National Pesticide Information Center



Types of Pesticides

There are many different types of pesticides, each is meant to be effective against specific pests. The term "-cide" comes from the Latin word "to kill."

Algaecides are used for killing and/or slowing the growth of algae.

Antimicrobials control germs and microbes such as bacteria and viruses.

Biopesticides are made of living things, come from living things, or they are found in nature.

Desiccants are used to dry up living plant tissues.

Defoliants cause plants to drop their leaves.

Disinfectants control germs and microbes such as bacteria and viruses.

Fungicides are used to control fungal problems like molds, mildew, and rust.

Herbicides kill or inhibit the growth of unwanted plants, aka weeds.

Illegal and Counterfeit Pesticides are imported or sold illegally.

Insecticides are used to control insects.

Insect Growth Regulators disrupt the growth and reproduction of insects.

Minimum Risk Pesticides are exempt from EPA registration, but many states require them to be registered.

Miticides control mites that feed on plants and animals. Mites are not insects, exactly.

Molluscicides are designed to control slugs, snails and other molluscs.

Mothballs are insecticides used to kill fabric pests by fumigation in sealed containers.

Natural and Biological Pesticides control pests using things found in nature, or man-made versions of things found in nature.

Ovicides are used to control eggs of insects and mites.

Pheromones are biologically active chemicals used to attract insects or disrupt their mating behavior. The ratio of chemicals in the mixture is often species-specific.

Plant Growth Regulators are used to alter the growth of plants. For example, they may induce or delay flowering.

Repellents are designed to repel unwanted pests, often by taste or smell.

Rodenticides are used to kills rodents like mice, rats, and gophers.

Wood Preservatives are used to make wood resistant to insects, fungus and other pests.

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 April 17, 2015