Merit Insecticide (Imidacloprid)

-- Relatively new, broad-spectrum neonicotinoid insecticide --

Summary: Imidacloprid is the active ingredient in Merit Insecticide (tm), Bayer Advanced (tm), Premise (tm), and some other insecticides. It is a synthetic, broad-spectum, and relatively low-toxicity insecticide. It has, however, been implicated in the decline of the European honey bee.

Jack DeAngelis, PhD
OSU Ext. Entomologist (ret.)

Active ingredient in Merit Insecticide is imidacloprid

Imidacloprid is the active ingredient in several widely used insecticides. Merit Insecticide (tm) is used extensively in commercial plant nurseries as well as in lawn and landscape insect control. Bayer Advanced (tm) is a brand of imidacloprid intended for the homeowner market and Premise (tm) insecticide is used for termites and other structural pests like carpenter ants and powderpost beetles.

Imidacloprid is also the active ingredient in Advantage Flea Control and many agricultural insecticides. The chemical structure of imidacloprid (right) is a synthetic analog of nicotine, the natural alkaloid found in the leaves of tobacco and related plants.

chemical structure of imidacloprid

The chemical structure of imidacloprid, the active ingredient in Merit Insecticide. Drawing from Wikipedia. Imidacloprid is sometimes misspelled imadacloprid.

Using imidacloprid

Imidacloprid is a very effective, broad spectrum, water soluble** insecticide for use against soil insect pests such as white grubs, crane fly, mole crickets and lawn moths like sod webworm. Different products are available for ornamental pests such as aphids, scales insects and thrips and for structural pests such as termites and carpenter ants.

Compared to many older synthetic pesticides imidacloprid is only moderately toxic to mammals, including humans. It is, however, highly toxic to other "non-target" and beneficial insect species so, as always, care should be taken to avoid misapplication.

** Because imidacloprid is soluble in water it is easily taken up through plant roots, leaves and stems and moved throughout plants where it controls plant-feeding insects.

Where to purchase Merit Insecticide

There are several forms or formulations of Merit Insecticide (see this page for definitions of pesticide formulations). Granular forms are used mainly for lawn/turf pests while wettable powder (WP), flowable (F), and foams are used in structural pest control (termites and carpenter ants). These and other imidacloprid-based products are available here (, our affiliate). Use the search box and search for "imidacloprid" for a complete list, including less expensive generic products. Most formulations of imidacloprid are not Restricted Use.

Possible connection to Colony Collapse Disorder

Recently, concerns have been raised over a possible connection between neonicotinoid insecticides like imidacloprid, and a decline in European honey bees called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Scientists are now engaged in studies to find the cause of CCD and determine if a link exists. You should limit the use of all insecticides to situations where they are really needed but be especially cautious when using the imidacloprid insecticides until we know more.

Related Articles

Merit 2F Specimen Label - product label for Merit Insecticide the formulation of imidacloprid that is used in lawn and landscape pest control. This label is for general information only. Product labels can change so be sure to follow the instructions attached to the product you are actually using.

Premise 2 Specimen Label (large file) - product label for Premise 2 insecticide the formulation of imidacloprid that is used in structural pest control for termites, carpenter ants and other wood-destroying insects. This label is for general information only. Product labels can change so be sure to follow the instructions attached to the product you are actually using.

Imidacloprid Factsheet - the National Pesticide Telecommunications Network (NPTN) factsheet for the active ingredient in Merit.

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