National Pesticide Information Center



Pesticide Active Ingredients

Active ingredients are the chemicals in pesticide products that kill, control, or repel pests. For example, the active ingredients in a herbicide are the ingredient(s) that kill weeds. Often, the active ingredients make up a small portion of the whole product. Pesticide product labels include the name of each active ingredient and its concentration in the product.

  • The same active ingredient may be found in hundreds of pesticide products with different names.
  • Products with similar brand names may have different active ingredients.
  • Products with the same name and active ingredient(s) may have different concentrations.
  • Some active ingredients work on a broad spectrum of pests. Others are more targeted, killing only certain things.
  • There are families of active ingredients that work in the same basic way. Using active ingredients from different chemical families can slow the development of pesticide resistance.

If you're looking for information about a specific chemical, you are in the right place. Not finding what you're looking for? Call 1-800-858-7378 to speak with a Pesticide Specialist.

Additional Resources:

If you have questions about this, or any pesticide-related topic, please call NPIC at 1-800-858-7378 (8:00am - 12:00pm PST), or email us at npic@ace.orst.edu.

Last updated November 9, 2015