Pesticide Names – Vegetable Crops Hotline

Pesticide Names

I recently had the opportunity to speak with a grower who was trying to describe what pesticides had been used in his operation. This experience made me realize how confusing it can be to pick out the proper pesticide name. This article will help to describe which pesticide name to use, using fungicide as examples. 

There are actually three different pesticide names. Each pesticide has a trade name, a common name and a chemical name. The trade name is the name that is advertised—it is the name you would most likely use at the counter of your favorite retail outlet to ask for a pesticide. In figure 1 below, the trade name is Initiate 720®. The common name is the accepted name of the active ingredient of the pesticide—that is, the portion of the pesticide that will act on the pest(s) of interest. In figure 1 below, the common name is chlorothalonil. Some common names can be found associated with more than one trade name. More about this later. Finally, the chemical name is the name in parentheses after the common name. In figure 1 below, the chemical name is Tetrachloroisophthalonitrile. The chemical name is used only by specialists in pesticide science.


Pesticide label

Figure 1: In this pesticide label, the trade name is Initiate 720, the common name is chlorothalonil and the chemical name is Tetrachloroisophthalonitrile.

Knowing the trade name of a pesticide is important in working with retail outlets, in searching for products in guides such as the Midwest Vegetable Production Guide and in online search engines such as

Common names are important in part because some active ingredients are shared between Trade names. This is because once a product goes ‘off patent’ other manufacturers may be able to label the same active ingredient under a different trade name. For example, one active ingredient, chlorothalonil, may be purchased under several trade names, for example, Bravo, Echo, Equus, Initiate etc. The trade names that have been labeled after the initial product are sometimes referred to as generics. Note that the active ingredient may differ in percent and additional active ingredients may be added. The label must be checked in all cases to make sure that the crop and pest are included.

In most cases, when one looks up pest solutions in the Midwest Vegetable Production Guide, trade names will be given. For example, if you look up tomato as the crop and early blight as the pest, you will find several trade names of fungicides such as Cabrio EC.

The product Bravo® is also a possible fungicide to use on early blight. Since there are many generic products with the same active ingredient as Bravo®, instead of listing the trade name Bravo®, the common name of the active ingredient is listed, chlorothalonil. Therefore, you will be able to find the common chlorothalonil listed among the trade names as possible fungicides to use for early blight of tomato.

The existence of generic pesticides that have many trade names for one active ingredient makes it important that one knows the common names for at least some of the products one uses routinely.





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