Encyclopedia of Entomology

2008 Edition
| Editors: John L. Capinera

Soaps as Insecticides

  • Rebecca Baldwin
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-6359-6_4255
  • 305 Downloads

Soaps were used as insecticides in Europe as long ago as 1787, and there are several thousand references in the literature on the use of soaps as insecticides. Prior to 1900, fish or whale oil soaps were the most commonly used insecticidal soaps. Soaps have changed a lot since then, yet they still prove to be an effective control of certain insect pests. Currently, numerous soap salts are registered as insecticides with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). There are three documented active ingredients of soluble soap salts: sodium, ammonium and potassium. It is principally potassium salts that are used as insecticides, acaricides, herbicides, and algaecides.

Because of their chemical structure, soap salts precipitate out of hard water, resulting in an insoluble residue known as soap scum. To combat this, synthetic soap substitutes, or detergents, are available as cleaning products. Detergents share the cleansing and emulsifying properties of soap, and they are not separately...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Butler GD, Henneberry TJ, Stansly PA, Schuster DJ (1993) Insecticidal effects of selected soaps, oils and detergents on the sweetpotato whitefly (Homoptera: Aleyrodidae). Fla Entomol 76:161–167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Koehler CS, Barclay LW, Kretchun TM (1983) Soaps as insecticides. Calif Agric 37(9/10):11–13Google Scholar
  3. Oetting RD, Latimer JG (1995) Effects of soaps, oils, and plant growth regulators (PGRs) on Neoseiulus cucumeris (Oudemans) and PGRs on Orius insidious (Say). J Agric Entomol 12:101–109Google Scholar
  4. Osborne LS (1984) Soap spray: an alternative to a conventional acaricide for controlling the two-spotted spider mite (Acari: Tetranychidae) in greenhouses. J Econ Entomol 77:734–737Google Scholar
  5. Patrican LA, Allan SA (1995) Laboratory evaluation of desiccants and insecticidal soap applied to various substrates to control the deer tick Ixodes scapularis. J Med Vet Entomol 9:293–299CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Pinnock DE, Brand RJ, Milstead JE, Coe NF (1974) Suppression of populations of Aphis gossypii and A. spiraecola by soap sprays. J Econ Entomol 67:783–784Google Scholar
  7. Puritch GS (1975) The toxic effects of fatty acids and their salts on the balsam woolly aphid, Adelges picese (Ratz). Can J For Res 5:515–522CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Szumlas DE (2002) Behavioral responses and mortality in German cockroaches (Blattodea: Blattellidae) after exposure to dishwashing liquid. J Econ Entomol 95:390–398PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rebecca Baldwin
    • 1
  1. 1.University of FloridaGainesvilleUSA