Are you trying to decide how to protect your garden or crops? Read on to learn how a pesticide vs. insecticide can help you.

Pesticide vs. Insecticide: What’s the Difference?

Chances are you’ve heard the words pesticide and insecticide used interchangeably. But what’s the difference between the two? Well, you may be surprised to learn that while they are somewhat similar, they’re used for different purposes. 

If you are someone who grows crops or manages a garden, it’s essential for you to understand the contrast between the two. Having this knowledge will ensure that your vegetation continues to thrive. 

With that said, keep reading to learn the true difference between pesticide vs. insecticide.

The Difference Between Pesticide and Insecticide

Although pesticide and insecticide sound similar, there’s quite a bit of a difference between the two. Here’s a break down of each substance: 


Insecticides are chemicals that destroy insects. They consist of ovicides and larvicides, which are used to destroy insect eggs and larvae. Agriculture, medicine, manufacturing, and customers both use insecticides.

This chemical is credited with helping to boost farm production in the twentieth century. Almost all insecticides have the ability to have a major impact on ecosystems.

However, the majority of them are harmful to human beings and wildlife. But other insecticides become diluted as they migrate across the food chain.

There are two main insecticide classification groups: systematic insecticides and contact insecticides. Systematic insecticides consist of reoccurring and long-term production. But, contact insecticides have no ongoing activity. Not only that, but there are also three types of insecticides, which include the following:

Natural insecticides: These include substances such as neem extracts, pyrethrum, and nicotine. Natural insecticides are produced by plants as a natural defense against insects.

Organic Insecticides: Organic insecticides are chemical compounds that generally work via contact.

Inorganic Incesticides: This category consists of metals.

The type of activity that each insecticide performs determines how it will destroy or dismantle a pest. Furthermore, the type of activity that the insecticide produce helps users to understand whether or not it’ll be toxic to other life forms. The other life forms include birds, mammals, and fish.

Insecticides are either non-repellent or repellent. Most group insects like ants can’t pick up on non-repellent insecticides, and they aren’t affected by them. However, when they return back to their habitats, they take the insecticides with them and infect the other pests.

As time goes on, the chemical eventually kills off all of the ants, including the queen. Although this technique is slow, it’s effective in destroying the entire ant colony. But keep in mind that insecticides are very different from non-insecticidal repellents. Non-insecticidal repellents only deter insects, it doesn’t kill them.


You can’t really compare pesticides and insecticides. Pesticides are chemicals that are meant to manage pests and control other elements like weeds. The word pesticides consists of other terms which include herbicide, nematicide, bactericide, avicide, molluscicide, rodenticide, and fungicide.

Furthermore, it includes insect repellent and animal repellent. But when it comes to pesticides, the most common are herbicides and they are used within 80% of all pesticides. The purpose of pesticides is to protect plants from hindrances like fungi, insects, and weeds. Basically, pesticide is a chemical or biological agent that shields against pests.

Depending on the type that you get, it may also kill them or incapacitate them. The goal of the chemical is to target pests like birds, plant pathogens, fish, roundworms, and molluscs. It also aims to get rid of microbes that destroy plants or spread disease.

Unfortunately, pesticides have the tendency to be toxic to humans and other species.

Protection When Using Pesticide or Insecticide

When deciding between pesticide vs insecticide, there’s one thing in common regarding both —you have to be careful when handling them! Before using either of them, be sure to put on personal protective equipment. This includes gloves, long sleeve shirts, and protective eyewear.

You might even want to put on a hat or rubber footwear so that the chemical doesn’t damage your regular shoes and clothing. If you have to mix or pour the chemicals, do it outside. Pesticides and insecticides are very strong, and they could cause you to choke. Handle them in a spacious, well-ventilated area.

Also, never ever smoke or eat food while handling these substances. It’s very easy to transfer traces of the chemicals from your hands to your mouth. You do not want to accidentally swallow either one—even if it’s just a little bit.

In addition to that, always store pesticides and insecticides in the right place. Keep it out of the reach of children and pets. It’s best to place them in an area that’s locked or behind a secure door. Be sure to tightly close the chemical bottle after use so that it doesn’t spill out and damage your property.

Also, carefully read all instructions on the containers, so you know exactly how to handle the substances.

With that said, if you’re trying to grow a beautiful garden with the help of pesticides or insecticides, either one should help. But you also need to know how to manage your plants and flowers in other ways, like properly applying seed treatment.

Pesticide vs. Insecticide: Which Is Right for Your Situation?

As you can see from the information above, there’s a big difference between pesticide vs. insecticide. Although they might perform similar tasks, they should definitely be used in different ways.

Basically, insecticides should primarily be used to deter or kill insects. On the other hand, pesticides should be used to ward off pests to keep them from destroying your plants.

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