New Partnership Bears First Fruit: EUP for Pyriproxyfen

by Randy Gaugler, Professor II, Center for Vector Biology, Rutgers University

Insecticides are indispensable tools for mosquito management. Yet the number of available agents has declined because of the increasing cost to maintain their registration. New actives are needed, but new chemistry development for mosquitoes is crippled by the need for manufacturers to recoup the massive costs of developing a new insecticide. Mosquito control is a minor market at best. The default strategy is for existing actives developed for agricultural markets to be redeployed for mosquito control. Pyriproxyfen represents one such opportunity. Pyriproxyfen is an insect growth regulator that acts as a juvenile hormone mimic, resulting in a lethal disruption of insect development. This ‘reduced-risk pesticide' is non-toxic to birds or animals and is neither carcinogenic or genotoxic. The compound is labeled in the U.S. as NyGuard ® (MGK Corp.) for use against a wide range of insects. The effectiveness of pyriproxyfen as a mosquito larvicide is unquestioned. Yet this chemical has seen virtually no use against mosquitoes, in large part due to label restrictions against vehicle-mounted sprayers and area-wide mosquito control.

An extraordinary alliance that includes federal (USDA-ARS in Beltsville & Gainesville), university (Rutgers, IR-4), military ( Navy Entomology Center of Excellence), industry (MGK, Sumitomo), state (New Jersey, Florida), and county (Anastastia, Mercer, Monmouth) elements has resulted in the U.S. EPA issuing an Experimental Use Permit for pyriproxyfen , the first step in adding this compound to an otherwise depleted mosquito control weapons arsenal. The goal is to develop practical application strategies by testing a commercially available product via vehicle-mounted spray equipment in area-wide treatments delivered by local mosquito control personnel. In addition to broadcast applications using pyriproxyfen as a conventional mosquito larvicide, the autodissemination strategy pioneered by Takaaki Itoh and Greg Devine will be tested operationally on an area-wide basis under the EUP. The study is aimed at managing urban container-inhabiting mosquitoes, most notably the highly invasive Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus . Risk assessment, including residue analyses, will be a key component of the study. MGK Corporation, in addition to contributing critically needed data for the EUP submission, is donating product for all treatments. The experiments are supported by grants to the Rutgers Center for Vector Biology from USDA-ARS and the Deployed War-Fighter Protection (DWFP) Research Program of the U.S. Armed Forces Pest Management Board.

The EUP initiative was led by the IR-4's new Public Health Pesticides Program. The program was created to help fill and maintain the toolbox of toxicants, repellents, attractants, and other chemical tools used to manage mosquitoes, ticks, sand flies, and other arthropods that transmit human or animal disease. Major IR-4 partners include the DWFP and the USDA-ARS. For more information about the Program, contact Program Manager Karl Malamud-Roam at or 732.932.9575 x 4628.