aerosol spray

Pesticides formulations: Aerosols

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Pesticides formulations: Aerosols

A pesticide formulation is a combination of active and inert ingredients that forms an end-use pesticide product. Pesticides are formulated to make them safer or easier to use. This is because many pesticide active ingredients, in “pure” (technical grade) form, are not suitable for application. In their concentrated form, some are extremely toxic, many do not mix well with water, some are unstable, and some are difficult (or unsafe) to handle, transport, or store. To address these problems, manufacturers add inert ingredients to end-use pesticide products. Inert ingredients have no pesticidal activity, and some simply serve as diluents or carriers.

Aerosols (A)

Aerosol formulations contain one or more active ingredients and a solvent. Most aerosols contain a low percentage of active ingredient. There are two types of aerosol formulations:

  • The ready-to-use type (often sold in pressurized sealed containers that serve as application devices).
  • Those made for use in electric or gasoline-powered aerosol generators that release the formulated product as a smoke or fog.

Ready-to-Use Aerosols

Ready-to-use aerosol formulations are usually small, self-contained units that release pesticide when the nozzle valve is triggered. An inert pressurized gas pushes the pesticide through a fine opening when the gas is released, creating fine droplets. These products are effective in greenhouses, in small areas inside buildings, or in localized outdoor areas. Commercial models, which hold 5 to 10 pounds of pesticide, are usually refillable.



  • Easy to use; convenient.
  • Portable.
  • Easily stored.
  • Convenient way to buy and apply a small amount of pesticide.
  • Retain potency for some time.


  • Practical for only a few limited or specialized uses.
  • Risk of inhalation exposure.
  • Hazardous if punctured, overheated, or used near an open flame.
  • May be difficult to direct material released to a single target site or pest.

Formulations for Smoke or Fog

Generators Formulations for smoke or fog generators are not packaged and sold under pressure. They are used in machines that break the liquid formulation into a fine mist or fog (aerosol). Using a rapidly whirling disk or heated surface, the machines produce and distribute very fine droplets. These formulations are used mainly for insect control in structures such as greenhouses, barns, and warehouses and for outdoor mosquito and biting fly control.


  • Easy way to fill an entire space with pesticide.


  • Highly specialized use sites and equipment.
  • Difficult to confine to target site or pest.
  • Spills and splashes may be difficult to clean up and/or decontaminate.
  • May require respiratory protection to prevent inhalation exposure.
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