Fipronil: Broad-based Insect Control

Fipronil is a highly active, broad-spectrum insecticide from the phenylpyrazole family. It was discovered and developed by Rhône-Poulenc between 1985 and ’87 and placed on the market in ’93. Fipronil was later sold to Bayer CropScience, which then sold global rights to BASF in 2003 as part of a portfolio of products for about $1.42 million.

Used at low doses, the active ingredient is highly effective against a broad range of insect pests, including Coleopterous and Chironomus larvae, which feed on the roots of cereal crops.

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Fipronil’s mode of action sets it apart from most commercial insecticides currently on the market. Fipronil disrupts the insect’s central nervous system by blocking the passage of chloride ions through the GABA receptor, an inhibitor of the central nervous system. This causes hyperexcitation of contaminated insects’ nerves and muscles. While many classes of insecticides affect the central nervous system, no other class has this specific effect.

Like hydramethylnon, there is no known resistance to fipronil.

Fipronil is registered and sold in more than 70 countries for use on more than 100 crops, from rice, corn, potatoes, and small grains to specialty crops such as ornamentals, mangoes, cotton, and chili peppers.