Photograph of Malathion under the microscope

Malathion has shown very good activity as a non-systemic wide spectrum insecticide effective in the control of sucking and chewing insects on fruits and vegetables. This pesticide is the oldest and most heavily used aliphatic organophosphate, having been introduced in 1950 and quickly adopted for agricultural use on most vegetables, fruits, and forage crops to control an extensive range of insect pests. Malathion was found to be safe for use around pets, and seems to control practically every kind of garden and household insect including both aphids and cockroaches. It is even used on humans to control head, body, and crab lice, and as a flea powder for dogs, cats, and other domestic animals.

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