Systemic pesticides are chemicals that are absorbed and transported within the plant tissues. They are applied to seeds, soil, or foliage and then move through the plant’s vascular system to all the plant parts, including the leaves, stems, flowers, and fruits. This makes them effective against a broad range of pests, including insects, mites, and nematodes, as well as fungal and bacterial diseases.
Pros of systemic pesticides:
- Effective against a broad range of pests: Systemic pesticides can control a wide variety of pests, including insects, mites, nematodes, fungal, and bacterial diseases.
- Long-lasting: They provide prolonged control, as they are absorbed into the plant’s tissues and can continue to protect it for weeks or even months.
- Economical: They can be cost-effective, as they require less frequent applications than contact pesticides.
- Convenient: They are easy to apply, as they can be sprayed onto the foliage or soil and do not require direct contact with the pest.
- Precise targeting: They can be targeted to specific plant tissues or organs, such as the roots or leaves, and can avoid affecting non-target organisms.
Cons of systemic pesticides:
- Toxicity to beneficial organisms: They can harm beneficial insects, such as bees, butterflies, and ladybugs, as well as pollinators and natural enemies of pests.
- Environmental contamination: They can contaminate soil and water resources and have long-lasting effects on non-target organisms.
- Health risks: They can pose health risks to humans, such as skin irritation, respiratory problems, and neurological disorders.
- Resistance: Overuse of systemic pesticides can lead to resistance in pest populations, making them less effective over time.
- Persistence: They can persist in the environment and have cumulative effects on the ecosystem.
Here are ten examples of systemic pesticides:
- Imidacloprid: a neonicotinoid insecticide used for control of soil pests, such as termites, and sucking insects like aphids and whiteflies.
- Thiamethoxam: another neonicotinoid that is used for the same purposes as imidacloprid.
- Fipronil: a broad-spectrum insecticide used for controlling ants, termites, cockroaches, fleas, ticks, and other pests.
- Clothianidin: a neonicotinoid that is used to control soil pests, such as grubs, as well as foliar pests like aphids and thrips.
- Dinotefuran: a neonicotinoid that is used for controlling a wide range of pests, including aphids, whiteflies, thrips, and leafhoppers.
- Acetamiprid: a neonicotinoid that is used for controlling sucking pests, such as aphids, whiteflies, and mealybugs.
- Thiacloprid: a neonicotinoid that is used for controlling a range of pests, including aphids, whiteflies, and spider mites.
- Imazalil: a fungicide used for controlling various fungal diseases, such as powdery mildew, rust, and leaf spot.
- Propiconazole: another fungicide used for controlling various fungal diseases, such as black spot, anthracnose, and downy mildew.
- Metalaxyl: a fungicide used for controlling various soil-borne fungal diseases, such as Pythium, Phytophthora, and Rhizoctonia.
While systemic pesticides offer many benefits, they also pose some risks. They can harm beneficial insects, such as bees and butterflies, and may contaminate soil and water resources. Therefore, it is essential to use them with caution and follow the label instructions carefully. Moreover, it is always a good idea to consider alternative pest control methods, such as cultural practices and biological control, before resorting to systemic pesticides.