments. Termites that contact Termidor become carriers that spread the insecticide to other members of the colony. Termidor is slow-acting, meaning that termites that have directly contacted the insecticide have plenty of time to spread its effect to others before dying. This approach is extremely effective and has been used in homes across the Triangle. Contact our team at Innovative Pest Solutions for more information about termite treatment options.