After all the political discussion this week in the media about "vulture capitalism" I'm reminded that battles in the pest control industry can become just as heated as any political campaign. According to an article this week in Pest Management Professional, after 21 months of legal battles between BASF and rival manufacturers, it looks as if at least one company has won the right to sell generic fipronil.
Control Solutions is currently selling a granular and SC formulated version of fipronil that will compete with Bayer Top Choice and BASF Termidor. The current label for Taurus G (granular fipronil) lists only fire ants as a target pest, although additional pests may be added in the future. Like Termidor, the Taurus SC label includes instructions for perimeter pests and termite control. For termites it allows for an "Exterior Perimeter - Localized Interior" treatment, a form of treatment pioneered by BASF. According to Control Solutions, both products are now available through most distributors (Univar is not yet selling the Control Solutions' fipronil, pending additional negotiations) in Texas.
I don't usually post about battles between chemical manufacturers over market share; but as I pointed out in an earlier post, this is a big deal for the pest control industry. Patent expiration always leads to price reductions for the industry, and this one will be no exception. And when it comes to a leading termiticide, we're talking lots of money.
For its part, BASF has worked hard to protect its patents and develop new uses and formulations to stay ahead of the competition. Termidor DRY is one example of a unique BASF formulation, as is a new formulation that will require less trenching and less water for perimeter treatments.
I won't weigh in on whether it's a good idea to go with a less expensive, off-brand insecticide; however I will make a generic observation about generics. Everyone should know that despite having the same active ingredient, generic products are never identical to the original. For example, the way an active ingredient is formulated will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Formulations include solvents, adjuvants and stabilizers to make the technical ingredient easier to mix, store and use. If you choose to switch to a generic product in your business, be sure to make sure it's giving you the same performance you expect from the original. As with any new product, it's important to decide what works best for you and your business. After all, wise decisions are all that stand between you and the "vulture capitalists".