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What are microbial insecticides ?

Microbial insecticides are a new type of pesticide that works by infecting insects with viruses, fungi, bacteria or amoeba. Although the safety of using microbial insecticides has been widely debated, some believing it to be a dangerous practice. The application of microbial insecticides is actually safer than other pesticides as each type of microbial insecticide only kills one particular species. As a result, it does not affect animal population, except interrupting the food chain by killing a certain insect in one area.

Bacterial microbial insecticides are used in different types of insects; one type is used in controlling crop-eating caterpillars, while another can be used in killing mosquito populations. Viral microbial insecticides usually work by initially making insects sick, then killing the particular insect species. The levels of results depend largely on the virus used. Amoebic insecticides typically do not kill insects, but forces them to reach sexual maturity or shorten their lifespan. Fungal microbial insecticides are usually used for cockroaches to spread a disease throughout its population.

Since microbial insecticides aim in killing a particular species, it is not effective in dealing with infestations involving several types of insects. Also, the effect of microbial insecticides are affected by outdoor elements like sun exposure, rains or snow. As such, spraying microbial insecticides before a heavy rain may reduce the effects and may not kill all insects in a given species.

Some environmentalists are concerned about the safety of using microbial insecticides. However, many of them prefer to use these kinds of insecticides, so that people can get rid of dangerous insects, while keeping beneficial insects existing in the environment.

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