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Beware Illegal Pesticides Available Online - Dragonfli

Be Wary Of Unregistered Pest Control Products

One of the great things about internet shopping is that you can find almost anything you want for sale. Buyers be wary, however, when it comes to pesticides. It is very easy to type in "pest control" for a certain pest and see what is offered to you. Unfortunately some of these products may not be legal for use in the UK.

Any insecticide for sale in the UK must go through a registration process, especially if the product claims control of an insect pest. This process is very expensive and time consuming for the companies producing these products. The system is not perfect and it sometimes prevents safe and effective products from reaching the market due to the costs involved, however the registration process is there for a reason. It aims to prevent untested, ineffective or dangerous products being sold in the U.K.


An example of how pest control products are registered in the U.K. Source: Pesticide Action Network UK.

Bacillus thuringiensis Is Not Legally Permitted For Use In The U.K. By Amateur Gardeners

For insecticides there are also two types of registration, those permitted for sale to professional growers and qualified insecticide applicators, and those permitted for use in the Home & Garden market where any member of the public can use them. Even biological insecticides, which are normally totally safe to the user, and the environment, must complete this registration process if they claim control of insect pests.

A good example of such a biological insecticide is the natural bacteria; Bacillus thuringiensis, which is used for Caterpillar control. In the U.K. there are two professional products registered for use by professionals. There is no current Home & Garden registration, so it should not be available to gardeners. The recent invasion by Box Tree Moth has made gardeners search for a natural solution and Bacillius thuringiensis provides an option for professionals, but is not permitted for use in the U.K. by amateur gardeners. Despite this, professional and non-professional Bacillus thuringiensis products can be found on Amazon, ebay and other online outlets. These are often listed by suppliers outside of the U.K. and then sent directly to the customer.


An example of a product permitted for professional use only that is illegally being made available to the U.K. Home & Garden market.

Further Unregistered Pest Control Products Found Online Can Include 'Bug Control Sprays', 'Snake Oils' & More

The system is also being abused online with sales of insecticide products that claim control of pests without having completed the registration process. The distributors of these products may brand their products with claims that have not been verified or tested. Examples include "Bug Control Sprays" or "Snake Oils" that claim multiple benefits and miracle cures. These sprays would never appear on a garden centre shelf but do appear online. Little is known of their ingredients or side effects. They can cover a wide range of ingredients from Neem Oil to Worm casts! Besides the obvious risks of relying on these products, they can offer false hope and discourage customers from choosing safer, legal and more effective pest control products such as beneficial insects and natural enemies. 


For pest control products you can trust, stick to Dragonfli's range of wonderful natural predators.

Comments (12 Responses)

11 September, 2023

Julian Ives

Hi Pam, thanks for getting in touch.

If you apply our Caterpillar Killer Nematodes early in the morning, or early in the evening (when overcast), they will only need a few hours to penetrate the caterpillars and start killing them by consuming them from inside.

Sunlight and hot weather will not be relevant so long as those nematodes have been sprayed directly onto the Caterpillars in the conditions outlined above. Infected caterpillars will perish in any weather conditions.

I hope this reassures you of the effectiveness of nematode treatments and we would encourage you to continue to apply them against the caterpillars infesting your brassica crop.

If you do need any further assistance however please don’t hesitate to contact us again and we’ll be happy to assist.

Kind regards, Julian Ives [Director, Dragonfli]

08 September, 2023

Pam Thompson

Nematodes are all good and well against the caterpillars decimating the brassica crop I rely on for food, but are not active during hot dry sunny weather, which is when butterflies are active and laying eggs, which turn into caterpillars quickly, which munch faster on sunny warm dry days.
What good are nematodes which aren’t active when caterpillars are active?

03 May, 2023

Julian Ives

Hi Maggie, thanks for getting in touch.

Unfortunately, as we state in the above blog, Bacillius thurungiensis is not legally permitted for sale to the consumer market. The BT that you may see for sale on Amazon, for instance, is unregistered and likely to be reported.

We do have natural solutions to Box Tree Caterpillars that are registered, highly effective, and safe to apply. We have even recently introduced a new product in the form our Box Tree Moth Egg Killer Sachets that release tiny parasitic wasps to kill Box Tree Moth eggs. This means we now have natural solutions in our armoury to combat every stage of the Box Tree Moth life cycle!

Simply apply the Box Tree Moth Egg Killer Sachets to tackle the egg stage, use our Box Tree Caterpillar Killer Nematodes to tackle the caterpillar stage, and our Box Tree Moth Pheromone Traps will tackle the adult stage.

You can find all of these products, and read more about how to control Box Tree Caterpillars, by following the link below:

If you need any more assistance please don’t hesitate to get in touch again.

Kind regards, Julian Ives [Director, Dragonfli]

21 April, 2023

Maggie Bayatti

Do u sell Bt to kill caterpillar in box hedging.

17 April, 2023

Julian Ives

Hi Ali, thanks for getting in touch.

I’m sorry to hear of the issues you’re having with pests infesting your Acer. From our experience, these black coloured bugs you are seeing are most likely Aphids.

The best solution we would advise in treating these pests would be to apply Ladybird larvae. These brilliant natural predators will feed on large numbers of the Aphids and should quell the infestation quickly. We always look to provide natural solutions to pest infestations and would advise against seeking an alternative chemical solution due to the harmful impacts such substances can have on the environment and on the beneficial insects that occur in nature.

You can find our Ladybird larvae here:

I hope this helps but if you have any more questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch again.

Kind regards, Julian Ives [Director, Dragonfli]

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