in·​sec·​ti·​cide | \ in-ˈsek-tə-ˌsīd How to pronounce insecticide (audio) \
plural insecticides

Definition of insecticide

: an agent that destroys one or more species of insects broadly : an agent that destroys insects as well as other small pests (such as mites or nematodes) Aphids, mealybugs, and cyclamen mites are all common problems and can be controlled with any low-toxicity insecticide sold specifically for houseplants. Horticulture

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Examples of insecticide in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web One evening he was welcomed by a farmer to pitch his tent in an orchard and awoke in the morning to a tractor spraying his campsite with insecticide. Gregory Thomas,, "Solo paddler kayaks entire Sacramento River, 350 miles from Redding to Golden Gate," 14 June 2020 For example, say a specific species of pollinator is lost after a spray of insecticide. Ula Chrobak, Popular Science, "Pesticide testing is flawed—and it’s harming our birds and bees," 24 Jan. 2020 Neonicotinoids, introduced in the late 1980s, were supposed to be a safer alternative to previous insecticides. Stephen Leahy, National Geographic, "Huge decline in songbirds linked to common insecticide," 12 Sep. 2019 The problem of cockroaches quickly developing resistance to insecticides has been a problem since the 1950s. Brian Resnick, Vox, "One big reason you can’t get rid of cockroaches," 3 July 2019 The third factor to increase butterfly numbers in the landscape is to adopt a reasonable insecticide policy. Calvin Finch,, "Calvin Finch: How to attract butterflies to your San Antonio garden all year long," 21 May 2020 New technology developed at NOAA is helping FAO track the locust swarms and plan control efforts such as insecticide spraying. Nathanial Gronewold, Scientific American, "To Track Massive Locust Swarms, Officials Use Tool that Forecasts Smoke Plumes," 15 May 2020 There have been reports of drug resistance, such as Artemisinin resistance, in several regions and insecticide resistance in 73 countries in 2019. Uwagbale Edward-ekpu, Quartz Africa, "A Kenyan-British team of scientists has discovered a microbe to stop malaria transmission," 7 May 2020 One 2018 , for instance, found that concentrations of the neonicotinoid class of insecticides was up to 40 times higher than acceptable limits set by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Aquatic Life Benchmark. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian Magazine, "Massive Mayfly Swarms Are Getting Smaller—And That’s Bad News for Aquatic Ecosystems," 23 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'insecticide.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of insecticide

1865, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for insecticide

International Scientific Vocabulary

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Time Traveler for insecticide

Time Traveler

The first known use of insecticide was in 1865

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Statistics for insecticide

Last Updated

28 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Insecticide.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for insecticide


How to pronounce insecticide (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of insecticide

: a chemical substance that is used to kill insects


in·​sec·​ti·​cide | \ in-ˈsek-tə-ˌsīd How to pronounce insecticide (audio) \

Kids Definition of insecticide

: a chemical used to kill insects


in·​sec·​ti·​cide | \ in-ˈsek-tə-ˌsīd How to pronounce insecticide (audio) \

Medical Definition of insecticide

: an agent that destroys insects

Other Words from insecticide

insecticidal \ (ˌ)in-​ˌsek-​tə-​ˈsīd-​ᵊl How to pronounce insecticidal (audio) \ adjective

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